Dear Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen and Hollywood Have Failed You, But We Hear You
Dear Hollywood: One of your beloved greats has fallen from grace this week. And it's time you admit it. Let me remind you that Woody Allen is still just a man, regardless of his work, which to you seems more valuable than the small human act of believing a young girl's memory of her own life (a life that she and no one else has lived) and affording her compassion. Why do you stand by a man who has responded so disgustingly to his adopted daughter's accusations? (I am forced to say "accusations" here, which even saddens me, because the 1992 case deemed the allegations "inconclusive.") I believe Dylan Farrow, because compassion is the least we can give to a woman who is speaking out when it's so much easier to stay silent. And accusing her of being confused, or brainwashed — as Allen did in a statement via his rep and lawyer — is anything but compassionate.
Better, perhaps, to start by extending a thank you and an apology to Dylan Farrow: Thank you for your bravery in breaking your silence. It is clear to me now that you knew what would come, that Hollywood would champion Allen, a man who once called himself your father. I hope you know that you are not on trial here, and those who have abandoned you, have slandered your character, have ignored your direct plea for accountability, are not worthy to me anymore. I'm lucky enough to have lived as a woman without suffering sexual abuse, but so many women I know, love, and cherish have. "False rape" myths are perpetuated by the shitty, insulated rape culture we lived in; we are damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we speak out, we're immediately suspect, the presumption of innocence granted instead to our abusers. I am sorry that Hollywood has so brazenly chosen to disbelieve you and dismiss you. By silencing you, they're silencing all victims and that won't soon be forgotten. I hope you don't feel forsaken.
So, to Hollywood, especially to Diane Keaton, Cate Blanchett, to Alec Baldwin, to Stephen King, to Bob Wiede, to Barbara Walters, to Emma Stone, what do you value? What are young women worth to you? Why constantly aggress that this is a discussion about art and not about humanity and a rape culture that you are directly perpetuating? Dylan Farrow was addressing YOU. If you are unclear on what a letter is — by definition, it begs correspondence, it begs an answer. And yet constantly you default to this evasive non-response: "It's obviously been a long and painful situation for the family," as Blanchett stated. "I hope they find some resolution and peace." It's troubling to see Hollywood greats redefine the conversation as something they feel they can't participate in, when Dylan Farrow is asking you to answer for your complicity. And I would venture to guess that Farrow does not at all consider Woody Allen her family.
And Alec Baldwin, in not so many words, said he is not commenting out of respect. Respect for whom? Who built Woody Allen's ivory tower so tall that he can't come down? I don't give a damn anymore what his art is worth to culture, because Dylan Farrow's human life should be worth more than that. So don't respond to her words by saying, "We can't really know what happened," which less than gently translates to "She could be lying." And don't be silent — by doing so, you are indirectly accusing someone who could be a victim.
So to those actors, actresses, directors, authors, journalists who continue to defend or protect Woody Allen: You have devalued Dylan Farrow, and all women, really. You are telling girls that the consequence for their bravery in raising their voice against their alleged abusers) is suspicion and alienation and devaluation. To you, Hollywood: We women will no longer trust you, and we won't soon forget that you picked art over justice.