Ethics Hero: Dylan Farrow (and Observations On Her Open Letter To Woody Allen’s Fans)

dylan-farrow

Dylan Farrow was 7 years old when, she alleges, her adoptive father Woody Allen began sexually molesting her. Although this became the focus of the legal and public relations battle between her mother, actress Mia Farrow and Allen as their once romantic and domestic relationship—-already destroyed by Allen’s courtship, seduction and marriage of Dylan’s older, also-adopted sister Soon Yi—exploded onto the scandal sheets more than 20 years ago, the now-married Dylan has never spoken out about it herself, though her mother and other siblings have. Allen avoided any criminal charges despite an investigation that found probable cause, and his popularity among film-goers and his stature in Hollywood seemed to be undamaged. Last month, however, a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes (accepted by a fawning Diane Keaton) re-opened the unhealed wounds for the Farrows, and Allen’s Oscar nomination last week for his original screenplay for “Blue Jasmine” was apparently too much.

Now Dylan Farrow has decided to tell her own story, and has done so in open letter form, published on the blog of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

I ask that you read it now, here, before you read anything else. Her courage in writing this powerful statement earns the right to have it received on its own terms.

Observations:

1. Dylan Farrow is an Ethics Hero, and she explains why near the conclusion of her letter:

“For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either. Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home. But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.”

Farrow has been a very private person, and thrusting herself into public controversy now while re-living the worst trauma of her life must be the last thing she wanted to do. She must know that she will be attacked and vilified in some forums; some of the comments on Kristoff’s blog do this already. Hollywood, the main addressee of her letter, can be expected to rally around Allen, just as it has continued to support fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski. Her letter should encourage the victims of child molestation and incest to speak out, and may stop some future crimes from occurring. How great a price she will pay for her act of courage and public duty is unknowable, but I doubt that it will be cheap.

2. There are elements of fury, pain, betrayal and revenge in Farrow’s letter. None of that undermines the verdict that writing it was a noble and ethical act. Almost all ethical deeds result from many factors, including non-ethical considerations, emotions and even unethical goals that are inextricable from the ethical ones. Ethical purity is rare, and it is not a pre-requisite for recognizing that the right thing has been done.

3. Kristof, in his introduction to the letter, writes, “It’s important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence.”

Once again, the legal requirement of proprietorial burden of proof is being misused by an educated commentator who should know better. Woody Allen deserves the presumption of innocence by the jury and judge in any criminal trial regarding the crimes described by his daughter; everyone else can ethically come to conclusions based on their own knowledge, logic and experience. It is faintly possible that to further Mia Farrow’s vendetta over the fact that the man she regarded as her husband had an adulterous sexual affair with Soon Yi, her youngest daughter, programmed with false memories, is falsely accusing Allen. It is also possible that O.J. is still looking for the murderer of Nicole and Ron, and that Osama bin Laden was an innocent scapegoat for 9-11. Anyone who can put their biases for or against Allen aside and objectively assess this drama is entitled to come to a conclusion, and should not be criticized for doing so. The fact that Allen has, like all accused criminals, the presumption of legal innocence does not in any way compel, in fairness or reason, the conclusion that he is innocent. Personally, I think the chances that Allen is innocent and that Farrow’s detailed account is a fabrication approaches the vanishing point.

4. Once again, and so quickly after the issue was discussed here in the case of Pete Seeger, we are faced with how personal misconduct and character flaws should affect public honors for an artist’s art.

Allen’s situation is different from that of Seeger in several ways. Seeger, it could be argued, can be more justifiably penalized as an artist because his great flaw, the support of Soviet Communism while it was killing and enslaving millions, was part of his art and sometimes its purpose. Yet Seeger broke no laws, and applauding horrible acts is very different misconduct from doing them. Allen is also a poor comparison with the tarnished baseball stars, who have been rejected (correctly) from the Hall of Fame for their use of steroids. Sportsmanship and good character are properly demanded of sports heroes, and when their professional output is credibly the product, at least in part, of misconduct like  steroid cheating, it is fair to reject both the career and the athlete. Yet no one can seriously argue that Woody Allen’s movies were in any way enhanced by his pedophilia. Like Polanski, Charlie Chaplin (another pedophile), Simpson, Sinatra, Mel Gibson, Gig Young and others, the conduct that makes Allen personally repugnant has no relationship to his art at all. Why should it disqualify Allen from receiving a lifetime achievement award, when those achievements would be no different whether Allen was a serial killer or a saint?

