The #MeToo movement is an important and long overdue reckoning within two left-wing institutions: Hollywood and the mainstream media. If this movement is going to sustain its good work, it must respect due process and the right to a fair trial, even if that trial is taking place in the court of public opinion.
Even in this court of public opinion, because people’s careers and reputations are at stake, all of us have a responsibility to take seriously our roles as jurors, especially in the age of social media. And while we must not discard common sense, for the sake of human decency, we must still respect the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Yes, even Woody Allen deserves a fair trial. The fact that he is a self-involved leftist who has behaved badly in the past should have no bearing on whether or not we as a society stand idly by as he is turned into a non-persona over a 1993 allegation of child molestation.
But, as actress Mira Sorvino and others in the entertainment community slap him with a scarlet letter, an act that effectively blacklists Allen by making it unacceptable to work with him, that is exactly what is happening.
What is especially disturbing is the amount of misinformation being carelessly bandied about.
Although he and Mia Farrow never married or even moved in together, for 12 years, starting in 1980, the two of them were in a committed relationship that did produce children, including daughter Dylan Farrow (adopted) and sons Ronan (originally Satchel) and Moses Farrow (adopted).
Soon-Yi Previn was never Allen’s daughter, step-daughter, or adopted daughter. She is the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and André Previn — Previn is both her father and father figure. In 1991, when Allen was 55-years-old and Soon-Yi was just 21 (or 19 — no one is certain of her birth date), the two of them entered into a romantic and sexual affair.
During the bitter custody fight that followed, Allen was accused of molesting seven-year-old Dylan. As we saw in her interview Wednesday night, Dylan stands by her allegations and, understandably, would like to see her father publicly destroyed, as would Ronan and Mia. Over the past few years, the Farrows have sought to re-litigate the allegations and, by extension, see Allen driven out of his profession:
I know that standing with me against Woody Allen is not easy in this industry. I know that I am asking for courage and even sacrifice. But if #TIMESUP truly stands with all victims, as it says it does, then that sacrifice is necessary to help convert this moment to a movement. /1
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) January 10, 2018
To those who have already taken a stand and amplified my voice with theirs, there is a 7 year old girl inside of me who thanks you from the bottom of her heart. /2
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) January 10, 2018
The following are some facts that always seem to get lost in this debate:
1. Allen and Soon-Yi have been together for 25 years, married for 20, and have two children.
2. In a 60 year career, no one (other than Dylan) has ever accused of Allen of acting inappropriately in any way.
3. Dylan is Allen’s sole accuser.
4. Child molesters are notorious repeat offenders.
6. Allen’s estranged son Moses has reversed his earlier statements and now claims that the allegation against Allen is a lie. He not only says he was physically and emotionally abused by Mia Farrow, but that she invented the allegation as retribution. Moses was also in the house at the time the alleged molestation occurred:
Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate toward him. The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces… I don’t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible.
Both Dylan and Moses claim to be victims. Each should be given equal consideration.
Dr. John M. Leventhal, who interviewed Dylan nine times, said that one reason he doubted her story was that she changed important points from one interview to another, like whether Mr. Allen touched her vagina. Another reason, he said, was that the child’s accounts had “a rehearsed quality.” At one point, he said she told him, “I like to cheat on my stories.”
Dr. Leventhal said: “We had two hypotheses: one, that these were statements that were made by an emotionally disturbed child and then became fixed in her mind. And the other hypothesis was that she was coached or influenced by her mother. We did not come to a firm conclusion. We think that it was probably a combination.”
Dr. Leventhal headed the hospital team that was asked by the Connecticut State Police to investigate the claim that Mr. Allen molested Dylan last August at Miss Farrow’s summer home in Connecticut. The team told Mr. Allen and Miss Farrow on March 18 that it had concluded that Dylan was not molested, but the transcript gives the first look at the thinking behind that finding.
This Yale-New Haven study was commission by Connecticut’s state prosecutor. After the study unambiguously cleared Allen, the prosecutor declared their findings unreliable.
8. Allen passed a polygraph test: [emphasis original]
Allen fully passed the test. The results were submitted to the CT State police, with [Paul] Minor [the former-Chief of the Polygraph Office for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command who performed the test] flying in to answer questions. The State police concurred with Minor’s findings, which is probably why they never proposed administering their own test. Mia was then asked by Woody’s lawyers to take a reciprocal polygraph test. She wouldn’t. Maybe it’s not too late.
“This amounts to a public reprimand, though they’re not calling it that,” said Kate Stith, a law professor at Yale University and a former Federal prosecutor. Though the decision was “quite damning,” she said she was not surprised that the panel did not punish Mr. Maco, because lawyers are rarely disciplined for their public statements.
It should be noted that a couple of years later the censure was overturned.
