Woody Allen’s latest film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” is currently in post-production and is slated to be released by Amazon Studios sometime in 2018. However, in recent months, the future of the film has become uncertain, and it’s now possible that it will never be viewed by an audience. This is in large part due to recent events like the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and other prominent industry figures and the Time’s Up initiative, which are forcing people, once again, to remember the fact that Allen has long been accused of sexual assault. Writers from various news organization — such as Melena Ryzik and Brookes Barnes in The New York Times and Joe Berkowitz’s piece in Fast Company — have published articles about Woody Allen and his potentially damaged relationship with Hollywood.
I myself am beyond frustrated because, unlike Weinstein, Allen’s behavior hasn’t been an open secret within the film industry; his behavior isn’t a secret at all. The allegations against him have been widely discussed and reported on for over a decade and they are something Hollywood has been conveniently forgetting for over 26 years. The article published in The New York Times in early October that uncovered the many, horrific sexual assault accusations against Weinstein, is eerily similar to a November 1992 article published against Allen in Vanity Fair. “Mia’s Story” was an extensive report written by University of California Berkeley alumna Maureen Orth, including over two dozen sources.
The article details Allen’s alleged sexual assault of his and his then partner Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, at the time 7-year-old Dylan Farrow. While Allen was never criminally charged with the sexual assault of Dylan, another article by Orth pointed to one of several factors that may have hindered this: first and foremost, although Frank Maco, the state attorney for the case, deemed there to be probable evidence to charge him, he believed the victim’s mental state at the time was too fragile. The article also talked extensively about the scandal that had taken place seven months prior to the assault, when Mia Farrow found nude photos of another adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn in Allen’s apartment.
Allen has continued to work with seeming impunity. Since 1992, articles have appeared every now and again, restating what has already been reported and expressing outrage and frustration. One of the most powerful of said articles was Orth’s 2013 follow up. According to the Washington Post in an article published in early 2014, “That simple sequence [the follow-up article] set in motion a chain of events that ended up propelling a sensational but long-dormant news story back into prominence, as a new generation discovered what an older generation had more or less forgotten about Woody Allen’s troubled personal life.”
What is troubling, is that the new generation of Hollywood actors has also forgotten. Allen has directed and released multiple films since these allegations came to surface, such as “Magic in the Moonlight,” “Cafe Society” and “Wonder Wheel.” Many of the actors — in those films and in the upcoming “A Rainy Day in New York” — have expressed support for the current women’s movements and are influential figures in the industry. Kate Winslet, Emma Stone and many more all decided to work with Allen despite the plethora of accessible and credible information deeming him a sexual predator.
Many of the actors who have continued to support Allen have been facing criticism in recent months, and some have addressed the issue. Timotheé Chalamet has decided to donate his salary from ARDNY and split it between three different charities. Greta Gerwig, Colin Firth, Kate Winslet and more have all expressed regret for working with Allen. But it’s simply not enough for these actors to express regret, benefit from good publicity and possibly win awards for their performances — Kate Winslet won the Hollywood Film Awards’ 2017 Best Actress for her work in “Wonder Wheel” — all while Allen continues to write and direct movies.
ARDNY should not see the light of day. If we as a society want to prove that the current movements aren’t just a passing trend, then things need to change. Actors must be held accountable. Distributors of Allen’s work must be held accountable. Journalists must be held accountable, and, most importantly, cinema attendees need to be held accountable. If Amazon makes a grave error in judgment and chooses to release ARDNY, then we need to make the conscience decision not to go see it. Every movie ticket purchased only affirms to Allen, and men like him, that you can sexually abuse someone and get away with it. Ultimately, it implies powerful men, no matter their transgressions, still are and will always be powerful. In Dylan Farrow’s own words, “Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.” So, I implore you: do not be a part of such a willfully ignorant society.
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Email Amelia Levin-Sheffield at [email protected]