Abuse Question Still Has Legs

Were it not for Ronan Farrow’s upcoming MSNBC series, I would have predicted that this revival of Dylan Farrow’s abuse accusations would only stay news until a few days after the Academy Awards – particularly if Woody Allen wins another Oscar. Ronan’s presence on the tube could keep the issue going indefinitely.

In the Guardian’s Between labelling Woody Allen a child molester or his daughter a liar, I feel utterly stuck, Victoria Coren Mitchell tries to find a middle course where Allen’s only transgression was with Soon-Yi, but Dylan feels justifiably violated:

In this context, Dylan does not want to be touched by him. That means being touched by someone who’s become frightening, who is not the innocent father she believed. She has been stroked, kissed and told she is beautiful by a monster who’s been casting his sexual eye around the family. It’s sinister. She doesn’t want it. She may not understand the detail, but everything has turned horrible and weird.

At Forbes, John McQuaid hopes it will go away, penning, No, You Don’t Have To Have An Opinion About Woody Allen And Dylan Farrow:

… there are countless, well-documented, indisputable cases of sexual abuse. There are cases where victims were disbelieved, and later proven right. There are cases where the justice system demonstrably fails and the guilty go unpunished. The Farrow-Allen case does not fall into any of these categories; it is murky and disputed. If are an advocate for victims’ rights, in other words, this not a strong case to cite to advance your cause.

Like many others The Atlantic’s Jennie Rothenberg observes that Allen still seems tone-deaf about his own actions, and proposes, The Op-Ed Woody Allen Should Have Written:

The public has been saying a lot of different things about Woody Allen over the past couple of weeks. But there’s one thing few people have been questioning: the man’s ability to write. On Friday, however, even Allen’s way with words seemed dubious. His op-ed in The New York Times, denying his daughter’s claims of sexual abuse, could have been his chance to show some humanity and reassert his love for his children. It could have even helped make the world a better place by putting more attention on the real issue—the only issue—that should concern the public: the very real damage that parents inflict on children every day, whether directly or indirectly, and the lifelong struggles those children undergo as they try to make sense of it all.

Allen could have done all this while still asserting his innocence.

I’ve read that, barring special legislative action, too much time has passed for Dylan Farrow to bring action against Allen. A NYT commenter wondered why Allen doesn’t sue Dylan Farrow for slander. With all that has come out, I think that more media scrutiny is the absolute last thing Allen would want, but if Dylan and Ronan keep up the pressure he may feel pressured to respond through the courts.

Update 20140210: Margery Eagan writes, Rebuttal does little for Woody Allen:

Better to keep your mouth shut and just appear to be a pedophile than open it and remove all doubt.

Or most doubt anyway.

I know, I know. We cannot say with certainty that filmmaker Woody Allen sexually assaulted his then-7-year-old adopted daughter Dylan Farrow two decades ago.

But, in an apparent tit-for-tat against that daughter, Woody Allen doesn’t just open his mouth but shoves his foot right in it. He’s written a loathsome and skin-crawling rebuttal to Dylan Farrow printed in the New York Times, his hometown paper.

… here’s what we learned about child sex abuse in Boston, ground zero of the priest scandal. That predators prey on troubled kids from dysfunctional families. That predators are often charming, brilliant and charismatic men you just can’t imagine doing what they’ve done. Remember ex-priest and convicted rapist Paul Shanley? He was once a Boston media darling, the dashing “street priest” who claimed to be “rescuing” all those troubled teen runaways down at the bus station.

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