Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Allen v. Farrow

Purely out of curiosity, I watched the first episode of the new HBO documentary, ALLEN V. FARROW, which is basically the Woody Allen sex abuse allegations.  Apparently I wasn't alone.  It got a huge rating for HBO upon its premier.  

I will not be watching another installment.  I'll be curious to see if the numbers remain high or if most people, like me, say "one and done."  

The documentary makes a very compelling case that Woody Allen acted inappropriately with his young daughter.  But I don't want to watch it.  The whole thing is just so creepy.  And weird.

God knows what quirks and fetishes he has.  Allen has been able to live a charmed life pretty much doing whatever he's wanted.  We know he married his stepdaughter and that Mia Farrow found nude photos of her in Allen's apartment.  But Mia is also supposed to be rather whacko.  

The documentary portrays her as this loving mother tending to the needs of all these adopted and birth children.  Other accounts by some of the kids say it was a nightmare.  

But as I was watching the first episode, filled with home movies and endless shots of Mia's Connecticut home, I thought to myself: Why do I care?  It's sad, he probably did it, maybe now more will come to light, but why I do need to devote hours and hours to see this?   I wanted to shower after the first episode.  For the photo for this post I didn't even want to show their faces. 

These celebrity expose documentaries seem to be the rage.   There was lots of buzz on the Michael Jackson bizarre sordid story.  But does anything change as a result?   Michael Jackson songs are still selling and still on the radio.  Woody Allen movies are still going to air on TCM.  Will this derail Allen's directing career?  The man is 85.  How many more movies is he going to make?   And for all the rumors, bad press, and scandals, Woody Allen has still managed to find backers and make his movies uninterrupted.   So unless he goes to prison, what's the point?  Other than ratings.  And appealing to our more lascivious nature.  

So for me, not only will I not watch any subsequent episodes, I'm mad at myself for even watching the first one.   Yuch! 


Anonymous said...

According to their website, HBO is planning a musical, Mama Mia, in order to cash in. Former Bond Pierce Brosnan will play Allen and sing "Does Your Mother Know?" at a Jazz club.

Tommy Raiko said...

"We know [Woody Allen] married his stepdaughter..."

As some who follow the Woody Allen situation would point out, it may not be exactly accurate to call Soon-Yi Previn Allen's stepdaughter. Previn is the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and André Previn. Although Allen was Farrow's boyfriend for many years, they never married and Allen never adopted Soon-Yi Previn, so stepfather/stepdaughter might not be the right way to describe the two of them.

Does that matter? Maybe or maybe not. Depends on how important it is to parse all the connotations that come with the term "stepdaughter."

Regardless, one might argue that Allen nonetheless had a fatherly role in Previn's life. And one might certainly believe that having a romantic relationship with someone 35 years younger is icky, regardless of what familial bonds may or may not exist.

stephanie said...

You might want to watch "By the way, Woody Allen is innocent". I found it on YouTube. I believe him, not Mia Farrow for several reasons, not the least is that child molesters usually have a history of this stuff, he never lived in the house with Farrow and Soon Yi Previn (the daughter she adopted with Andre Previn) and Allen was in the midst of a nasty custody battle with Farrow when this allegation came out. The allegation was thoroughly investigated and found to be untrue.

Troy McClure said...

After watching the second episode, I can say Allen is completely finished. His most recent film, Rifkin's Festival, was funded entirely in Europe. I can't imagine anyone backing him after this.

I had previously sat on the fence regarding the allegations, always going back to the fact he was never charged. But one thing I learned from the first episode that I wasn't aware of is that as far back as 1990, long before the allegations and the Soon-Yi affair, concerns were raised about the intensity of his behavior towards Dylan and he agreed to see a therapist about it. The therapist later recommended Allen be supervised when he's around her. This wasn't something created after the fact. I also understand that the third episode will detail how the report that supposedly exonerated him was written by individuals who never met with Dylan and all their notes were destroyed before anyone could view them.

Yes, Farrow is a crank. But as someone on twitter said, both things can be true. That Farrow was a nightmare and Allen was guilty.

Bryan said...

