Wallace Shawn Defends Woody Allen Over Sex Abuse Allegation, Compares Him to Desmond Tutu

Wallace Shawn Defends Woody Allen Over Sex Abuse Allegation, Compares Him to Desmond Tutu

“It would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that he had sexually abused a child,” writes the actor

Actor Wallace Shawn is the latest Hollywood personality to defend Woody Allen against recent child sexual abuse allegations revived by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

The character actor (“Toy Story,” “Princess Bride”) and playwright cautioned against a rush to the judgment on the 77-year-director in an opinion piece published Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.

“We don't have overwhelming evidence about what happened or didn't happen on the day in question,” he wrote. “And yet when I turn on my computer, I hear a din of voices declaring unequivocally that Woody Allen committed a crime, a disgraceful, indefensible, sickening crime — I hear voices inciting hatred against him. Obviously if he did not in fact commit the crime, this is an appalling situation.”

Also read: Woody Allen May Not Be Talking, But His PR Offensive Is Heating Up

Interestingly, the L.A. Times had previously rejected Dylan Farrow's column that eventually was published by the New York Times’ Nick Kristof, as TheWrap previously revealed.

Shawn, who worked with Allen on the 1979 film “Manhattan,” said that while he's not a friend of the director and had no long conversations with him, he saw him as “extraordinary and even inspiring in his thoughtfulness, seriousness and honesty.”

“I personally would have to say that it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that he had sexually abused a child, just as it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that Desmond Tutu, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Doris Lessing had sexually abused a child,” he said.

Also read: Dylan Farrow Fires Back at Woody Allen Defense: ‘Legalese, Distortions, Outright Lies’

Allen defended himself in his own opinion piece for the New York Times, strongly denying the accusations of sexual abuse which were earlier published a Nicholas Kristof blog, where the 29-year-old Dylan Farrow made the allegations. The column has set off a firestorm of accusations and counter-accusations, with Allen and his defenders saying the entire story was invented and coached by a still-enraged ex-partner, Mia Farrow.

But his PR team, headed by Leslee Dart at 42 West, has made sure that the filmmaker's supporters are being heard, forwarding a barrage of pro-Allen statements and opinions to the media.

Also read: Woody Allen Ex-Teen Girlfriend Says Abuse Allegations Are a Publicity Stunt for Ronan Farrow Show

  • Lucy M.

    Mr. Shawn did not compare Woody Allen to Desmond Tutu. He simply stated that he would be as astonished to learn that Woody Allen was proven to be guilty of child molestation as he would be if Franklin D. Roosevelt, Desmond Tutu or Doris Lessing were proven to be guilty of such. These are people he admires and he includes Mr. Allen in that broad group. Shame on you for your gratuitous and ridiculous headline.

    • TDA

      Wow! A child is abused and this is what you choose to carp about? He is certainly equating Allen with Tutu in so far as the quality of person. That's a comparison. He wishes to convince us of the saintliness of Allen. The evidence is contrary. Especially the 33 page judge's decision. Have you read it?

      • Dani

        If there is so much evidence then why wasn't he charged with a crime? And the bottom line is, if they didn't charge him, then he is considered innocent in the eyes of the law. What part of that is so freaking difficult to understand? The public shaming 20 years later is completely uncalled for.
        All I got out of Dylan's piece is that she's really messed up (after all these years!!) and needs help. She is NOT someone who should be speaking for abuse victims and she certainly does NOT speak for me. 20 years is plenty of time to have gone thru the healing process but she is still angry as if it happened yesterday. That's not right. If Allen truly deserved to be charged then she should be focusing her anger on the people who prevented her from testifying – not on someone who will never be held accountable and never apologize.

        • Connie Hilliard

          Dani, Being innocent in the eyes of the law is legalistic, courtroom terminology. Jerry Sandusky was also innocent in the eyes of the law. He wasn't charged with a crime until many years later. Since most sexual predators are not prosecuted, what are you saying other than that you feel more comfortable blaming the accuser rather than reflecting on what we now know about Woody Allen's predilection for young girls. If it turns out that he is molesting his adopted daughters, it's not as though we're unfamiliar with his pattern.

          • OBserver

            “Since most sexual predators are not prosecuted, what are you saying
            other than that you feel more comfortable blaming the accuser rather
            than reflecting on what we now know about Woody Allen's predilection for
            young girls.”

            _______________

            Nowhere did that commenter say anything like that. You are making huge irresponsible leaps in your statements which makes your other statements questionable.