The answer to the question must depend on whether such an award is a critical assessment of the art, in which case Allen’s character and conduct are irrelevant and he would only receive the honor because movies can’t hold statuettes, or an honor bestowed on the artist personally. A culture is defined by what it tolerates and will not tolerate. Honoring a child molester and incestuous rapist says “This culture tolerates such conduct, and we won’t think less of anyone who indulges in it if they are talented, successful and lucrative.” In fact, I think this is a fairly accurate description of how Hollywood (and the music industry too, which has also lionized a lot of pedophile stars) thinks and feels. The community that honors child molesters in that community has made a statement that it doesn’t think child molesting is all that bad, and it issues such honors at its peril.

5. I would love to know actor Richard Dreyfus’s position on Allen. Dreyfus was outspoken and passionate in maintaining that Elia Kazan, one of the greatest directors in film (and Broadway) history, should not receive a Lifetime Achievement Oscar because he had “named names” in the Hollywood Red Scare hearings.  Many of Dryfus’s Hollywood colleagues were similarly offended by Kazan’s honor, though Kazan committed no crime, and his capitulation under threats and questioning had no effect on the quality of his art. If Dreyfus and the others see nothing amiss in honoring Allen, then their position must be that 1) serious and repugnant character flaws and misconduct should not disqualify artists for honors regardless of their art, and 2) political disloyalty is taboo in Hollywood, but raping little girls who think of you as their father isn’t.

6. I strongly suspect that this is, in fact, the majority position and value system in Hollywood, and, though I am less certain, other artistic communities.

7. As for Woody’s films, they stand on their own. His conduct doesn’t make “Bananas” less funny or “Annie Hall” less brilliant, at least not from a rational perspective, any more than the fact that playwright Arthur Miller rejected, abandoned and neglected his cognitively disabled son makes “Death of a Salesman” a lesser drama. At some point, however, cognitive dissonance can become so strong that the artist’s repugnance overwhelms his art. The degree to which this occurs, if it occurs, depends on the nature of the art and the conduct of the artist. Polanski’s dark films are the plausible creation of a rapist; one can appreciate a disturbing film despite knowing that its director has done disturbing things.  I confess, however, that “Alice in Wonderland,” despite its brilliance, has not been pleasant for me to read ever since I learned about Lewis Carroll’s strange attraction to naked little girls. Actor Gig Young’s genre was light comedy, and after he murdered his young wife and killed himself, nobody found his films very funny any more. O.J. Simpson’s roles in the “Naked Gun” films has had a similar effect, though not as pronounced. It remains to be seen whether Dylan Farrow’s letter has such an effect on audience appreciation of  Woody Allen’s film work. If it does, he deserves it.

8. My personal position is unchanged by Farrow’s letter. I found myself unable to enjoy any of Allen’s films after he cheated on his de facto wife with his de facto daughter. I also don’t believe in enriching, even indirectly, horrible people in their professional endeavors if I can conveniently avoid it. I knew that Woody Allen was a sick and reprehensible individual long ago, and Farrow’s letter only confirms it.

___________________________

Facts and Graphic: New York Times

55 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Heroes, Family, Gender and Sex

55 responses to “Ethics Hero: Dylan Farrow (and Observations On Her Open Letter To Woody Allen’s Fans)

  1. Her appeal to emotion with her first two lines lost me.

    • “What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house.”

      ????

      I don’t see the objection, or the appeal to emotion either. The first line sets up the essential ethical dilemma for film buffs and Woody’s colleagues. The second is straightforward testimony.

      • Those two sentences are designed to make you feel like a bad person for ever having had a favorite, and woe unto you should you still have a favorite after she tells you what happened.

        The first sentence exists only to make you feel bad, and thus make you want to be even more angry on her behalf because being extra outraged might help cover your shame.

        She actually managed to make me not care as a result – I dont like anything Woody Allen has ever done. I don’t find him funny or all that interesting of a writer, and his movies are almost terminally dull to me. And yet her bullshit attempt at “feel bad for having had a wrong opinion” actually makes me want to figure out which one of the shitpiles I like the most.