I read an article/interview with another child, Moses who says that Mia planted these memories with Dylan. He said that she was relentless. A woman scorned. And if Ronan Farrow is not Frank Sinatra's son I'll eat my hat...

Troy McClure said...

Tommy, a better description that would put the gravity of his behavior into perspective is this:

A 56 year old man has affair with his long term girlfriend's 21 year old adopted daughter.

Gross and grody.

VincentS said...

I think you answered your own question, Ken. In TV there is no "other" than ratings. Ask a recent occupant of the White House.

Honest Ed said...

@ Troy...

On the surface,

'A 56 year old man has affair with his long term girlfriend's 21 year old adopted daughter.'

On the surface, yes - but surely if they're still together after nearly 30 years we have to acknowledge it is a genuine relationship, not a dirty old man getting his jollies.

Also, the therapist thing has been known for a while. As has the first investigation never meeting Dylan. So these aren't really revelations. However, there is the second more thorough investigation, by the City of New York, which spoke to everyone. And also exonerated Allen. And then the city allowed him to adopt kids, which suggests they didn't have any qualms about him.

FWIW, it always strikes me as remarkable that there are so many people with such entrenched opinions on this given that none of us knows the truth. So much of it seems to boil down to not liking Allen or inferring that someone who'd get involved with his girlfriend's adult daughter, which is dodgy, would abuse a young kid. Which is a nonsense. Only three people, maybe even only two, know the truth about this.

But, I have to say, if a mother would joke about her son's paternity - as Farrow appears to have done - to hurt her ex, that strikes me as a red flag.

Danny said...

Hmmmmm. A celebrity-oriented post about something sleazy and lurid. That probably means there'll be three hundred comments here by noon.

I have to agree with Mark Evanier about this topic and will quote him: Let me know if and when anyone ever makes a documentary about this and interviews Moses Farrow or anyone who will really give Woody's side of it.

normadesmond said...

Years ago I read Mia's memoir. Sounded sensible, made sense. We all know that Woody (in his movies) desired young girls. He told us relentlessly. Last year I read Woody's memoir. Again, sounded sensible, I believed him. (It was also very funny)

Woody humiliated Mia in the most public way. She became fixated on humiliating him.

Mia "suggesting" that Ronan is Sinatra's was revolting. If anyone thought they were a Sinatra, I'm sure Nancy & Tina would want
that person DNA-ed and if he WAS related, we'd have a whole other layer of celebrity.

Woody and Mia are both strange people who had money to indulge their strangeness. Bad combo.
(See Michael Jackson).

Mike Barer said...

No, thank you!

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Allen has long been my favorite director, and "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) are two wonderful films. But there's a segment of Allen's 1972 "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But We're Afraid to Ask)"--an otherwise hilarious movie--that in retrospect is cringe-worthy.

In a parody of "What's My Line?" called "What's My Perversion?," a panelist--Regis Philbin as himself--asks a contestant if he is a child molester.

Max said...

Agreed. After watching this, it's hard for me to believe that any allegations persist.

Jeff Boice said...

Not interested in the documentary. Nor am I interested in seeing any Woody Allen movie- old or new.

Someone once wrote about the fears of divorced and single women with daughters- mainly that they'll meet a man their age who seems good, but then he takes a look at the teenaged daughter and thinks "why mess around with something that's used with lots of mileage when there's this brand new model right here for the taking.

The only punishment Woody suffered is that he totally destroyed his fanbase (which I believe was disproportionately female) by leaving Mia for Soon Yi. Which may be punishment enough.

Max said...

I concur with the person who recommended that you watch the Youtube documentary BY THE WAY, WOODY ALLEN IS INNOCENT. Point by point, the film invalidates every claim made against Allen both by his accusers and in the media. I had doubts before, but not anymore. Allen has been wrongly accused and blacklisted as a result, from charges against him that were investigated by police and psychiatrists in two different states, and dismissed both times.
Watching it, it made me wonder why Allen's defenders are so, I don't know, namby pamby about defending him. I think part of it is because of the fear that speaking out FOR him might make it look like they're speaking out against ANY victim of abuse, etc.
Allen seems to feel that he's taking the high road, and it's admirable, but the result is that his work doesn't get seen in the USA and he's seen as persona non gratis or worse.
It's sad in and of itself, but another valuable point the documentary makes is how these things are "tried in the media," particularly social media. As in: the courts dismissed the charges, and the people who disliked Allen didn't like that decision, so they took their case to the people via TV and social media, and basically conducted a de facto blacklisting. Justice was supposedly already served, yet most people don't even know the facts of the dismissed cases or exhaustive investigations which vindicated Allen. They only know what they've seen on TV and on Twitter.
The whole thing makes me feel averse to media.

