I told myself I was never personally going to post on this subject again after the disasterbacle over the weekend, but as someone well intentioned who nevertheless made some terrible choices of words, suggested something I in no way meant to suggest, wrote about something that I did not properly research, and got called out harshly by a lot of people I really respect, admire and appreciate, I can sympathize with Stephen King in this matter.
However, let me just make this very clear before anything I say is confused: This post is NOT about the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen case — of which I express no opinion at this time, other than that Dylan Farrow ought to be given the benefit of the doubt — but about Stephen King’s poor choice of words when discussing the matter.
See, after Dylan Farrow’s open letter in the NYTimes discussing the sexual abuse Woody Allen subjected her to, Stephen King took to Twitter and said something that … well, it didn’t come out right. On Twitter, Author Mary Karr asked: “Dylan Farrow’s open letter alleging sexual assault at age 7 by Woody Allen: Right or wrong to post it?”
OK, well, most people who see that Tweet will immediately think that Stephen King is suggesting that Dylan Farrow was being bitchy. Or that Mia Farrow was being bitchy. And, indeed, that’s what many on Twitter thought, and they laid nto him. Stephen King is 66 years old, and though he’s had some experience on Twitter, he’s probably not used to being shredded apart with such immediacy. If my experience is anything like his, the thoughts passing through his brain as the responses rolled in were: “No, no, no! That’s not what I meant. Oh, sh*t sh*t sh*t. Oh f*ck. What do I do? How do I make this better? How do I take this back? Surely they don’t think that I actually think that. I would never … Oh God! This is horrible! I adore these people, and now they hate me? WHAT HAVE I DONE? I’ve let so many people down. How do I fix this? *crawls into corner, weeps*”
King’s initial approach was to take to Twitter and attempt to put out the fire.
But Stephen King knows that that’s not going to be enough. Not in this day and age, in an environment this bloodthirsty on a topic this toxic. So, we took to Facebook and tried to better clarify himself in a medium that allows him more than 140 characters at a time.
Those of you who follow Twitter will know that recently I managed to put my foot in my mouth and halfway down my throat. A good many people came away from my tweet about the Woody Allen controversy with the idea that I had called Dylan Farrow or Mia Farrow (or both) a bitch. That wasn’t my intention, but the conclusion on the part of some readers is understandable. I used the wrong word to describe not Ms. Farrow—either Ms. Farrow—but a sad and painful mess. Some people seem to believe that writers never use the wrong word, but any editor can tell you that’s not true.
Those of you who have read my work—Carrie, Dolores Claiborne, Rose Madder, and Lisey’s Story, to name four—will know that I have plenty of respect for women, and care about the problems and life-situations they face. My single-mom mother faced plenty, believe me. And I have no sympathy whatever for those who abuse children. I wrote about such abuse—and its ultimate cost to the victim—in Gerald’s Game.
The maximum number of letters in a Tweet is 140. I think the following would fit: I apologize for screwing up.
Just know my heart is where it’s always been: in the right place.