This weekend, much internet bandwidth was devoted to Dylan Farrow—the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Farrow alleged in a post published on Nicholas Kristof's Times blog yesterday that she was sexual abused by Allen when she was seven. The post reignited a story that had lay mostly dormant for decades, but never exactly left the public consciousness.
Farrow's horrible, shocking, and poignant words immediately mobilized support from a bevy of writers and public intellectuals who chastised both Hollywood and the world for continuing to venerate Allen, one of America's most honored directors. It would take a lifetime to assemble all the backing for Farrow. In the wake of the renascent controversy, Allen was even confronted at a New York Knicks game last night.
But to the chagrin of some in the commentariat, Allen has also found some defenders and not just among a sliver of the Twitterati. One was Robert Weide, who helmed a two-part PBS documentary on Allen and cast wide aspersions on the veracity of Dylan Farrow's allegations. Here's one small representative block of the several-thousand word piece:
Moses Farrow, now 36, and an accomplished photographer, has been estranged from Mia for several years. During a recent conversation, he spoke of “finally seeing the reality” of Frog Hollow and used the term “brainwashing” without hesitation. He recently reestablished contact with Allen and is currently enjoying a renewed relationship with him and Soon-Yi.
Another arguer suggests that, regardless of the truth at the heart of the matter, the public square is not an adequate venue for Dylan Farrow's "cri de coeur" to be litigated and that some focus should be paid to Mia Farrow's role in the controversy.
I am not arguing that Mia Farrow made a mistake when she declined to press charges. I am simply saying that in doing so, she assured that the public would never have clear grounds on which to judge either side. Whatever the facts, it seems clear that everyone involved has experienced a toxic family psychodrama. But it is ultimately a private one.
Woody Allen's lawyer seems to have issued a statement:
Despite all the big news this weekend, we'll no doubt be hearing more about this story, especially as Allen's latest film "Blue Jasmine" contends for three Academy Awards next month.