There was an interesting occurrence in Hollywood this week.
Actor Scarlett Johansson, stood up for actor/director Woody Allen, who has been accused of sexual abuse and said simply “I Believe Him.”
Woody Allen has become somewhat of a pariah in Hollywood ever since his now grown adopted daughter Dylan Farrow accused him of sexually abusing her when she was a child. Allen has consistently maintained his innocence and even after an investigation, has never been criminally charged with any sexual abuse. And yet, many actors including Colin Firth, Freida Pinto, Michael Caine and Mira Sorvino just to name a few, now express regret over ever having worked with Allen, all because of an unfounded accusation. For all intents and purposes, Woody Allen is the same man these actors worked with in the past without issues. An unfounded accusation of sexual abuse and suddenly his peers “throw him under the bus”, shunning and distancing themselves from him.
Recently a sixty-eight million dollar breach of contract lawsuit was filed by Allen against Amazon Studios for ending a multifilm deal and scrapping the release of his latest movie, A Rainy Day in New York. Allen alleges Amazon “has tried to excuse it’s action by referencing the twenty-five year old baseless accusation against him even though that allegation was already well-known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with him.”
So here we have a man accused of sexual abuse who’s never been criminally charged of any abuse but Hollywood has already taken sides, forcing Woody Allen out into the nether regions of Hollywood. A pariah in his acting/directing field.
Should we blame this new kind of shunning on organizations such as the #MeToo Movement and the TimesUp Movement? Is their admirable mission to hold those guilty of sexual abuse accountable for their actions, instead, fostering and encouraging the new “guilty until proven innocent” attitude? Are they willing to be held accountable for ruined careers and reputations if the accusations they back are found to be false?
Scarlett Johansson says she will continue to work with Woody Allen. He was instrumental in boosting her career, helping her become an A-list actor in films such as Match Point and Vicki Cristina Barcelona. She herself has been active in support of women’s issues and was an early supporter of the TimesUp Movement.
Johansson reports she has had some very direct conversations with Allen regarding the accusations against him and according to Johansson, she believes in his innocence.
So why are there so many others in Hollywood who don’t believe in Allen’s innocence? Why are they so willing to side with the accuser and cast out the accused? Perhaps it’s just a “sheeple mentality”. Maybe it’s just “safer” to side with the rest of the flock rather than to stand alone, voice a different opinion and take the chance that your peers might banish you too.
There are a few others like Johansson, Megan McCain and several other co-hosts of TV’s, The View, that have voiced their support of Allen. Actor Alec Baldwin has voiced his sense of “sadness and unfairness” about those who are distancing themselves from Allen when he has been cleared of the abuse accusations in forensic investigations in both NY and CT.
When Scarlett Johansson announced her belief in Allen, Dylan Farrow was quick to respond with this caustic comment “If we’ve learned anything from the past 2 years it’s that you definitely should believe male predators who maintain their innocence without question.” “Scarlett has a long way to go in understanding the issue she claims to champion.”
Granted, in the past, justice may have been blind in many cases of sexual abuse, but we know now that all those accused of sex offenses are not predators, they are not all male and that some of those accused actually turn out to have been falsely accused.
A claim of sexual abuse and a claim of innocence, who’s to say who is telling the truth?
As for Scarlett Johansson, we’ll have to wait and see if she will be forced out of Hollywood, becoming “a pariah by association” for believing the accused rather than the accuser.
And as for Woody Allen, he maintains he doesn’t really care if he ever works in Hollywood again, his films are mostly based out of NY and always will be. But this whole situation should still concern all of us, we’re talking about a man’s career, his reputation, being dragged thru the mud even after he has been found innocent. He could be anyone of us.
Woody Allen has become a pariah in Hollywood not because of the accusation against him, that was unfounded, but seemingly because of the peer pressure by causes or movements that want us to assume without question that every accusation of sexual abuse is the truth.
I wonder how many of Woody’s acting peers bothered to talk with him like Johansson did “before” they caved to peer pressure and sided against him?