Woody Allen: Guilty Until Proven Innocent?
Castigating Allen’s defenders is as big a mistake as condemning him without a trial.
With the caveat that the President of the United States had been acquitted of impeachment charges not quite a month before the announcement of Woody Allen’s upcoming memoirs, it’s worth noting that no true trial — as we’ve become accustomed to the term — had taken place that led to that controversial party-line decision.
From the Department of Justice, a lengthy explanation of the term and the process, inclusive of the following: After many weeks or months of preparation, the prosecutor is ready for the most important part of his job: the trial. The trial is a structured process where the facts of a case are presented to a jury, and they decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charge offered. During trial, the prosecutor uses witnesses and evidence to prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime(s). The defendant, represented by an attorney, also tells his side of the story using witnesses and evidence.
After many weeks or months of preparation, the prosecutor is ready for the most important part of his job: the trial…
No witnesses were brought forth in Trump’s case, and so if his impeachment scenario could have been considered in any way a “trail” in the legal sense, surely that definition must now be amended due to the precedent.
It should further be noted that the multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against the current President have yet to yield any extensive due process. Though those of us on the anti-Trump side may believe him to be guilty, our staunchest opinions on the matter mean nothing in the end.
He’s still, supposedly, innocent until proven guilty.
That’s been the way of U.S. law for centuries.
Unless that too is now redefined.
So what does this have to do with Woody Allen, another public figure of some note who has, in recent years, is said to have become both a poster child for the #MeToo movement and widely assumed to be a pedophile?
Let’s begin this exploration in earnest with a timeline.
October 8, 1970 (legally presumed): Soon-Yi Previn is born in Korea.
1978: Then-husband Andre Previn adopts, with Mia Farrow, Soon-Yi Previn.
1979: Andre Previn and Mia Farrow divorce. Mia Farrow retains custody of Soon-Yi.
1980: Woody Allen and Mia Farrow begin a 12-year romantic relationship, which will end in 1992. Also in 1980, Mia, as a new single mother, adopts Moses Farrow, a two-year-old Korean orphan afflicted with cerebral palsy.
1985: Mia Farrow adopts Dylan Farrow at two weeks old.
December 19, 1987: Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow is born, son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, being Mia’s fourth and last biological child.
January, 1992: Mia Farrow discovers nude photos of Soon-Yi in Allen’s apartment. Allen and Farrow lived in separate but close quarters across Central Park throughout the duration of their relationship. Allen is 57 when the photos are discovered; Soon-Yi is 21. Allen admits he had planned to keep the affair secret, and says they had sex for the first time “two weeks before.”
August, 1992: a) Allen releases a statement saying he is “in love” with Soon-Yi. b) Dylan Farrow, then seven-years-old, says Allen sexually abused her. Allen insists Dylan was “coached” by Farrow. Allen, ultimately, permanently loses custody of his children.
February 28, 1995: “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story,” FOX’s first miniseries, premieres. The studio logline: Mia Farrow’s personal life takes a turn for the worse when she engages in a long relationship with Woody Allen.
December 1, 1997: Bantam releases Mia Farrow’s memoir, “What Falls Away.” In the book, Mia brings to the public’s attention her issues with Woody Allen, including allegations of abuse and inappropriate behavior with their children.
December 22, 1997: Woody and Soon-Yi marry.
August 5, 2008: “Vanity Fair” publishes Mia’s version of Woody’s alleged improprieties.
Whatever you already know about this tangled and painful situation, you've only heard half: the case against Mia…
For the next decade, Woody becomes increasingly excoriated. His 2011 film, “Midnight in Paris,” becomes his last hit, grossing $154.1 million worldwide.
Negative word about Woody continues to spread.
August, 2017: Amazon Studios, through then-chief Roy Price, negotiated a deal with Woody to release the director’s next four films, with minimum guaranteed payments between $68 million and $73 million.
October, 2017: Though first used in the context of sexual misconduct in 2006, #MeToo enters the culture upon the multiple related accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.
April 16, 2018: “The New Yorker” wins the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for Farrow’s reporting on sexual predation. He is also included in the Time “100 Most Influential People in the World” list in 2018.
May 23, 2018: Moses Farrow breaks his silence, and writes about the allegations against his father for the first time, taking his side in the controversy.
A SON SPEAKS OUT By Moses Farrow
August 4, 1992 was a warm, sunny day in Bridgewater, Connecticut, but in our family's country home, Frog Hollow, there…
June, 2018: Woody is interviewed by “Periodismo Para Todos,” a news program on Argentine TV. “I should be the poster boy for the #MeToo movement,” he says. “I’ve worked with hundreds of actresses, and not a single one — big ones, famous ones, ones starting out — have ever, ever suggested any kind of impropriety at all.”