10. Allen was not the only one cheating. Mia Farrow has admitted that she too was unfaithful, specifically with ex-husband Frank Sinatra, well into the 1980s:
When asked point-blank if her biological son with Woody Allen, Ronan Farrow, may actually be the son of Frank Sinatra, Farrow answers, “Possibly.”
Ronan Farrow was born in 1987.
11. Dylan’s story was inconsistent:
Dylan’s statements in interviews at the hospital contradicted each other and the story she told on a videotape made by Miss Farrow, Dr. Leventhal said. “Those were not minor inconsistencies,” he said. “She told us initially that she hadn’t been touched in the vaginal area, and she then told us that she had, then she told us that she hadn’t.” ‘Intense Relationship’
The doctor suggested a connection between Miss Farrow’s outrage over Mr. Allen’s affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Farrow Previn, and the accusation made by Dylan, who he said was unusually protective of her mother. “It’s quite possible — as a matter of fact, we think it’s medically probable — that she stuck to that story over time because of the intense relationship she had with her mother,” he said.
12. Authorities believed Mia Farrow poisoned the family against Allen:
Even before the claim of abuse was made last August, [Leventhal] said, “The view of Mr. Allen as an evil and awful and terrible man permeated the household. The view that he had molested Soon-Yi and was a potential molester of Dylan permeated the household.”
13. The prosecutor said he did not charge Allen in order to spare Dylan from an “exhausting trial.” But if the prosecutor did indeed have “probable cause” of a terrible crime, this makes no sense. Although Mia Farrow said she agreed with the persecutor, Dylan had already been through an exhausting process. Why give up at the very end?
Moreover, as Robert Weide points out, “If the concern was really about putting young Dylan Farrow through an exhausting trial, I’ve often wondered why Mia Farrow didn’t sue Woody Allen in civil court once Dylan was old enough to withstand the trial, before the statute of limitations ran out, with all parties being under oath.”
If Mia’s account is true, it means that in the middle of custody and support negotiations, during which Woody needed to be on his best behavior, in a house belonging to his furious ex-girlfriend, and filled with people seething mad at him, Woody …decided this would be the ideal time and place to take his daughter into an attic and molest her, quickly, before a house full of children and nannies noticed they were both missing.
Despite the facts, for 25 years these allegations have haunted Allen, and now the bandwagon of #MeToo has resulted in a blacklisting campaign against the Oscar-winner. Actors and producers are being pressured by the Farrows to repudiate Allen, to make him unemployable. So far, among others, Sorvino, Timothée Chalemet, Rebecca Hall, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, David Krumholtz, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Kathleen Kennedy, America Ferrera, attorney Nina Shaw, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shonda Rhimes, and Griffin Newman have done so.
So far only Alec Baldwin and Selena Gomez are refusing to join the mob.
Worse still, using scandalous headlines and mindless innuendo, the left-wing Washington Post joined the witch hunt three weeks ago with Richard Morgan’s misleading piece titled “I read decades of Woody Allen’s private notes. He’s obsessed with teenage girls.”
In 56 boxes of material, Morgan extrapolated a handful of notes written by Allen (all of them within the realm of story ideas and character creation) about older men attracted to women aged 17 and up. There is one example of 16-year-old described as “a flashy sexy blonde in a flaming red low cut evening gown with a long slit up the side” — which reveals nothing in an era that sees girls younger than that sexualized on the Disney Channel.
Not only is none of what so disturbs Morgan criminal, not only is all of it within the realm of fiction, Morgan wants to criminalize the biological fact that older men are attracted to younger girls.
Is this truth suddenly verboten in art?
Naturally, Morgan attacks Allen’s masterpiece Manhattan as the act of “dressing up crime as art,” but fails to mention that the relationship between Allen’s 42-year-old character and a 17-year-old (played by Mariel Hemingway) is in fact not a crime. In the state of New York, 17 was and is above the age of consent. It should also be noted that Allen’s character gets his comeuppance, ends up alone when she moves on.
Everyone wants to pretend otherwise, but this is not an issue of competing rights. It is simply wrong to force people to choose between alleged victims Dylan and Moses Farrow, or Woody Allen. Each should be heard and respected. Moreover, not agreeing with Ronan Farrow (a journalist I have respected for years) in no way undercuts his vital work in exposing Harvey Weinstein. Ronan was only five when this scandal blew apart his world (Moses was 14), and it is no crime for him to stand with his sister and mother.
Nonetheless, to argue that there is reasonable doubt in this case is an understatement, and no reasonable person can examine the facts and render a verdict that results in the personal destruction of Woody Allen.
Without question, Allen (and Soon-Yi) are guilty of a terrible betrayal 25 years ago. Without question the entire situation was creepy. But at what point do we stop flogging a single incident in the otherwise unblemished life of an 83-year-old man, and move on?
The facts might change, new information might come to light, and if so, I am happy to re-enter the jury room for further deliberations. But as of right now, this blacklisting campaign against Woody Allen is an outrage, is immoral and un-American.