Woody Allen Is Not a Criminal

We can identify with Dylan Farrow’s pain and be firmly against sexual assault, and at the same time recognize that in Allen’s case there is reasonable doubt

Woody Allen attending the 'Wonder Wheel' screening at Museum of Modern Art in New York City, November 14, 2017.

As the victim of an endless assault of terrible Woody Allen films over the past 30 years, I insist on my right to continue not enjoying his films because of their glaring artistic faults – and not because of the claim by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow that he molested her when she was a child. To my mind, there is no justice or courage in the declaration by the actors Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon and Timothee Chalamet that they would no longer work with Allen, because they hope his career is over and they believe Dylan.

The growing protest in Hollywood against Allen shows dogmatic, herd behavior. The moralistic, pontificating lynching of Allen is a show of hypocrisy and ignorance. It’s a cruel witch-hunt.

“I believe you, Dylan,” Portman dramatically declared to Oprah Winfrey, the knight of hollow Hollywood justice and presidential candidate of the Portmanian Order of Millionaire Conservative Celebrities, established by the counter-revolutionary force fighting the revolutionary Trump regime. On what basis does Portman believe Farrow?

The facts: In contrast to almost all the other public figures accused of sexual harassment, Allen is accused of only one transgression. No one claims he is a serial abuser. After Mia Farrow accused him of molesting Dylan Farrow, the accusations were investigated, on orders of the Connecticut police, by the Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Sex Abuse Clinic. The investigation went on for six months and included medical and psychological tests. The conclusions were unequivocal: Dylan had not been sexually abused.

The second investigation, entirely separate, was conducted by the New York state child welfare authorities. It went on for 14 months. The conclusion was that no reliable evidence of molestation or an inappropriate relationship had been found, and therefore they declared the claim baseless. Allen was never indicted, because two reliable, thorough and expert investigations came to the same conclusion: that the incident described by Dylan Farrow never happened. Allen was also found to be telling the truth in a polygraph test.

I can’t know what happened between Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen on the day she claims he molested her in an attic. Her brother, Moses Farrow, a couples and family therapist, says that Allen did not molest her, and that their mother Mia Farrow was the violent and terrifying parent (unlike Allen, Mia Farrow refused to take a polygraph test). Dylan Farrow’s other brother, Ronan, says he believes her, and neither one knows for sure.

Portman and the rest of the lynch gang can’t know what happened between him and Dylan Farrow. But to believe Farrow based only on her testimony from age 7 (in a recent television interview she added no new information), while ignoring the facts — is superficial and dangerous too.

We can identify with Dylan Farrow’s pain and be firmly against sexual assault, and at the same time recognize that in Allen’s case there is reasonable doubt. The investigation and findings by the authorities should be respected.

Dylan Farrow’s word is not above the law. We must recognize the limitations of our ability to know the truth. There is no reason, based on the facts, to believe Farrow and not Allen.

True, Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn, was 19, and the adopted daughter of his partner when he began a relationship with her. He was 55 years old at the time. You can be scandalized, but it was legal and there is no justification for treating Woody Allen like a criminal.