In an essay entitled “Don’t Express Doubt About Woody Allen’s Guilt, or These Columnists Will Condemn You,” Eric Sasson says of those who have defended Allen in the wake of allegations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in the 1990s resurfacing: “There is nothing terribly surprising about a journalist expressing this kind of uncertainty. It is, after all, our jobs to question, to investigate, to form opinions about what we find while still retaining a healthy degree of curiosity, and even doubt, regarding the subjects we write about.”
No, but the same can be said of opinion writers giving their opinions. From the title alone of Sasson’s piece, there’s an employment of victimization here to help deflect those people criticized from being held culpable for their words and actions. Make no mistake, though. If there is any victim in this situation, it’s not anyone writing an essay about it.
To Sasson’s point about the role of a journalist, I’d like to think that media professionals and outlets would know by now how difficult the culture makes it for alleged victims of abuse to speak out and act accordingly. As in, while you’re more than welcome to maintain some nominal level of doubt, there ought to be something inside of you that says, “I shouldn’t put a woman’s firsthand account of her alleged abuse on the same playing field as a wordy defense from a man who has a financial interest in making sure Woody Allen’s reputation isn’t any more soiled than it already is.”
The Daily Beast was well within its right to publish Robert B. Weide’s piece “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast,” though as problematic as the essay was, equally troubling was how many journalists rushed to lend credence to it. Sure, Weide “got the facts straight” in that he made sure to pinpoint that Allen was never technically married to Mia Farrow, but he nonetheless was her longtime partner and started a relationship with her when she was still a teenager. More, Weide swears he doesn’t hate Mia – he even follows her on Twitter! – but goes out of his way to highlight her sexual indiscretions as a means to delegitimize the potential rape of her child.
Weide is a jerk with an agenda and dressing up bad sentiments with nice phrasing doesn’t alter that. These “journalists” are stressing their “impartiality” under the guise of “just doing the job,” but to the rest of us, you’re fishing for reasons to incite doubt in the words of the alleged victim in order to continue luxuriating in your own biases without challenge.
The same goes for Barbara Walters after she noted on The View: “I have rarely seen a father as sensitive, as loving and as caring as Woody is and Soon-Yi to these two girls I don’t know about Dylan. I can only tell you what I have seen now.”
What Walters has seen has no bearing on what’s being alleged. I mean, what did you expect, Barbara? For Woody Allen to start molesting children right in front of you? Would that have made it better? Apparently not, as she discounted Woody’s statutory rapey relationship with Soon-Yi because it was “mutual.”
She goes on to echo a talking point from many of Allen’s apologists: That Dylan Farrow is only bringing up the allegations now to soil Woody Allen’s Oscar campaign. Even if it that were the case, so what? There is never a wrong time to out a pedophile. This complaint is akin to the “Why you bringing up old sh*t?” lodged at the Village Voice over its revisiting of R. Kelly’s past allegations of molestation.
Read the rest at EBONY.