        • You’re a strange one.

          The first line is legitimate and inoffensive prospective irony. If I started the Pete Seeger piece with a sentence saying, “What’s your favorite Pete Seeger song? Would it still be your favorite if you were convinced that it was a salute to Commununism, or the product of an artist who supported Josef Stalin?” Why would her intro make anyone feel guilty for having a favorite Woody Allen movie? I have favorite Gig Young movies and I think Chaplin was a genius. So what? I’m not excusing them, and neither is someone excusing Woody who still likes “Love and Death.”

          • Would it still be your favorite if you were convinced that it was a salute to Commununism, or the product of an artist who supported Josef Stalin?

            No, it would be like if you said “would it still be your favorite if I detailed how he molested me for years and years starting at the age of 7?”

            “Being a communist” or “thinking Stalin was cool” is entirely different from “he stuck it in me when I was seven years old”.

            I’m not excusing them, and neither is someone excusing Woody who still likes “Love and Death.”

            But she is suggesting exactly that. If she is not, then the first sentence is absolutely pointless. I would not have a problem if she didn’t pull that stupid rhetorical gimmick.

        • Ulrike

          I don’t think she wants you to feel bad for liking Woody Allen movies. She wants you to feel bad for defending a sex offender because you like his movies. Her letter is supposed to reach out to an audience that turns a blind eye because they like his movies.

    • Fred

      She’s right to ask for our sympathy and for our outrage against child abuse. Those are emotional responses. Appeal to emotion is fine as long as it doesn’t derail a matter of fact or logic. Appeal to emotion is the heart of every charity solicitation.

      • That she is trying to win you over by making you feel bad for having liked a Woody Allen movie is just plain manipulative, and I’m not a fan of it…

        And again, I’m a guy who has never liked a Woody Allen movie.

        • Then how do you know what she wrote would make you feel bad, if it does? I still like several Woody Allen movies—the ones I liked before I knew what an awful and unfunny human being he was.

        • Bruce

          “That she is trying to win you over by making you feel bad … is plain manipulative.”

          You believe it is appropriate to make other people feel bad, why are you exempt? Why is ‘manipulation’ worse than deliberate offensiveness?

          (Some time Scott, you will have to get to the issues. Whether you are using stealthy ‘art’ here or not I can’t be absolutely sure now, but you are arguing for brutality and insensitivity. You have owned to deliberatae multiple ‘art’ attacks. Every time I see aggression to sensitivity from now on I’ll call it. I won’t let you and the other casual abusers get away with the hit and run tactics forever. Sometime you must face me on the logic of your argument. This will be the 4th time of asking. Jack says he needs to see the battle of ideas – so fight me. There is no innate logic preferring offensiveness over sensitivity in the matter of free speech. Discuss. Or propose a better question)

          • I never claimed it was. I would thank you to not put words in my fucking mouth, jackass.

            • Bruce

              So. Nevertheless I see you do claim so by your reactions. I shouldn’t need to explain how you just proved my point. Next please.

              • Bruce

                In case we have spectators, this is what we’re debating

                My speech on here is vulgar and profane. It is often needlessly so, and it so for a reason.

                By giving the power to censor to anyone who claims offense, we ruin the entire system this country was founded on. Free expression is the key stone that keeps the arch of democracy in place – without it all debate ceases as those in power forbid speech that supports the opposition.

                My speech here is indeed a form of performance art (that Jack has, in his great about boundless wisdom accepted as right and proper) – It is intended to shock and offend, because you have no right to not be shocked or offended. Your social moors don’t mean anything to anyone outside your own head, so your effort to impose them on others is an act – however small – or tyranny. It is thugish and oppressive and should cause feelings of shame in anyone who attempts it, even though it does nothing but make the censorious cretin feel good about themselves.

                Because they never see what they are doing as wrong, only righteous. It is the well-meaning tyrant we should all fear most, because they feel good about themselves as they crush your liberty.

                Go. Stand up for someone who is saying something you hate. Confront them with more speech, speech that counters their words.

                Go be a real fucking American for once in your fucking lives and put it on the line for something you don’t agree with.

                But if you try to use policy or force to silence them because they offend you or make you feel bad? Then I will come for you in the night with long knives, having long since spit upon my hands and raised my black flag.

