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Woody Allen deserves an apology. Years of unfounded demonization have failed to crush his creativity

Chris Sweeney
Chris Sweeney

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney

Woody Allen deserves an apology. Years of unfounded demonization have failed to crush his creativity
Legendary director Woody Allen has battled claims of sexual assault for years and appears resigned to accepting his legacy will forever be tarnished. Now he is being given the floor again, and we should all listen – and apologize.

Finally, a mainstream platform has given Woody Allen the chance to speak.

Like many others, I've been conditioned to be distracted by the smoke, without investigating the fire. He’s supposed to be a child molester, to have fathered children with his adopted daughter and to have refused to show any remorse for his heinous actions. But one quote from the prolific moviemaker when speaking to the Guardian cut through like a razor.

Denouncing me became the fashionable thing to do, like everybody suddenly eating kale.

It’s true. He’s become the living equivalent of a demon, who society is urged to shun.

His most recent movie ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ was supposed to be part of a deal with Amazon Studios, before they walked away. As a result the film isn’t being released in the US.

His autobiography was abandoned by its original publisher Hachette when some staff threatented to quit. That was fueled by his outraged son Ronan Farrow, who released his massive selling book ‘Catch and Kill’ with the company.

Anyone who seems to end up linked to Allen, has to then distance themselves immediately or face the righteous public’s wrath. Colin Firth, Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino are just some famous actors who’ve done that.

It does beg the question: these allegations began in the early ‘90s, so why did they work on his movies in the first place?

In Allen’s life story – which another publisher took on – he recounts an interesting tale. It centers around Timothée Chalamet, seen by many as Hollywood’s next leading man superstar.

Allen writes: “Timothée afterward publicly stated he regretted working with me and was giving the money to charity. But he swore to my sister he needed to do that as he was up for an Oscar for ‘Call Me By Your Name’, and he and his agent felt he had a better chance of winning if he denounced me, so he did.”

Chalamet’s representatives have not commented on the veracity of this allegation.

But its logic would offer a reason why other high profile actors like Alec Baldwin, Diane Keaton and Scarlett Johansson haven’t denounced him.

As what would they actually be denouncing?

RT

Allen’s ex-wife Mia Farrow accused him of molesting her daughter, Dylan. It was investigated.

Yale New Haven hospital’s sexual abuse clinic stated: “No credible evidence was found that the child named in this report has been abused or maltreated.”

New York City’s Child Welfare Administration concluded: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually molested by Mr Allen.”

One doctor commented how Dylan’s claims had “a rehearsed quality to them” and Farrow’s other adopted child Moses stated: “I was forced to follow my mother’s script to prove my loyalty.”

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Allen’s wife Soon-Yi was adopted by Farrow, but according to evidence Allen hardly knew her before she was 20.

They started a relationship when he was 57 and she was 21, but that was 28 years ago. They’ve been married for 23 years and now have two grown-up daughters. They are an unorthodox couple, but who cares?

Plenty of men marry younger women. Joe Biden’s son dated his own brother’s widow. Things happen.

The Allen bandwagon has really gained velocity over the past decade and that’s mirrored a positive change in society. Namely, allegations of abuse are taken more seriously.

But there is right, and there is wrong.

Being accused of something or portrayed in a certain way isn’t a license to seal someone's fate. Mob justice is no justice at all.

The dark side of these societal changes has been that a lot of individuals feel they need to be seen to support certain crusades. One major one is the conviction that any woman should be afforded the right to name and shame any powerful man who they claim abused them.

How can that be right?

If we begin from a totality like that, then we’re certain to incinerate some innocent people’s reputations and well-being. It’s why criminal courts have two outcomes. Morality cannot be pre-determined.

Allen fits all the necessary requirements to become a human pinata for sexual abuse tub-thumpers: he’s famous, rich and powerful. Maybe being Jewish plays a part, and also his eccentric mannerisms.

It’s a total abomination that he’s been allowed to be tarred, without being convicted of anything, and then prevented from expressing his side of things in anything like the magnitude of his accuser.

Shame on all the big companies who’ve cut him off. Shame on all the well-connected figures who refused to defend his right to innocence. Shame on all of us for believing the hype.

Ignorance is no defense. Woody Allen deserves an apology.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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