That hurts. From “What’s Up Tiger Lily” to “Blue Jasmine,” I’ve been a fan, advocate of his world view, evangelist of his art — but no more.
After reading Dylan Farrow’s op-ed in the New York Times where she alleges, in shocking detail, the sexual abuse that she suffered from Woody — my disgust will override any fandom feelings that may linger. A seven-year-old child’s innocence and life force was murdered by Woody, again allegedly, and we respond to that with more adulation and awards for a great filmmaker, and a twisted, decrepit human being.
I’m totally behind Nicholas Kristof for publishing Farrow’s open letter. I applaud Dylan Farrow’s strength and honesty. However, what I really admire is her timing. On the eve of the final round of voting for the Oscars, Allen and those in his orbit will hopefully feel a tiny bit of the shame that sexual abuse causes — not only to the victim, but to those who enable the person and the act by looking the other way. Shame on us. Justice will come on the wings of revenge, and hopefully the industry will shun Woody and drive him further into his own isolated psyche that has become an odd trademark of his public persona and work. The misfit, the schlemiel, the arbiter of self-loathing who “wouldn’t join a country club that would allow a guy like him in it.”
Self deprecating? How about self loathing.
Guess what? Everyone mentioned above is toast. The revulsion elicited by Dylan Farrow’s darkly detailed assertions will not play well in the hearts and minds of those who can vote anonymously. In this case anonymity will be the fuel for realization, much like alcohol inspires blunt honesty. The recent memory of Diane Keaton waxing effusively in a meandering and un-focused suck-up about the talent and worth of Woody Allen, fully knowing (according to Dylan Farrow) of what went down, is enough to turn the stomachs of even the most jaded industry A-Lister or studio exec.
It’s time to shun Woody Allen. When you look the other way at the dark side of genius, you become culpable in the crime. I was for years. I recently cut one person out of my life who had abused someone who I love very much. I dug hanging around this guy, even when the rumors and one of his drunken admissions pointed to a sick history of repetitive child abuse. Until I had a heart-to-heart talk with this beautiful woman, the subject of his abuse, who had achieved things in her life that other people dream about, married a wonderful man, and was raising a family — while a horror movie was looping in her mind, always there, always pervasive — I knew what had to be done. I wanted no part of this person, and prayed that karma would catch up and do what I didn’t have the balls to do myself.
So why not Woody Allen? Why did I continue to go to his movies, quote his famous lines, screen “What’s Up Tiger Lily” as an example of comedic genius? The answer is simple. It is more comfortable to look the other way.
No more. I’m boycotting the bastard. I owe it to every child who is abused by an authority figure. I owe it to the broken souls who will spend the rest of their lives trying to get back on track. I owe it to the children of those abused who question the intermittent sadness in their parents. I owe it to myself as a human being. I owe it to the young girl who told me she wanted to be an RAF Pilot over 20 years ago, and eclipsed that lofty goal through sheer will and brilliance, in spite of the abuse that she was suffering at the hands of someone that I considered a friend.
When you abuse a child, you murder innocence. We know what ultimately happens to murderers.