                And this is a sample of what that philosophy leads to :

                You wanna see a post about Burma? Go write one, fuckstain.

                Do all your insults end with “stain”?

                No, not all of them, you worthless cunt

                There you go. At least you’re trying something new.

                Can you explain the ethics of using misogynistic slurs as a way of ridiculing a male?

                Sure…
                Because fuck you, that’s why.

                That’s pretty much the response I was expecting.

                Considering how fucking stupid you lot are, it’s about what I figured you could grasp…

                That was to an agressive bunch of gang trolls but i think it’s a fair sample of what happens when someone disagrees with Scott in a way he believes limits his absolute freedom to offend

                My response much later was:
                I have real problems with this as I have said on another thread (rather coincidentally just after doing what you advocate – standing up for your approach – which I disagree with).

                While there are non-violent verbal options open it is never correct to instigate verbal violence. Even in defence of the 1st ammendment.

                Violent sensitiviity on free speech effectively commits the same error as violent calls to limit freedom of speech. That is, the violence shuts down those who disagree with you. The ones who disagree being those who are not so concerned about 1st ammendment rights and are more concerned for example about racism. The ones who judge the 1st ammendment to be secure enough to take a small risk with but freedom from prejudice still an aspiration and worth taking the risk for.

                Result being the only right way if you use verbal violence on others, is it must also hurt you proportionately. Otherwise it is a one way deal, bullying suppression. It is you as free speech enforcer that gets to feel good by smiting the wicked PC advocate. I’ve used the term a bullies charter, which I mean to be a permission to hurt people on the false rationalisation, i can’t think which but there must be one, that it is the victims job to toughen up and not be sensitive cissies.

                And this contrast is what I have been trying to bring Scott to debate.

            • Bruce

              Ok to make it easy for you. You said you don’t approve of manipulation but you practice gratuitous offensiveness in your response thereby showing your ethical regard for one over the other.

              Now if you have quite finished answering the clear rhetorical question – the next item is the substantive question: There is no innate logic preferring offensiveness over sensitivity in the matter of free speech. Discuss. Or propose a better question

              Please try to answer the question straightforwardly this time. Rhetorical tricks won’t get you very far. Especially with brutish adornments. My patience has been long worn out waiting for you to accept the challenge so I don’t expect to hear any more foul language or evasions

              • My patience has been long worn out waiting for you to accept the challenge so I don’t expect to hear any more foul language or evasioins.

                Oh my, then I better so what you tell me…

                Is what I would say, of you weren’t a worthless pile of shit.

                Tell you what, fuckwit… When I’m on your blog, I’ll do what you tell me. Until such time, cock off.

                • Bruce

                  Neither of us own space here. Tell you what, can you think of anyone who owes you any time at all who will actually address the issue with me. I would hate for the issue to be in this sterile state of development for any length of time.

  2. Robert

    While I frankly have to agree with almost everything you say, when talking about innocence in a court of law versus personal conclusions, I worry that although this case seems clear cut and without problem, declaring this behaviour as ethically courageous (it’s certainly courageous … but) will encourage the (malicious) other side of the coin: trying people in the court of public opinion. Which of course can be unethical, since often only one side of the story is told.

    • Robert

      Perhpas I should refine my thoughts.
      Yes, we need to encourage this behaviour. The “maybe” then comes to this. Should ordinary people seek to behave like this? Not initially – they should talk privately and to law enforcement first. This is only ethically right because of Hollywood’s willful ignorance, and the fact the he has gotten away with it for so long.

      In addition, the caveat about Allen’s innocence perhaps could be phrased better, but is good as a reminder that we should not try people in the court of public opinion (in general, and specifically because of the media’s general wilful disregard of the sides of the story that does not fit their theme of the day).
      Personally I believe the caveat about Allen’s innocence is actually reverse psychology, so I am rather cynical about it.

      • Fred

        In this particular case, she did go to law enforcement first.