            Also, it's despicable when people drag the other innocent girls into this and post about their sexuality online. If you were truly a child advocate, you wouldn't do that just to make a passing point to one up another comment.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            What, so objecting to Allen's preying on young girls is “dragging innocent girls into this”??

            The post was not about Allen's daughters’ sexuality. It is about his already proven predatory behavior towards their mother, and unfortunately amply proven unhealthy interest in her sister, their aunt/cousin.

          • OBserver

            The other daughters have nothing to do with this.

            The fact that you don't see this and are willing to violate them makes your whole position suspect.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            You've tried a number of different techniques to discredit conclusions you don't like, none of them involving logic. Nobody, I hope and pray, is “violating” the innocent daughters of the man who buried his face in his previous daughter's l*p. THAT was a violation, of her bodily integrity, of her autonomy, of the parental bond where the parent is to answer the child's needs, not the other way around.

            Since you bring up the word “violation,” though, perhaps you are familiar with Woody Allen's joke about his first wife's sexual assault? “Knowing my ex-wife, it wasn't a moving violation.”

            Google it. He told it on the Dick Cavett show, but it was part of his stand-up act.

        • sam23

          I would like to add that the fragility was verified by the Supreme Court justices. Dated May 12, 1994

          “While the evidence in support of the allegations
          [197 A.D.2d 333]
          remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.”

          In fact it was verified by therapists and by the prosecutor that dylan should not stand trial as she was too traumatized to stand trial. Remember she was 7 years old then. The adult WERE doing the best for her. Every one has a different experience and way of handling things.

          This is classic textbook of victims of rape and molestation especially when the predator accused is the father uncle or other family member.

          She has every right to be angry at her father and have a voice to say so.

          • Qtips

            The prosecutor verified that she was too traumatized? That's surprising.

          • sam23

            Yes the Prosecutor did verify what the therapists were saying in regards to her fragility. Did I stutter?

          • koam

            No, the doctors and therapists determined that Dylan was not telling the truth and had never been molested.

          • sam23

            Stop LYING Koam. this is direct from the documents which people can fact check everything I say. Which are:

            “While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of
            Dylan's behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse DID OCCUR.

            While the evidence in support of the allegations
            [197 A.D.2d 333] remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.”

            Fact check this Koam: google Allen Vs. Farrow May 12, 1993 this was the final appeal Allen had and they upheld Judge Wilk ruling.

            You or anyone can read that in his conclusions: Google Allen vs. Farrow dated June 7, 1993 – scribd

          • 2tall4u

            Read the facts that Sam23 has presented.

      • jack2211

        I have read it. The judge also complains that Allen didn't bathe the children.

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          The judge was deploring Allen's detachment; Allen played no part in, nor displayed interest in caring for any of them except Dylan, and yet sued for custody. A separate issue from the alleged touching.

          • OBserver

            Don't know what happened, but if he were a molester, he'd jump at the shot to bathe the child, or at least to bathe Dylan. He sued for custody of those he'd adopted. He was not the father of the other children, including Soon Yi.

            You're entitled to your opinion, but you need to form it logically, not just bending facts to suit your pre-determined bias.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            Child molesters do not behave according to non-molesters’ rules of logic, which is one reason so few are caught. I don't speculate as to why he did or didn't try to bathe Dylan, but it is a fact that he was eyewitnessed burying his face in her lap while kneeling before her, and two different eyewitnesses discovered her without underwear that day. It is a fact that Mia Farrow, not knowing about the lap-nuzzling, did not freak out when told her daughter had no underwear, only asking the French teacher to help get her fully dressed, and that Farrow only reacted once told about the lap incident.

            It's a fact that the child did not behave as if she were enjoying her father's attention. An ordinary father just hugging his child might elicit giggling, head-patting, return hugs — not a frozen stare over his head at a distant TV.

  • DPierre

    Good grief.

    I've seen misleading headlines before, but this one may take the cake.

    • http://www.thewrap.com TheWrap

      sorry, i don't agree. when wallace shawn writes that he'd have trouble believing allegations against woody allen just as he'd have trouble believing allegations against desmond tutu, that is indeed a comparison. sw.

  • koam

    Intentionally misleading headline.

