The #MeToo era has brought down some incredibly powerful and famous predators in what can only be described as a moral accounting that has been a long time coming. Even so, there are still far too many men—many of them credibly accused of all manner of sexual impropriety—operating out in the open, their careers and lifestyles intact.
Director Woody Allen is one such man. He continues to make films and work with the biggest movie stars in the world despite very credible allegations from his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow that he sexually assaulted her as a child. Allen has denied the accusations but to many observers, the evidence seems heavily weighted against him.
During a custody hearing, a judge not only ruled that Allen’s insistence that his ex-partner Mia Farrow had coached Dylan to lie about the sexual assault had no merit but also stated that the director’s behavior towards the child was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”
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Add to this mix that deceased billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein claimed the director as a close friend and the fact that Allen is currently married to Soon Yi-Previn, who was adopted at the age of seven by Mia Farrow, and one can’t help but begin to suspect that Allen is a groomer at best and an unapologetic sexual predator at worst.
With these facts in mind, it’s difficult to overlook the prominent actors and actresses who continue to shield Allen from criticism. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Scarlett Johansson, a frequent collaborator of the director’s, defended his reputation.
When asked how she feels about Allen, Johansson hesitated for a beat before explaining that she still stands by him.
“I love Woody. I believe him, and I would work with him anytime,” she said. “I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about it. I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him,” she went on.
Pressed to explain if she thinks holding such an opinion publicly is advisable given the current #MeToo climate she offered a rather tepid response: “It’s hard because it’s a time where people are very fired up, and understandably. Things needed to be stirred up, and so people have a lot of passion and a lot of strong feelings and are angry, and rightfully so. It’s an intense time.”
While Johansson is of course entitled to her opinion and has her own unique perspective on these issues as a woman, one can’t help but feel that the world’s top-grossing actress (which is what she is) bears a bit more fiduciary responsibility on issues like this.
Johansson cannot know for sure if Allen is guilty or innocent, so at the very least she should refrain from insisting he is the latter, lest she run the risk of inflicting more psychological damage on his alleged victim.
One need only cast a cursory glance at social media to see the backlash her comments have sparked. Hopefully, the response discourages other stars from offering such blanket defenses of Allen.