      • Why shouldn’t we judge people (who are not actually undergoing trial) in the court of public opinion, as long as the facts are clearly and fairly stated? I object to the public using false evidence, rumors and supposition to convict George Zimmerman of murder based on race bias suppositions—yes, unfair and illogical judgment is always wrong, in trial, out of trial, in my home. Coming to a logical conclusion based on known facts—1) Woody Allen had adulterous sex with one adoptive daughter and married her 2) his domestic partner claims that his 7-year old daughter complained of molestation 3) the daughter was examined and found credible 4) she recounts incidents in detail 5) he has spent his entire life detailing his various sexual issues—that Allen is probably guilty is neither unreasonable nor unfair. Otherwise, you must tell me that you would happily entrust your 12 year old daughter to his babysitting care, since not to do so would mean you no longer presume his innocence.

        • Michael Ejercito

          Why shouldn’t we judge people (who are not actually undergoing trial) in the court of public opinion, as long as the facts are clearly and fairly stated? I object to the public using false evidence, rumors and supposition to convict George Zimmerman of murder based on race bias suppositions—yes, unfair and illogical judgment is always wrong, in trial, out of trial, in my home.

          Because the court of public opinion has no credibility. I explain it in this comment

          Of course, this begs the question of why it took so long for “A Prosecutor [to Be]Sent To Jail For Unethical Conduct”.
          And I think I have the answer.

          Compare the public outrage against Ken Anderson to the public outrage against George Zimmermann. Compare the number of people who tweeted Ken Anderson’s address with those who tweeted George Zimmermann’s address. Compare the number of news organizations who altered video and audio to make Ken Anderson look guilty to the number of news organizations who altered video and audio to make George Zimmermann look guilty.

          The horrible truth is that society and the mainstream media are more interested in railroading people for real or imagined crimes than punishing prosecutors who railroad people who railroad people for real and imagined crimes. Hell, there were more people who wanted Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to be prosecuted for murder than those who wanted Ken Anderson to be prosecuted for misconduct.

          Is it any surprise we have prosecutors who have the same mindset as those who wanted to get Zimmermann and Nakoula, due process be damned?

  3. dragin_dragon

    Personally, I couldn’t care less if Woody Allen is convicted in the court of public opinion. His movies, like his own personal values, suck, and are about as funny as a screen door on a submarine. I remember when the abuse allegation first surfaced, thinking “No surprise there. He’s always seemed slimy to me.” My only regret is that Dylan was denied justice at the time, in the name of her “fragility”, which does not seem to be in evidence right now.

    • Robert

      But many of the blog posts here rail against those on the right being crucified in the court of public opinion because of left wing media bias.

      I was talking about generalities not specific cases.

      You can’t have your cake and eat it.

      • dragin_dragon

        Amazing!!! How do we go from child molestation to media bias? I am expressing a personal opinion and again, I could not care less what the media (or Hollywood) think about this situation. I would also point out that political beliefs are a far cry from the heinous crime of child molestation.

  4. ByTheFarmstead

    Considering Hollywood has convicted her and her mother in the xourt of public opinion for twenty years I don’t see a problem with her appeal. His career depends on public approval and he still gets it.

    I haven’t seen a single film since the sleazy behavior came out. I can’t understand why he’s excused in a subculture that portrays itself as pro-woman and anti-abuse. It’s that ‘portrays,’ isn’t it?

    • Robert

      If you actually read my comment, I said that I thought in this case it WAS warranted. Because (as you say) of Hollywood.

      My concern was that this sort of public “outing” (admittedly after previous unnsuccessful private(ish) attempts) is very case by case dependent, and therefore not necessarily something that is a good fit for all cases – and moreover that Jack’s glossing over of the “innocent until proven guilty” commentary is the sort of thing that he has complained about in other cases.

      • ByTheFarmstead

        I was not disagreeing with you in any particular way, so I do not know why you suggest I had not read your comment. I dislike using public opinion to influence the court system during the process. Today is long past that period and it was not pursued as it would have if he wasn’t greatly admired in another arena. And that very much what is addressed here frequently: celebrity privilege after misconduct. If it had been pursued, we’d have a more definitive answer.

  5. Fred

    On point 3, I give Kristof credit for saying later “The standard to send someone to prison is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but shouldn’t the standard to honor someone be that they are unimpeachably, well, honorable?”

  6. Bruce

    I am distraught. I couldn’t have asked for a clearer example of what I’ve been trying to say in several directions recently. And yet I don’t want to even think about it. My honest reaction is to silence, but that would leave the blog to comments I find hard to be forgiving of. I’ll mamnage but sometimes…..