  • Dani

    We will probably never know the truth and while it is very odd for Allen to be married to his adopted stepdaughter, the fact is they've been together for much longer than he and Mia ever were. (I highly doubt Soon-yi is being held against her will.) And the entire time he and Mia were a couple, they maintained separate residences. They weren't living like a regular family. Gotta wonder whose idea that was.
    Plus, someone who continually adopts children but does not want to be in a committed relationship seems to have some pretty serious emotional issues. And what's the deal with all the name changing of her kids? That's not normal either. Nothing is normal with this family and I highly doubt that Allen is the root cause of it all. No wonder Dylan/Mallone is nuts.

    • Sakurako

      You do know that Woody and Soon-Yi live separately, don't you?

      • Qtips

        Yeah, and they've been happily married for over 20 years. What does this have to do with the context of the Farrow family when Dylan was supposedly molested?

        • Sakurako

          Oh yes, nothing says “happily married” like a husband who can't stand to live in the same abode with his wife.

      • sam23

        Really I did not know that. Thank you for posting this . He is basically repeating the same lifestyle as he had with Mia??? So wait how was he able to adopt if they are both in the same city living apart…? Whose name is really on those adoption papers??

        Someone has some espaing to do Lucy… ;)

  • nimportequoi

    People who now my uncle would never say that he is a child molester, because he is charismatic, friendly and a like-able person. However, I'm the one who has suffered throughout life, spending countless hours in therapy, severely suffering through my childhood and early adult years not able to have normal relationships with people, trying everything possible (therapy, meditation, drugs, etc) to recover from the pain and damage. Shawn comments a very naive and shortsighted, “Shawn, who worked with Allen on the 1979 film “Manhattan,” said that
    while he’s not a friend of the director and had no long conversations
    with him”

    • jack2211

      He's accused of touching the outside of her vagina in the attic and of touching her bottom once while he was lifting her onto a bunk bed. And he's being called a rapist and a sexual predator. It may have been molestation, but the same judge who believed Farrow's claims that Allen had an improperly close relationship with his daughter also complained that Woody never bathed the children.

      • BumpIt McCarthy

        Sleeping with the teenage daughter of your girlfriend, a socially backwards kid who had never had so much as a date, certainly is predatory. Calling her so often that she's fired from her first job shows a lack of concern for her, and an enormous sense of entitlement.

        • OBserver

          Your comment is completely irrelevant to the molestation claims.

          Also, you need to support each one of your gossipy allegations about Soon Yi's private life with a cited source. Or, better yet, stay on point and respect other people's privacy.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            My comment is “awaiting moderation,” possibly because it includes two links, but my information comes from the 1993 court custody ruling, which you can google. Soon-yi told her mother she'd quit her job, and refused to tell her where she was. Mia received a letter from the camp, informing her “with regret” that they'd had to fire Soon-yi after she was derelict in her duties owing to a quantity of calls from “Mr. Simon,” who was Woody Allen.

            Illustrating previous predatory behavior by Mr. Allen toward young women in Ms. Farrow's family is most certainly on point. Soon-yi was socially awkward, had never had a boyfriend, and Allen testified himself that he didn't so much as say hello to her for all the previous years he'd known her (twelve previous years).

            People have been hurling abuse at both Farrows with no compunction, encouraged by falsehoods spread by Woody Allen's legal and PR teams. Reading the custody ruling may be a start towards realizing who's being bullied here.

          • OBserver

            Dating young is different than molesting pre-pubescents.

            The fact that people try to hang their hat on that relationship to make a case against Woody Allen as a molester is opportunistic.

            Going into all the petty minutiae of Soon Yi's life and reciting it online is bizarre and irrelevant too.

            You sound very personally invested in this.

            The “Farrows” strategically rehashed what are serious allegations in a flippant and gutter dwelling way – via childish snipes on Twitter, torpedoing an award, promoting an upcoming talk show.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            You asked me to cite my source, and I did. Trying to change the subject, since it isn't convenient to you, to my psychology is transparent AND irrelevant. I actually have sympathy for Soon-Yi, abused and abandoned by her birth mother, who then was ignored, by Woody Allen for over a decade, before he discovered she was worth taking naked pictures of. One of my quarrels with Mia's parenting is that she subjected her children to a boyfriend who viewed them as an encumbrance, except for the one he was obsessed with.

            as far as speculation and gutter-dwelling, look no further than yourself — Ronan and Dylan were the innocent victims of their father seducing their sister and shattering their family. Now they're being slammed for not staying silent about it. They used the wrong medium! How dare they! They're only self-promoters! And bitter!

            Ronan's show was already set. He is already famous, brainy, and good-looking. There is nothing about this scandal that benefits his career. His sister has asked for nothing, has nothing to promote, and is now the target of vituperation such as yours.

