After Woody Allen received the Lifetime Achievement Award and subsequent (albeit warbled) tribute at last month’s Golden Globes, it seemed like just about everyone had an opinion on an accused child molester being honored for his “life’s work” during a nationally televised broadcast. Especially Ronan Farrow, Allen’s son with Mia Farrow, who delivered a scathing (and, in the opinion of this author, totally valid) tweet expressing his disgust over Hollywood’s seemingly blasé attitude about Allen’s allegedly abusive past because art/money/fame/power/etc.
Bloggers, journalists, media icons, and pretty much every Twitter user ever had something to say about it. And, until yesterday, Woody Allen’s daughter and alleged victim of his sexual abuse, had remained silent on the matter. I guess enough was enough, because Dylan Farrow penned a courageous and powerful open letter to the New York Times which detailed her story and her feelings toward Hollywood’s praise of the man who nearly ruined her life:
“Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.”
It’s more than slightly disturbing. You can read her letter in its entirety, and I absolutely recommend that you do so in order to gain perspective from her point of view. I mean, think about it: she has to hear his name, see his movie posters, and witness celebration of Allen’s work all the time. She can’t escape it. I can’t imagine the kind of torture this must feel like for her on a regular basis; much less how she survived through two decades of this kind of PTSD.
She ended her letter by calling out specific members of Hollywood–namely those who have starred in Allen’s films, like Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, and Diane Keaton–for contributing to the way society fails survivors of sexual assault and abuse by turning a blind eye and remaining neutral to the issue, because sexual abuse makes people uncomfortable. I call total bullshit on the “innocent until proven guilty” and “separate the art from the artist” defenses. It’s easier for those who have worked with Allen to pretend to have no opinion at all. Well, Dylan Farrow is having none of that:
“So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.
Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”
Naturally, Twitter is abuzz over this letter and a few celebrities have shared their opinions:
Grateful my timeline is full of so much love and respect for Dylan
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) February 2, 2014
I’ve loved his movies and cited them over the years but I don’t want to contribute any more to a culture that tells survivors of abuse that- — Tavi Gevinson (@tavitulle) February 1, 2014
-their voices do not matter or tells white men that you can sexually abuse a child and still be celebrated worldwide for your work. — Tavi Gevinson (@tavitulle) February 1, 2014
If you haven’t read Dylan Farrow’s brave and disturbing article, please do: http://t.co/Obg8a1zHlD
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) February 2, 2014
I know it’s like, such an inconvenience to bring up serious issues when it’s much more fun to quote Annie Hall, but I can only hope that one day in my lifetime, the morals and actions of a person (okay, specifically “white men”) will not be defined only by their success and wealth.