    Whether the account is false or accurate, that any victim of abuse should seek the ‘blessing’ of publicity even when the toxic nature of that particular kiss is known to them – unspeakable.

    Whether the account is true or false about the initial abuse, the repeated abuse by lawyers and doctors in our system is horrendous, sytematic cruelty – even if she lied. No 7 year old child should be made to suffer like that. Sharia law or a variant thereof might keep such cases out of court contestation, unless Allen could fool his senior family members as easily as his lawyers may have fooled the jury. And whatever happened the child would be cared for by both families. Woody’s and Mia’s – but if there were doubt, Woody would be kept out of the picture. Parents have no parental rights, only duties. i could be wrong but even if so, are we so sure we’re right to bring child crimes to court?

    It takes a village to raise a child, I believe, for which read granny and grandpa living close by and a hundred sound relationships with average adults so a child need never feel alone and the rare abusers are diagnosed very early, at puberty, and treated mercifully as special. Rather than late and brutally.

    i could go on but i won’t , I find it hard and I don’t really beleive in commenting. It will all come out in the end on one post or other. But if any one of you lot talk now, after this, casually, about the innate superiority of our culture, the virtues of the adversarial system, the myth of misogyny, the blessing of emotional harshness or how victims of free speech offensiveness should ‘Cope with their hurt little fee fees’ or anything like it I will be unhappy. Pasionate sincerity is fine. I’m not insisting even on prohibiting lax comment. It’s not my place and I won’t counter-comment. But I’d be disappointed in you, Scott. Not on this one, for pity’s sake.

    And of course I don’t count. So ignore me.

    Sometimes one must speak up, sometimes free discussion of issues helps and other times silence is better. I’d like to hear at least one vote for silence and the remainder of discussion to be respectful of any blogger or reader who may have been abused. Failure may offend my feelings, which are not small, but more to the point nor would the victim’s be.

    And quite separately, later and more calmly, yes Scott I suppose I am playing an emotional senstivity card, from your point of view, having read through this again you gave me little choice, it’s my passionate reaction and you must accept it as such. I might have brought someone else to the argument rather than you and I know this will hurt. But blogs move on and every day you put the hurt on others is anoher day that I’ve failed my duty to them. I could choose to not send this. But I choose to, consciously and manipulatively and publicly in the belief that others have tried before. And passionately and sincerely, hoping I would have the support of the abused evreywhere in using this issue which I would rather not do, to protect children and the vulnerable. From you. I’m trying to influence your speech. and treating you honestly and openly both for this case and every other case. I make no apologies in saying : you are obliged by common decency to limit your language and speculation to some moderate degree when you know another person is sensitive or may be so. Pass an empathy test. If that offends you. Cope. Thus a principle is demonstrated. As if that mattered. For crying out loud? Did you have to start in that way ‘the appeal to the emotions lost me’ what else should she appeal to, what does any victim have to appeal to with you, a cynical sense of humour? Do they need an ‘I coped with verbal abuse sucked it up and said nothing’ medal? , what would you have of her – emerge into the limelight with sincerity? abjure every trick in the book which has been used against her? you might say you were sceptical , but ‘lost’!! Lost – as if she deserved to suffer rather than inconveniece you with an emotion? it may have been what was on your mind, it may have been spontaneous and innocent, just as my above statement was and wriitten without thought, but I refuse to believe you don’t know what you are doing aswell, just before you pressed ‘post comment’ you must have had some idea i wouldn’t let it pass.. Was it worth doing. Really? Who benefits? And why should anyone put up with it. Seriously, what is my or anyones interest in hearing what you say when you or anyone else abuse our trust, individual by individual, episode by episode, never too much in one place, never getting caught, always on the limit of what you can get away with. As policy for you. Maximum offensivess, zero mercy. Always pushing things so sensitivity of any kind looks a fool or a liar. Crowding out the passionate and caring people and no doubt enjoying socking it to the ‘softies’ each time. I like you Scott, I admire your courage and the go to hell approach to power, but go to hell to victims?

    It is not necessary.

    To continue with this ‘art’ of yours is to be a monster. Give it up.

    • For the record, I enjoy your heartfelt, unfiltered, openly exposed style and conviction. It’s brave and provocative. You just worry too much about how others will receive it.

