Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Not in the case of one world-famous pop star. On Jan. 23, Dylan Farrow called out Justin Timberlake in response to an innocuous tweet from the "Filthy" singer, in which he pondered the meaning behind a well-known idiom. "Random question: Can someone please explain the saying, 'You just want your cake and to eat it too,'" he wrote. "What else am I about to do with a cake??" Timberlake then continued in a second tweet, "Also... I prefer pie, I think."
Timberlake's followers responded to his two tweets in a few different ways: Some fans actually tried to explain the saying in a literal fashion, others were quick to point out that he got the wording of the phrase wrong ("have" your cake instead of "want" your cake), and more yet simply found it funny that he was even asking and laughed the whole thing off.
Dylan Farrow, however, was not here for the humor, and instead decided to take the opportunity to teach Timberlake — not about the origin of the idiom in question, per se, but instead about how it applies to his silence about working with director Woody Allen as it relates to the Time's Up movement.
Farrow, Allen's 32-year-old daughter (whom he adopted in 1991 with then-partner, Mia Farrow, who had herself adopted Dylan in 1985) replied directly to Timberlake's tweet, explaining:
The saying means, for example, you can’t support
#TIMESUP and praise sexual predators at the same time. You can’t retain your credibility as an activist (i.e. - retain the cake) and, at the same time, praise a sexual predator (i.e. - eating the cake).
In July 2016, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Timberlake had been cast alongside Juno Temple, Jim Belushi, and Kate Winslet in a new film from Allen. The film, Wonder Wheel, was released in December. Timberlake previously said of working with Allen during an appearance on The Late Show in November, "I will say this, working with Woody Allen was like a dream come true."
The Time's Up Initiative was announced on Jan. 1, and Timberlake championed the movement on Twitter. "No more accepting sexual harassment and inequality at work as normal," he wrote. "It's NOT normal. #TIMESUP timesupnow.com."
In an intended show of Hollywood solidarity, many celebrities (including Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel) showed their support for the movement by dressing in all black and wearing "Time's Up" pins at this year's Golden Globes. Shortly before the show, Timberlake shared a photo of himself and Biel with the caption: "Here we come!! And DAMN, my wife is hot! #TIMESUP #whywewearblack." The singer received almost immediate backlash for this post, with many calling him hypocritical for dressing in black, while also opting to work with Allen.
Allen has long-been a controversial public figure, starting as far back as 1992, when the first allegations that Allen sexually abused Dylan Farrow were published. In 2014, Farrow wrote an open letter to The New York Times, in which she claimed Allen began sexually abusing her when she was just seven years old. Allen, for his part, has denied the allegations in his own letter in the NYT.
Most recently, Farrow gave a statement to BuzzFeed News after the 2018 Golden Globes, wherein she opined about what she sees as the hypocrisy of actors, including Timberlake, who claim to support Time's Up, while also agreeing to star in Allen's films. The 32-year-old told BuzzFeed:
“I fully support women taking a stand, linking arms with other women (and men), advocating on behalf of one another to effect change not only in the entertainment industry but in the world at large. That is an admirable and worthwhile objective, I hope these women change the world. That said, the people who join this movement without taking any kind of personal accountability for the ways in which their own words and decisions have helped to perpetuate the culture they are fighting against, that’s hard for me to reconcile.”
Timberlake, for his part, has yet to address the controversy surrounding Time's Up or his decision to work with the accused director. Bustle reached out to an agent for Timberlake for comment on Farrow's tweet, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.