Woody Allen, 85, made a name for himself by writing and directing lackluster films usually centering about the undying struggles faced by white people in New York City.
Allen has written and directed more than 50 movies in his career. He worked with Mel Brooks and Neil Simon, wrote for the Ed Sullivan Show, and earned himself a few Oscars, some Golden Globes and even a Cecil B. Demille award.
This would be an impressive resume, if he wasn’t an accused pedophile.
Allen’s legacy as a writer and director is substantial but it shouldn’t overshadow the seriousness of his alleged crimes. The new HBO documentary, Allen vs. Farrow, takes a deep dive into his years of abuse.
The documentary chronicles Allen’s crimes beginning with one of Allen’s most notable movies, Manhattan (1979) which centered around Allen’s middle-aged character beginning a romantic relationship with a high school student. Spoiler alert: it’s a hard watch. Now as disturbing as this narrative is, it could be excused as poor taste in a time when large age gaps in relationships where often overlooked. However, Manhattan is far more autobiographical than Allen led viewers to believe and is almost certainly based on an eight-year relationship Allen had with a model named Babi Christina, who was 16 at the beginning of the affair.
This was only the first in a series of disturbing relationships Allen shared with underage women.
Allen began a relationship with actress Mia Farrow in 1979. The pair had a long relationship and Allen was welcomed into Farrows large family. Allen adopted two of Farrow’s children, both under the age of 10 and the pair had a baby boy.
Around the time of the adoptions, Allen began a relationship with one of Farrow’s oldest daughters, Soon-Yi, who Farrow had adopted at the age of seven.
The relationship wasn’t discovered until Farrow found nude photographs of Soon-Yi in Allen’s apartment in 1992, when Soon-Yi was 21, but their relationship is believed to have begun when she was still in high school. Allen undoubtably groomed Soon-Yi, making it difficult to lay the blame on anyone but Allen.
In the fall out of this affair, seven-year-old Dylan Farrow told her mother that Allen had touched her inappropriately on multiple occasions, a claim that was backed up by eyewitnesses.
Long story short, Allen and Soon-Yi began a life together, disputing all claims of abuse from Farrow and Dylan. Allen claimed Farrow was coaching Dylan to lie out of jealously over his relationship with Soon-Yi and even tried to gain custody of his adopted children, which he was denied. Allen effectively destroyed Farrow’s career by taking a page from the trusty misogynist playbook and painting her as an unstable lunatic.
Not wanting to further traumatize Dylan, Farrow and her lawyers chose not to take the case to trial.
Woody Allen has never been formally charged with abuse but the evidence is clear and abundant.
As an adult, Dylan Farrow has repeatedly spoken on the trauma she faced and continues to face at Allan’s hands.
Everyone wants to say they believe victims until the finger is pointed at someone they like.
Thankfully, the majority of audiences have agreed that Allan is horrible but big names like Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Javier Bardem and many, many more still defend the director.
Pause here to mourn the shared viewing of Jeff Goldblum as a jazzy, animated, eccentric little dinosaur doctor. It’s okay, everyone is hurting.
It’s well known Hollywood is problematic in more ways than can fit into this piece (Harvey Weinstein… need I say more?) but in this day and age, how is the most famous industry in the world so willing to overlook this behavior?
Most say It’s because of his body of work, separating the art from the artist, but art is the artist. Every piece of art ever created, whatever medium, carries a piece of the person that made it.
In Woody Allen’s case especially, his movies are written, directed and starring him. He’s so narcissistic he created an entire career advertising his creepy, annoying, boring personality. You cannot separate Woody Allen from his movies, he made sure of it.
It’s time to stop making excuses and hold evil people accountable for their actions, no matter how many movies they’ve made.