September 16, 2018: Soon-Yi speaks to “New York” magazine in a rare interview, where she tells her side of the Woody Allen affair, as well as their subsequent marriage.
After Decades of Silence, Soon-Yi Previn Speaks
Once, she was seen as a victim, her youth and relative innocence taken advantage of by a powerful, much older man who…
February 7, 2019: Woody Allen files a $68 million suit against Amazon for breaching their film deal. The suit, in part, alleges: Amazon has tried to excuse its action by referencing a 25-year-old, baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but that allegation was already well known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen — and, in any event it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract.
Woody Allen Files $68 Million Suit Against Amazon for Film Deal Breach
Woody Allen filed a $68 million suit against Amazon Studios Thursday, alleging that the streamer has backed out of a…
October 15, 2019: “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” is released to major acclaim, written by Ronan Farrow. The title, according to Wikipedia, is defined as the surreptitious technique employed by tabloid newspapers to prevent an individual from publicly revealing information damaging to a third party. The book primarily recounts Farrow’s efforts to expose Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct despite innumerable attempts to cover them up.
March 2, 2020: Hachette Book Group, the same company that published Ronan Farrow’s book, announces the upcoming April 7 release of “Apropos of Nothing,” Woody Allen’s memoir.
Woody Allen Memoir Gets Release Date
Woody Allen's long-rumored memoir, " Apropos of Nothing," thought to be unpublishable in the Me Too era, is coming in…
Over the next few days, employees of Hachette Book Group walk out in protest of the publication, and in support of Ronan.
March 6, 2020: a) Hachette decides not to publish Allen’s book.
b) Pen America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to defend free expression through the advancement of literature and human rights, issues a statement.
PEN America Statement on Cancellation of Woody Allen Book
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (New York, NY) - Following news that Hachette will not publish Woody Allen's book, PEN America…
Writers and other high-profile public figures, as well as the general public, flood social media with their thoughts.
Following some harsh criticism, King added the following:
In the meantime, Dylan Farrow defends her brother and mother’s accusations against her adoptive father, and Moses’ blog post receives new life on social media.
It appears everyone else in the public, amidst other global concerns such as the coronavirus, takes a side.
For the specific sequence of events on the matter of Allen’s guilt or innocence, Wikipedia’s information is quite substantial and well-annotated.
Mia Farrow was mother to four biological children and 11 adopted children. Further information about her life is readily available online, but motherhood did not come easy to her as she lost several of her children to untimely deaths.
If you do read further on the matter, Farrow has been shrouded by her own share of controversy by certain family and extended family members, some of whom blame her for less-than-ideal child rearing.
It is not my place to determine blame for either the children’s lives or their deaths. I mention this piece of information in an effort to be balanced.
Some also say the concept of false memory may be a factor.
Regardless, the running theme of the Farrow(s) and Allen controversy is that many believe Allen to be guilty, while those who defend him — including Moses — believe the entire matter was perpetuated by Mia as revenge for Soon-Yi’s affair and subsequent marriage to Woody, who himself states that his relationship with Mia at the time was, for all intents, already over.
None of us truly know, for certain, Woody’s guilt or innocence — save for his family.
We can agree that Woody was never tried in a court of law outside of custody battles; he never faced a jury and did not have a trial based specifically on the charges which would have netted him prison time.
He did, however, undergo therapy for alleged inappropriate behavior toward Dylan prior to Mia presenting such allegations to the authorities.
To unravel some of this further, see this February 7, 2014 article from “Vanity Fair”:
10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation
This week, a number of commentators have published articles containing incorrect and irresponsible claims regarding the…
The issue is complex. In my opinion, Woody should have his day in court specifically on the matter before he is further shunned or exonerated.
If he is found guilty, he’s a monster who deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. There is certainly circumstantial evidence that supports the allegation.
However, if he is found not guilty … would you believe it?
If not, then our court system would mean little if anything anymore.
At the time of this writing Woody Allen is 84 years old. And he’s never spent a single, solitary day locked up for this alleged behavior.
Is there a germ of a possibility that he is not guilty after all? Or, has he just been that much luckier than Harvey Weinstein to this point?
Valid questions, both, as again he’s yet to be formally considered either guilty or innocent on separate charges aside from those related to custody battles (which are certainly valid of themselves, and not to be discounted) that could lead to his serving time.
Why hasn’t he been so charged?
I welcome your feedback.
Thank you for reading.
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