With all the allegations of sexual harassment and assault filling up a good portion of the media’s time, the investigative efforts are leaving no stone unturned. Some of the allegations go back 40 years. Most cannot be criminally prosecuted due to existing statute of limitation laws. The existing remedies appear to be ruining the lives and careers of the accused, and civil litigation to be awarded monetary damages.
For those under the age of 40, the Woody Allen — Mia Farrow Hollywood drama was entertainment news for many months, including the sexual molestation accusations against Allen; first from Farrow, and most recently by his daughter, Dylan, herself. 25 years ago this was an ongoing soap opera where the public took sides. Many men were suspicious of Allen, who was dating and ended up marrying Soon-Yi Previn, Farrow’s adopted daughter from a previous marriage. In 1992 Soon-Yi was the media focus of a sexual relationship with Allen.
Allen and Farrow were never married, and the accusations about Dylan came on the heels of the public revelation about Allen and Soon-Yi. Which brings us to the current issue of how Allen has escaped the collective rage of the #metoo movement.
One fact that is different from the others accused is that the accusations against Allen were investigated by social workers, psychiatrists, and the courts 25 years ago. While there were serious suspicions publicly and legally, no action was ever taken. The simple reason is that there was no evidence to support the accusations. Allen clearly was creepy, but that is not proof. In contrast to politicians and actors who have publicly confessed their wrongdoings, Allen has maintained his innocence for more than 25 years.
That leaves Dylan Farrow’s public op-ed to be considered. It is critical to not examine her statements because all that does is turn into a game of she said-he said. That is unfair to both Allen and Dylan. The point is to answer her question: how has Woody Allen avoided the wrath of the #metoo movement? One possibility is that Allen has already been tried in the court of public opinion before social media and the #metoo movement ever existed. Various media outlets have re-opened the investigation taken by the courts 20 years ago, but the only thing that will come of it is more speculation.
A more likely possibility is that Allen never sexually harassed or assaulted anyone in all his years as actor, director, or producer. If that were true, we can expect the victims to appear shortly. Now this does not exonerate him about the accusations from Dylan, but as far as the #metoo movement question, there is a clear absence of evidence so far. We can be assured that should accusers come forward, Allen will be near the top of the #metoo headlines and those 25 years of proclaimed innocence will undergo further scrutiny.
There is a story hidden beneath this one that the media will likely never cover. What if the answer to the question is: there is no reason to add Woody Allen to the #metoo list? The majority of the accused have confessed or resigned, perhaps because it is far easier to move out of the public eye and attempt to return to a private life (Matt Lauer, for example). They may realize there is no point in making a defense, which will be expensive and almost definitely not do anything to repair their public image. The accused will be guilty not because there were one or more witnesses to the sexual harassment and assault allegations (there are a few exceptions) but because the collective testimonies of individual people have been presented as evidence.
None of this makes Dylan a liar or Allen guilty. The lesson that may be learned when all is said and done is that Mia Farrow did Woody Allen a big favor by bringing the accusations when she did. Her accusations allowed the legal process to be conducted unencumbered by the influence of social media.
Allen is 82 years old and has apparently been happily married for the last 20. About these two pieces of information we can say: These are the facts of the case, and they are indisputable.
For those who take a different view, I leave you with this video clip.