Michael said...

There is an old clip of Martin Short as Jiminy Glick interviewing Mel Brooks on Youtube that includes an exchange that inadvertently explains why Allen and Michael Jackson continued to get work. He asks Mel Brooks 'do you think Michael Jackson is cuckoo?' Brooks responds 'no, I think he is a wonderful beautiful person' Short then says 'oh, so you are in business with him'. A lot of things get ignored when there is money to be made.

Daniel said...

Two separate state agencies (in Connecticut and New York), after year-long investigations, both independently from one another found no evidence that any abuse had occurred. Despite the protestations of Ronan Farrow, no new evidence has come forward.

Mia Farrow lied about the paternity of Ronan (she had an affair with her ex-husband, Frank Sinatra) and got the courts to mandate that Allen pay child support for a child that she knew was not his.

Moses Allen has said that Farrow coached the kids to say that Woody was an abuser.

Why people keep bringing up this case is baffling. It was resolved. Nothing new has come forward. And Woody Allen having an affair with a 21-year-old woman (who was not his stepdaughter), may be morally questionable, but it is not illegal and it has no connection to the accusations made by his daughter.

There's one liar in this situation and it's Mia Farrow.

myrna said...

I was wavering, but I watched the second episode. And there was an explanation by Mia about why she chose to adopt all those kids and be the mother of a large family. Goes back to her Irish family background and her childhood bout with polio. There was more detailed info from credible-ish witnesses about Woody's behavior with young Dylan. And there was background info about Soon Yi- she'd been abandoned by her mother in a department store in Korea- told to wait and Mama would be back; but Mama never came back.

Mike Doran said...

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were two of my special heroes in the movies, both on and off the screen, and now I am going to lose one of them, and perhaps both.

Roger Ebert wrote the above words in 1992, when The Scandal first broke.
The whole thing hit him hard: Roger was a major Woody Allen advocate from the beginning, and became more solidly so during the Mia Farrow period.
Ebert and Allen became about as close as Allen would permit any press person to be; you can find many of their one-on-ones at Ebert's website.

I spent much of this morning reading these accounts of the Allen-Ebert friendship, which began to peter out toward the end of Roger's life (probably because of Roger's health issues).

But the one I think everyone here ought to see is the one I quoted above:
Woody & Mia: The Scandal.
I'd link to it, if I had the slightest idea how; just go to Roger and enter Woody Allen in the search box.
And if you do look it up - be sure to read it all the way through (and remember that it was written 29 years ago).

*I wonder if Dick Cavett has said anything about the HBO show yet ...*

Anonymous said...

>>>> But there's a segment of Allen's 1972 "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But We're Afraid to Ask)"--an otherwise hilarious movie--that in retrospect is cringe-worthy.

In a parody of "What's My Line?" called "What's My Perversion?," a panelist--Regis Philbin as himself--asks a contestant if he is a child molester. <<<<

-- Kevin FitzMaurice.

Hmm. Well, the segment you refer to was called what's my * perversion * as in, Allen thinks child molestation a perversion, at least. Or, do you mean that Allen is projecting a guilty conscience?

A couple others: Manhattan, of course, and the Hemingway character. In Annie Hall, the line: "Lyndon Johnson's a politician! That's like a notch below child molester!"
In Hannah, isn't there a line where Allen, at work, is told that a sketch he wanted on his TV show, about child molestation, has been nixed by S&P, and he responds: "Read the papers. Half the country's doing it." ?

I don't know, those examples come to mind. They may or may not mean anything. It's a sad situation all around.

Roger Owen Green said...

Mike Doran: Here it is - Woody and Mia: The Scandal

Jahn Ghalt said...

