The Corner

Culture

Woody Allen Gets Canceled Again

Director Woody Allen at the premiere Magic in the Moonlight in New York City in 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Woody Allen is not a great guy but he’s also very obviously not a child molester. It beggars belief that, in a small house full of people, in a dusty crawl space, heading toward a very public and very painful and humiliating breakup with Mia Farrow that would generate weeks of front pages in the New York tabloids, he would choose to begin a career in child molestation, never having been accused of such a thing before and never to be accused again. He plainly didn’t do it.

Yet Ronan Farrow and a “mob” — this word has become so devalued that it can now mean a handful of people saying things in social media — have succeeded in intimidating Grand Central Publishing, a unit of Hachette Book Group USA, into canceling Allen’s memoir, which was due to publish on April 7. Is Grand Central or Hachette establishing a new standard for its authors? Or is this simply a matter of cowardice in the face of a little controversy?

Ronan Farrow claims that there is evidence that Allen sexually assaulted his sister Dylan, who was seven at the time of the alleged attack in 1992. Where is this evidence? It certainly didn’t persuade Connecticut police, who thoroughly investigated the matter in 1992. It certainly doesn’t persuade Dylan and Ronan’s brother Moses, now a child therapist, who was present in the house on the day of the alleged attack and paints a harrowing picture of having been the victim of “brainwashing” (his word) by Mia Farrow. Farrow was enraged by Allen telling her that he was having an affair with her adult daughter Soon-Yi Previn (now his wife of many years) and wanted to destroy Allen for hurting her and also for essentially ending her career as a major film actress since no other directors of note were interested in her. Moses Farrow’s account ought to infuriate you.

I do remember that Woody would leave the room on occasion, but never with Dylan. He would wander into another room to make a phone call, read the paper, use the bathroom, or step outside to get some air and walk around the large pond on the property.

Along with five kids, there were three adults in the house, all of whom had been told for months what a monster Woody was. None of us would have allowed Dylan to step away with Woody, even if he tried. Casey’s nanny, Alison, would later claim that she walked into the TV room and saw Woody kneeling on the floor with his head in Dylan’s lap on the couch. Really? With all of us in there? And if she had witnessed that, why wouldn’t she have said something immediately to our nanny Kristi? (I also remember some discussion of this act perhaps taking place on the staircase that led to Mia’s room. Again, this would have been in full view of anyone who entered the living room, assuming Woody managed to walk off with Dylan in the first place.) The narrative had to be changed since the only place for anyone to commit an act of depravity in private would have been in a small crawl space off my mother’s upstairs bedroom. By default, the attic became the scene of the alleged assault.

Cancel culture isn’t real? Allen is almost certainly an innocent man who has not only not been convicted of anything, he hasn’t even been charged with anything despite a contemporaneous and thorough police investigation. And yet Amazon canceled an $80 million contract with him because Dylan Farrow (who can hardly be blamed in this incident if a false memory has been planted in her by her mother) keeps repeating her allegation. Amazon also buried a $25 million film it hired Allen to make, called A Rainy Day in New York. The film was released in Europe last year and is now on DVD. It can be obtained from overseas sellers, such as Amazon.fr. (European DVDs require an all-region DVD player to work here.) 

I can hardly believe that of about 30 films Allen has made since first being accused of child molestation, this one is being suppressed, so I just bought a copy of A Rainy Day in New York. I haven’t liked many of Allen’s recent movies, but he is a great artist, I’ve seen every one of his previous films, and there is no reason this one should be suppressed in the United States.

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