Well, ok, so what really happened? How could we know? We weren’t there. But Dylan knows. And she’s told us.
I believe her.
Way back when, it was easy for me to think Mia Farrow might be a bit of a hysterical mother when she charged Allen with pedophilia. “Isn’t she just a little…weird? After all, she has a little bit of an odd affect, doesn’t she? Or was that just the characters she played? The line can blur. Plus adopting all those children! You’d have to have a bit of a screw loose, wouldn’t you?”
And who could blame Mia for getting completely unhinged when she finds raunchy nude photos Woody took of her daughter, Soon-Yi? Then her partner pretty much runs off with her? That would unhinge anyone.
So, revenge would be understandably sweet.
That’s how some of us thought.
Now, Soon Yi and her brother, Moses, offer some pretty awful stories accusing Mia of abuse. Hair-raising stuff. What, if anything, should we make of the sad deaths of a couple of her children? Two from suicide and one from an AIDS-related ailment. It is a big family, so is it a statistical expectation?
And then there’s Woody Allen–a huge talent! An esteemed writer, director and actor. A bankable star with many powerful friends. Certainly HE wouldn’t abuse a child! He has the whole world in his hands–why would he do something like that? “Pedophilia? No way!”
What about Moses saying that Mia forced him and the other kids to make public statements that supported her position? Recently, he’s issued statements that he no longer believes Woody molested Dylan. That point the finger at his mother. Why would he do that?
But what about his very respected brother, Ronan Farrow, attorney and journalist, who says that Woody offered to pay for his college education and provide for him financially if he would denigrate Mia and support Woody’s position? That’s a pretty strong incentive. Ronan refused and, along with all the rest of the kids insist that what Soon-Yi and Moses say is not true.
Or is it?
This is a story about a completely dysfunctional family. But it is also one about power and control. Yet another story about how powerful men escape close examination of and sometimes the consequences of some very bad behavior. A story that is right in line with the #MeToo movement.
I believe Dylan. Bottom line.
It’s not a court of law. But, after watching the recent documentary, I do believe Woody was inappropriate with her at minimum and did molest her. And so, by the way, did the judge in the custody hearing all those years ago. Which says a lot. The prosecutor who declined to press charges did so because he feared for her mental health if she were put on the stand. So I don’t make too much of his not being prosecuted.
I look at how young Dylan’s face changes in the first episode of the documentary: from an adorable, joyful little girl to a girl with dark circles under her eyes and a constant look of worry, sadness and even fear. Yes, that could be pressure from her mother. But that it’s because she was molested is bolstered by other witnesses. Just listen to the testimony of family friends and neighbors who saw first-hand what certainly appears to be pedophilia.
And now that Dylan is grown up, she is very clear about him. And very articulate about what happened and the pain of it all. How it affected her. My heart goes out to her.
And yet…some still have questions. Well, ok. It’s not like there was official testimony in court. And memory is complicated. Memory of abuse is also complicated. This family is complicated.
Still, all the evidence points in the direction of Allen’s culpability. Because Allen’s behavior as described by Dylan and other witnesses (like nannies and family friends) was very wrong. So wrong.
Taking explicit photos of a teenager who was an unofficial daughter? Yeah, that’s wrong. And a big red flag.
And this story:
Woody Allen’s therapist looked at the explicitly revealing nude photos of teenage Soon-Yi that Allen took and Mia showed him a little too long and hard, according to Mia.
When she asked why the great interest, the therapist said “A therapist’s job is not to judge.”
A couple years ago I was out with a group when a Michael Jackson song came on. “It’s hard to listen to that now because we know he was a pedophile,” I said.
“Oh, that was never proven,” an acquaintance responded, sharply. Defensively.
No, we don’t want to believe this stuff, not of our idols. We don’t want to believe the bad stuff.
Despite evidence, these issues are complicated by money and power. Kids Jackson allegedly abused knew a whole lot of stuff they shouldn’t have, if he were innocent. But they and their parents also saw it as an opportunity for a huge payday. People recant for money. They step forward for that, too. But there’s usually more money in recanting. As in being paid off by the perpetrator. And so, it’s still an amorphous enough charge that the dead star isn’t totally disgraced.
With Woody’s therapist, who knows why he said something so ridiculous about a therapist’s role not to judge. Because if someone showed me raunchy photos a man had taken of a naked teenager, I would definitely judge. Even if I said nothing, I would judge. Maybe he did not want to lose a famous patient. A cash cow.
There is no amount of money that will buy off Allen’s victim, Dylan. Or Mia.
Because there is another HUGE red flag: a significant proportion of Allen’s many films had plots that involved older men dating very young women. Exploiting them, I might say. Sometimes, teens. Take another look at Manhattan through our current lens. At how normal he makes this “relationship” seem? And how we, the audience, accepted that?
But it’s not the only one. Many of his films offer a similar theme. Taken as a body of work, the topic appears obsessive.
I do not believe Woody.
I am not the official judge and jury. You can say it’s complicated. But I’m not so sure it’s all that complicated.
If a victim speaks out, I assess what she says. I have listened and read Dylan’s position and I believe her.
If a man’s body of work on film is hugely focused on older men dating very much younger women, teens, then I’d say it shows an unhealthy interest in underage girls.
If a man takes explicit photos of a vulnerable young woman, his partner’s daughter, that is a warning sign. I don’t care if Allen and Soon-Yi have now been together 20 years–which they have–it’s irrelevant. She was very young and in a quasi-familial position when he took Hustler-style Polaroids of her.
If a woman says she was abused as a child and I have heard enough supporting testimony from those who would know, I believe her. If a nanny says she saw Woody Allen kneeling in front of his daughter with his head in her naked lap, then I am going to believe he is a pedophile.
To those who say “where is Woody’s side of the story” know that Woody declined to be interviewed for the documentary. But also know that at the time, he hired a big-time PR firm to counteract the charges in the media in a massive campaign. The firm did a really good job of planting the identical message in multiple media: Mia is a vengeful mother. They did a good job of instilling doubt among many.
But what people saw? The facts? Are bad enough–and enough people believe Dylan– that Allen’s last movie was not released here. Amazon reneged on a four film, $68 million dollar deal with Allen because of these allegations.
We are past time for our society to take these incidents seriously and how ZERO TOLERANCE for this kind of behavior. Way past time. We must dig deep to find the truth. We must show evidence. And we must not be swayed by power and money.
It’s time that men who exert power and control, rich men who can buy off people, be overtaken by a groundswell of public opinion against them when their behavior is so questionable. And it’s time we boycott those movies and other endeavors that were made on the backs of victims of abuse of all kinds.
Only then can the victims–and our society–begin the healing process.
I offer hypnotherapy and regression services. If you’d like to know more, please contact me here.