My Point, Here It Is

[Content Note: Rape culture; rape apologia; racism.]

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about a planned biopic of Mike Tyson and tolerance for some rapists, as long as they're popular blokes, in which I noted: "Woody Allen has stars lining up to be in his pictures."

Allen, whose daughter Dylan Farrow has detailed being sexually assaulted by him, also gets glowing profiles written about him in magazines like the New York Observer that open with revolting paragraphs like this one:
Would it kill you to know that Woody Allen is just like us? He's got two teenage girls who listen to pop music on their iPhones. He's always worried that something bad will happen to them. He exercises every morning but struggles to keep his weight up. (Okay. He's not totally like us.)
The two teenage daughters being referenced there, we are informed seven paragraphs later, are "Bechet, who’s 15, and Manzie, 14."
They're adopted. Each is named for a famous jazz musician. When I met them this past spring at the opening of Mr. Allens's Bullets Over Broadway premiere, they were incredibly normal teenage girls. Does he like having two teenage girls in the house? "No! They're a lot of work. When they hit the teenage years they become more difficult. They're great before then, charming. But they hit the teenage years and they become like Bonnie Parker."
That's a reference to Bonnie and Clyde. Woody Allen is making the joke that his teenage daughters are like a dangerous criminal. Ha ha, he's just like us, being terrorized in his own home by teenage girls.

To recall: Dylan Farrow says Woody Allen sexually abused her in their own home.

Dylan Farrow's allegations are never mentioned anywhere in the piece, and the author, Roger Friedman, is almost belligerent in his avoidance. Toward the end of the piece, he writes:
Earlier this year, in an effort to derail Ms. Blanchett's Oscar campaign, a couple of anonymous complaints turned up in the tabloids about Mr. Allen not using black actors. He's horrified when I bring up the subject.
Note that the complaints were not valid criticisms of an American filmmaker known for making overwhelmingly white movies in one of the country's most ethnically diverse cities, but merely just cynical attempts "to derail [Cate] Blanchett's Oscar campaign."

The piece goes on to allow Allen to make his usual bullshit excuse for not telling stories that include people of color.*

Dylan Farrow's piece was published in the New York Times around the same time. To invoke the criticism about Allen's lily white casting while failing to give even oblique reference to Farrow's account of abuse, especially as Blanchett was named in Farrow's piece as someone who has worked with Allen without regard for what he did to Dylan, reads as a way of saying to those who believe Dylan Farrow: Fuck you. Her account is so incredulous that I wouldn't even credit it with a mention.

And reads as saying the same to Dylan Farrow herself, which is remarkably cruel and sinister, in a piece lionizing her abuser.

Naturally, Allen may have made not mentioning the allegations a requirement of his participation. In which case, agreeing to that while writing glowingly of his relationship with his (other) daughters and reporting how "horrified" he is to be asked to confront criticisms regarding race, as if everything's on the table, is deeply mendacious.
How about his own vulnerability? "I worry not only about me. But that something bad won't happen to three other people. That my wife won't get run over, that my kids won't die in a plane crash. I used to worry about just me and maybe one other person!"
By way of reminder, Allen has other children from his previous relationship with Mia Farrow, at least one of whom, his son Moses, continues to publicly defend him. At he doesn't even make the list of people about whom Allen worries.

Neat guy. "American Master."


* Allen says he will not cast black actors "unless I write a story that requires it. You don't hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I'm deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what's right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part." Note the circular logic: He writes stories that don't include parts that are "correct" for black actors, but it's stupid to imply he's deliberately not hiring black actors, even though he only casts "what's right for the part"—parts that he writes.

That is immediately followed by what essentially boils down to the old "I have black friends" chestnut: Chris Rock appeared in a documentary about him, and bought him a wedding present, and went to dinner with him once. "I'm friendly with Spike Lee. We don't socialize, but I don't socialize with anyone. I don't have white friends either."

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