      • Bruce

        I care about other people, worry and self-restraint go with that. Normally. It’s kind of my point and my deepest instinct. Provocation is accidental hurting people, at all, ever, is for when you have to, not when you choose to. I’m disappointed at breaking my own rules to any degree. I am reduced. I am a lesser man. I have done ill in a good cause.

        I am Woody Allen, not Spartacus, as I always wanted. I am ashamed.

        • Bruce

          Oops, that’s what happens when emotions get involved. One reaction to another to another. Please feel free to ignore the last comment. It was just a temporary echo of my earlier outburst. Over now. Emotions, they come they go, what they mean, who knows?

      • Bruce

        And thank you for saying that. It was appreciated.

    • “But if any one of you lot talk now, after this, casually, about the innate superiority of our culture, the virtues of the adversarial system, the myth of misogyny, the blessing of emotional harshness or how victims of free speech offensiveness should ‘Cope with their hurt little fee fees’ or anything like it I will be unhappy.”

      You’ve got the burden of explaining to me exactly why you’ll be unhappy if I discuss the superiority of our culture after reading about Dylan Farrow’s letter. I really don’t see the connection. Our system never promised to make utopia, but its a far cry better than the others, even with it’s imperfections.

      I have no idea what the rest of your assertion alludes to.

      Why exactly would Ablative not be allowed to show disagreement with the letter if he feels there is legitimate reason to disagree? IF there is the possibility, and a logical argument could be made, that this letter is just one more well worded and tear-jerking manipulation in a narrative designed to destroy one man, don’t you think it would be absolutely irresponsible NOT to call it out simply because it is deeply emotional?

      IF this letter is part of a false narrative, then it’s actually an affront to actual victims of abuse, so silence does not protect them, only devalues the real crime committed against them.

      I think I agree with the first half of your very long paragraph, and the rest was for Ablative…

      • Bruce

        Tex i am always happy to explain to you.

        That I wrote in anger should be apparent. that does not mean I was not acccountable for what I said, it means that if you can tell I was angry that my anger communicated to you. I would therefore assume you would read what I wrote with a degeree of care as from the tone of your response you are alert but not explosive. You will therefore have seen that I used the word casually in the piece and only said I would be unhappy if the comment were casual but that I did not insist upon consideration on that point nor would any blowback or counter comment ensue. My ‘threat’ if you wlll was to be unhappy. As you know there are several people on site who beleive that no person can make another feel anything. Not wishing to dispute that at that time (ie ‘now’) with any of those people and in particular not with Scott inserting a signature kick in the teeth I made a plea for mercy. No more and no less. Being on this site aware that I had no statistcal right to expect any discretion. I never the less asked. I admit I did assume that my statement was for just at hat moment and was neglectful in returning to the comment later and ‘taking te brake off’ but I din’t actually believe anyone would care to respond as the piece had such a high emotional tone and that usually atracts little consideration.

        The rest of my assertion in that paragraph refers to various items I have submitted where I am fairly sure that I have provoked these various persons who hold the ‘incommunicado’ view of emotional life or made various attempts to show that simple items are more complex and that emotional is in deed communicable and that assumptions should be challenged especially on emotive topics like this and – just about anything else on blog.

        I then addressed Scott directly. Without directing any ommnt best left to Scott especially as I know now that you clearly disapprove of an yhow of emotion, though appaently are prepared to sufffer Scotts 4 letter abusive ‘art’ elsewhere which i find -surprising in one of good jugement otherwise such as yourself.

        Scott’s aggression to any form of mercy at all (I’ve never been able to confirm this with him, he seeems to delight in baiting me.) and his art led me to impute to his argument at the top of the comment section as an insincere interpretation of the letter and manipulative manouevre (part of his ‘art’) to secure a greater margin of safety for his aggression. Passionate sincerity I can deal with but bully boy logical manouevres and subtle manipulation are another matter. if you are pleading a cause you should wear a badge so that others can identify and be on guard againsts manipulation. But Scott plays dirty pool sometimes – on logical and emotional levels I beleive.

        The remainder was one comitted emotive attempt to somehow reach through to the guy. Stir him on some level. Probably miscalculated. But I did follow my own rule and wear a badge saying ‘this is an attempt t influence you’. i did not wear a mask as i believe scott AMS does.