Back while the Woods-Nodgren divorce suit was still active, my sis gave me three glossy gossip rags - all with Woods on the front cover.

By the third one, I too wanted to take a shower.

Anonymous said...

The defense of Woody Allen seems to be "well, he probably didn't molest Dylan and he wasn't convicted in court"
Hardly a ringing endorsement when you consider the totality of the situation (pornographic pictures of his girlfriends daughter?).
And Mia is almost certainly a little "off" but that too is hardly an exoneration of Woody.

"Twins, Max, 16 year-old twins. imagine the possibilities."

Jahn Ghalt said...

In the nineties, Harvard was alleged to have issued "rules" for professors and coeds.

I response, then Senator, and former Harvard Professor, Patrick Moynihan publically stated something like:

"HMMMM - perhaps I should apologize to MY WIFE"

Anonymous said...

A question for Friday.

The current guest host of JEOPARDY is described as the Executive Producer of the show. To me, an exec. producer assembles the elements of a production--line producers, writers, directors, financing--then just lets the show run until there's a real big-picture problem. So what does an exec. producer on a game show do day-to-day? The show is rigidly formatted. Only the questions and the contestants change and those items are probably handled by the showrunner. So how does a
Mike Richards fill his time?


E. Yarber said...

There's a long skeptical look at this miniseries in today's Guardian:

Sinatra biographer James Kaplan dismissed the Ronan Farrow paternity charges in his 2015 book, citing daughter Tina's claim that Frank had a vasectomy years before 1987 and debunking Mia's claim that Sinatra "possibly" sired her son by noting he "was in Hawaii and Palm Springs all the while, wearing a colostomy bag and close by his ever-watchful wife."

Kaplan earlier notes that Farrow "neglects to mention that her late (high foreheaded, blue-eyed) father bore more than a passing resemblance to Frank Sinatra," and suggests Ronan's looks may be a carryover from his maternal grandfather John Farrow.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I'm more worried about the Dr. Seuss scandal.

As for Woody's career, I stopped watching his movies not because of his personal life, but because most of his recent ones haven't been very good. But as long as the nation stays in its current "guilty until proven innocent" mind set he's tainted for life. It doesn't matter what the truth really is.


Call Me Mike said...

Glancing at the title, I thought it said ALIEN VS FARROW and began wondering how Mia would handle those pesky space monsters.

"Whoever wins, we lose."

Honest Ed said...

He liked notably young girls in one movie. And even then that movie acknowledged it could be damaging. If his movies are a guide you'd conclude he really likes women closer to his own age, like Keaton and, errrr..., Farrow. And Manhattan is one of those movies.

Troy McClure said...

By the way, don't forget that, according to QAnon followers, tomorrow will be the real inauguration of the "real" president. Hilarious.

I just hope there's enough police this time in case there's another redneck rampage.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I tend to take the view that the molestation allegations do not make sense as a practical matter (the logistics, the unlikelihood of his picking that particular moment for his one and only outing as an abuser). His movies and his papers have many instances of older men and teenagers, but none fantasize about non-consensual relationships or under-age girls. And, as others have said, Soon-Yi Previn was not his daughter, adopted, step, or otherwise. This "documentary" is very one-sided with its facts and sympathies. Allen has genuinely been the writer of many terrific parts for women - even women over 40 - and his crews and production team have been filled with women without a single complaint in the 50 years he's been making movies.

BUT there is no getting around the fact that he began an affair with his *children's sister*, appeared to lack all consciousness of what it meant to *them*, whom he said he loved, and took no care to handle the situation so as to minimize the damage. That trope, too, is in his movies - in CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS the Woody Allen character mulls over starting an affair with another woman (Mia Farrow's character) while married to Joanna Gleason. He discusses it with his ten-year-old niece without any nod to the fact that the niece might be upset by the fact that Gleason's character is her *aunt*, whose welfare she might care about.

That is an extraordinary level of narcissism and self-absorption, and I don't think there's any getting around it. However, it's not illegal, and it doesn't make him a sexual abuser, which is why he still gets to make his movies, if he can raise the money to do so. William Goldman wrote about Allen's "quaint" scrupulousness about bringing every move in on time and under budget, and that's a large part of why he's been able to work, uniquely, the way he has.