            My “investment” is that I hate bullies.

          • Sophie

            Dating young and molesting pre-pubescents are not necessarily two separate things. I'm sorry, but you are just wrong. I have a sister who had unfortunate ongoing relationship with a school teacher from the ages of 15 to19. It ruined her life, but she did not know it at the time, of course. My sister was fully developed at the time, and certainly not pre-pubescent. But one of the most disturbing things about the ‘relationship’ was that this man shared his fantasies about much younger girls, as young as ten. He would tell my sister that he saw no problem with having sex with ten year olds as long as the child was ‘willing'.

            The line between someone like Soon Yi and an eleven year old is not as definite as you seem to think. Child abusers are engaged in relationships that involve a specific POWER dynamic. It's not ‘necessarily’ about sexual preference.

            I have no idea what happened in the attic and neither does anyone else who wasn't there. However, it is simplistic to suggest that Allen's relationship with Soon Yi has no bearing on his relationship with Dylan. Most men just wouldn't sleep with their seven year old daughter's sister- regardless of whether they viewed that ‘sister’ as their own step daughter or not. And for Allen to have said that they were not ‘really’ sisters is disgraceful. Does he also feel this to be so with his own adopted children now??

        • sam23

          Ok, can I just say why is anyone listening to what this Ferengi Wallace has to say??? haaa.

    • http://TheRalphRetort.com/ TheRalph

      Your problems somewhere have nothing to do with this very specific case.

  • sam23

    Uh the Allen Yale team had no business concluding guilt or innocence according to Dr. Diane Schetky, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, co-author of the widely used textbook Child Sexual Abuse and co-editor of Clinical Handbook of Child Psychiatry and the Law.

    Read : Allen Vs. Farrow dated June 7, 1993 then Read Allen Vs. Farrow dated May 12, 1993.

    But even the Yale team admitted it was not conclusive meaning not concluded:

    “Leventhal states: “We had two HYPOTHESES : one, that these were statements 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.”

    LEVENTHAL LATER RETRACTED THIS ACCOUNT.

    “Leventhal himself later admitted, in sworn testimony in the custody case, that he made several mistakes during the course of the investigation. One of those was his false characterization of Dylan’s active imagination as a thought disorder”

    The Supreme Court Judge concluded :

    “I have also considered the report of the Yale-New Haven team and the deposition testimony of Dr. John Leventhal. ” “The unavailability of the notes, together with their unwillingness to testify at this trial except through the deposition of Dr. Leventhal,compromised my ability to scrutinize their findings and resulted in a report which was sanitized and therefore less credible.”

    They would not even testify to what they said was true.

    “there is no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen's contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi. Mr. Allen's resort to the stereotypical ‘woman scorned’ defense is an injudicious attempt to divert attention from his failure to act as a responsible parent and adult.”

    “Unlike Yale-New Haven I am not persuaded that the videotape of Dylan is the product of leading questions or of the child's fantasy”

    “the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan's behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse did occur.”

    The next appeal Allen tried to lodge was also denied and Supreme Court justice Wilk results were upheld. In fact the second court from 1994 said they also found the hypothesis in the reports inconclusive .

    Google legale : Allen Vs. Farrow May 12, 1994

    “While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of
    Dylan's behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse DID OCCUR. While the evidence in support of the allegations
    [197 A.D.2d 333] remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.”

    The investigation which professionals would refer to as an interrogation of a 7 year old little girl over 9 times over the course of 3 weeks! Even she repeated the same allegations over and over again.. her core story never changed .

    They went further to uphold therapy as suggested by judge Wilk as well.

  • flic ker

    test

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    test

  • Climp Jones

    Guilty as rumored…

  • http://TheRalphRetort.com/ TheRalph

    I support Woody.

  • 2tall4u

    He's a pedo…smmfh

  • GetReal

    Really, Wally? I have learned that “great” men and women are capable of horrendous things. That pillars of morality can commit atrocious acts and talk themselves into believing they did nothing truly wrong. I've learned that people can compartmentalize their own consciences. And that children can take awful secrets to their graves, because they believe, way down deep, that they were the ones at fault. I also believe Dylan. I believe what she says, and I believe she wouldn't have come forward without her brother Ronan's support. And I believe we should all support her, not Woody, because there are hundreds of thousands of people just exactly like her – men, women, boys, and girls – some of them survivors and some of them still living in a daily hell. You seem like a nice guy, Wally, but I think you're projecting your own morals onto your friend. That's a mistake.