        I’m more than happy to talk the issues through or be further accountable. Honestly after trying to deal with Scott your comment is a breath of clean air.

        Just because I’m passionate does not mean I’m lying. I hope you can read that.

  7. Beth

    I feel for this poor child and frankly, I wish I had NOT read this letter. I already knew he was an incestous pedophile for marrying his adopted daughter (certainly the only father she ever knew at least).

    If I were a star, I’d refuse to be in his movies. I never saw the brilliance in them anyway.

    Mia should have killed him. I would have.

  8. philwild

    Minor correction: it’s Lewis Carroll.

    Regarding this:

    Actor Gig Young’s genre was light comedy, and after he murdered his young wife and killed himself, nobody found his films very funny any more. O.J. Simpson’s roles in the “Naked Gun” films has had a similar effect, though not as pronounced.

    I can’t be the only person who finds this scene funnier when watched with the suspicion that O.J. Simpson is a murderer.

  9. By the way, Woody was telling us he was a pedophile in “Manhattan/”. He cleverly cast a six-foot girl (Mariel Hemingway, who still had a lot of growing up to do) to fudge the obvious. And “Manhattan”, unlike “Annie Hall,” is virtually never shown on TV, though when it came out it was almost universally praised…indeed, many critics thought it surpassed “Annie Hall.” I’m proud to say that it gave me the oogies right from the start.

  10. Fred

    “because movies can’t hold statuettes”

    Which brings an idea to mind. Trademark or copyright an award logo, and license it for use on-screen in theaters and videos, along with the studio logos. Then it is clearly the art that is being honored and not the artist.

    Irrelevant in this case, though, since the subject is a “lifetime achievement” award.

  11. Well, Scott, Althouse seems to react as you did: “Dylan Farrow puts her sad face between you and whatever Woody Allen movie you might have been hoping to enjoy.” On the other hand, her post strikes me as oddly defensive, and more than oddly willing to excuse Allen of whatever because “we’re all sinners.” She also doesn’t seem to perceive what’s wrong with sleeping with your adopted daughter.

  12. That the entertainment establishment will close ranks to protect one of their own- no matter how repellent he might be- is only to be expected. These people talk of art, act for profit and live like stray dogs in heat. Thus, when one of them is accused of just about any crime in the book by anyone who has any credibility and no obvious profit motive, you have to take a closer look.

    I would assume that, under New York state law, the crime of child molestation is, as with most states, an offense without a statute of limitations. If so, Allen is still liable for prosecution. Therefore, it comes down to a matter of what legal authority would have custody of the case and(most important) whether that authority has the inclination for more than a cosmetic investigation. As this is the second largest film producing state in the nation and the center of many other facets of the entertainment field besides, it would likely follow that many elected prosecutors (via “campaign” donations) are bought and paid for by the Industry.

    This is an old story; in New York and elsewhere. As I put it on another occasion; money trumps morality. Maybe I’m overcynical, but I rather doubt that Allen would either be subjected to a vigorous, incisive investigation or a prosecution if legal agency has no higher authority (or an aroused public opinion) breathing down its neck.

    If Dylan Farrow IS giving us the straight goods (and my gut instinct says she is) then she needs justice. So does every abused and endangered child, past or present. I’d also say that justice should be additionally visited on those who keep children in danger of such despicable deeds by abetting such monsters for the sake of their own profit. If child molestation is allowed to be degraded to the level of petty theft or excused due to the “status” of the perpetrator, then we’ve right there thrown the concepts of blind justice and the sanctity of childhood out the window. Then what?

  13. THE Bill

    You left J.D Salinger off your list.

  14. Ulrike

    I’m inclined to first believe anyone who claims he/she was molested/attacked as a child/adult – because of the simple fact that there is so much of it going on in our world, it’s so universal, it’s pervades any profession or society.
    And Woody Allen is exempt from being a possible offender because he’s famous, well-liked, and the case wasn’t brought to light earlier. Really?
    My grandma and aunt were raped by Russian soldiers, my collegue molested as a child by an uncle. Sexual assault is everywhere. Molesters can be judges, kindergarten teachers, or the nice neighbour next door. They can also be famous directors or football coaches.

  15. Pingback: Ms. Dylan Farrow « Ethics Blog

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