On Woody Allen

By Isaac Simon

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Cannes Film FestivalWoody Allen, one of the all time great comedians and directors, has been in the news lately for reasons unrelated to his films, tarnishing his reputation and putting a black mark on his name.

In the summer of 1992, Allen was in the process of a tough separation with Mia Farrow. The relationship lasted 11 years, with Farrow appearing in many of Allen’s best films. Dylan Farrow, Farrow’s adopted daughter, claimed that she was sexually abused by Allen when she was seven years old in the basement of Farrow’s Connecticut home. According to Dylan, Allen touched and molested her, which are allegations Allen has and continues to deny.

In an interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes conducted the same year, Allen reiterated his innocence. He said that it would make no sense for him to drive up to Connecticut to surround himself by people who hate him and go into the basement of Farrow’s house – a basement he had only been in once before – and molest Dylan.

A couple of weeks ago, Farrow sat down with a writer from Vanity Fair to discuss in-depth the molestation case of 1992. In addition to the piece in Vanity Fair, Nikolas D. Kristof, an Op/Ed columnist for the New York Times, devoted a column to Dylan Farrow, in which she discussed the inappropriate things Allen had done to her.

What this all lead to was a backstabbing of Allen at the Golden Globe Awards when he received the Cecil B. Demille Award. Although Allen was not in attendance (Diane Keaton accepted the award on his behalf), Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Allen went to Twitter, writing, “Missed the Woody Allen Tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age seven before or after Annie Hall?” While it seemed as if Ronan was simply defending his sister, others felt as if it was just meant to cause controversy.

It is situations like these that make Allen look like the bad guy. It is particularly unfair that Allen is seen in the minds of some as a child molester when there has never been substantial evidence to prove it. It is also troubling that Mia’s family feels compelled to attack Allen in recent years. Allen has always been an extremely private man, declining most interviews, avoiding cameras whenever possible and almost never appearing at award shows. In fact the outcry of attention that this issue has received forced him to write an op/ed in The New York Times where he continued to proclaim his innocence.

The Farrows’ relentless attacks have not stopped with Allen. They have criticized both Diane Keaton, Allen’s longtime friend and former lover, along with Cate Blanchett, for appearing in his films. Both Keaton and Blanchett have nothing to do with this case whatsoever. Neither of them ever asked for trouble and suddenly they have become victims through no fault of their own. That is unfair especially as Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress in Allen’s most recent film “Blue Jasmine.” What is interesting is that many critics and bloggers were certain that Blanchett was going to win, but some changed their minds after the controversy resurfaced.  Ever since the scandal 20 years ago resurfaced in the news, it casted doubt on Blanchett’s chances, and it would have been a shame if the power of the media brought down such a star. The issues of the allegations against Allen and the acting ability of Blanchett should not be intertwined, and to have intertwined the two would not only have been unfair but offensive.

Now that the Oscars are over, hopefully this controversy can die down. Allen, who has continued to make movies, is working on his next film “Magic in the Moonlight” which features Emma Stone. If it is not clear, Allen has used Hollywood’s biggest females in his movies; that will not stop, but hopefully this controversy will.

Isaac Simon is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]