I still like the movies of his that I liked long ago. But something went out of his filmmaking after the scandal (possibly that he is no longer dating his leading ladies?), and I haven't seen any of his new titles now in years. I tried the beginning of RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK and just didn't care whether I saw the rest, so I guess it's going to stay that way. But I still love a bunch of his 1975-1990 titles, including MANHATTAN, and I probably always will, even while recognizing the terribly convenient-male-fantasy way that Mariel Hemingway's 17yo is the aggressor to Woody Allen's 42-year-old.


thomas tucker said...

@Mike Bloodworth: watch Midnight in Paris. It's excellent.

Anonymous said...

My God! I come here in search of informed and erudite discourse on topics like who was the better Darin on Bewitched (Dick York), in what season did Klinger stop wearing dresses (season 6), and which ocean did Ted Danson save (Pacific), and what do I get? Woody Allen's salacious sex life, Frank Sinatra wearing a colostomy bag, Mia Farrow's child-rearing skills. I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that there's gambling going on in here. I don't want to high jack the comment section but please, people, can't we at least talk about why Norman Lear wore the fucking Gilligan hat for 43 years?

Rick Whelan said...

"When all the laughter died sorrow."

normadesmond said...

To the good old days when Mayer, Cohn, Zanuck, et al, saved us from all this shit & kept us blissfully unaware.

Todd Everett said...

A contrarian but hard to argue review

One of those hard questions, which Ziering and Dick work very hard not to answer, could be: is it really reasonable to mention Allen alongside Cosby – and Jackson, Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and other celebrity predators – when the latter have all been charged or convicted of multiple crimes going back decades, and Allen was accused of one incident and not only never convicted but never even charged, and there has never been a hint of scandal around him since? Given how much sterling work Ronan has done in exposing Weinstein and other compulsive predators, you’d think he might ask himself that question, but apparently not. Ziering and Dick seem similarly certain of their case, but it’s hard to believe they have so much faith in it when they omit so many relevant details.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

There are so many things wrong about American culture, it's a bottomless pit.

But to stay on point, we have to stop getting obsessed with salacious gossip about celebrities' lives. Seriously. I mean Woody Allen may be a sleaze or an asshole, but I simply don't care. He didn't commit any crime, or really any moral infraction.

You could walk around your neighborhood and find a dozen people who have done far worse, I promise you. I'm sick of crawling up famous peoples' asses just because it makes for ratings.

Anonymous said...

@Ere I Saw Elba

"He didn't really commit any moral infraction."

that would depend on how you define "moral infraction" and some the stuff independent of Dylan would qualify in most peoples' books.

Todd Everett said...

Must've got the HTML wrone in the above link. Here's the hard way (it's from The Guardian)

Tony Lacey said...

I liked Woody Allen back when his molestation was funnier.

Mia Farrow was a more centered, more believable mother figure in "Rosemary's Baby."

Alan Light said...

We are talking about a writer/director who has been making films for 50 years and has never once received a complaint about inappropriate behavior among his colleagues.

Conflating having a sexual relationship with an adult woman with molesting a 7-year-old girl has been Mia Farrow’s modus operandi from the day she discovered the betrayal. To me the question about Dylan was never "Was she abused?" The question to me has always been abused by which parent? It’s more probable that Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow, has been psychologically abusing her since she was 7.

Do yourself a favor and read “A Son Speaks Out,” by Mia’s son Moses Farrow, in defense of Woody Allen

Also good reading is Robert Weide's essay "The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast" over at the Daily Beast.

Anonymous said...

"So unless he goes to prison, what's the point?"

Your commentariat would seem to answer that question. Look at how many of them are bending over backward to defend/excuse Allen. I'd pretty much bet money that every single one of the people defending Allen here would NOT be as understanding if we were talking about a 56-year-old Republican politician and his 21-year-old wife. I'm pretty sure the term "child bride" would come up at some point.

And hell, they're not even making excuses for something as important as politics but because a guy made some movies they liked.

And I can't believe anyone would bring up the "has never once received a complaint about inappropriate behavior among his colleagues" defense regarding an industry that lionized statutory rapist Roman Polanski for decades.

JessyS said...

Just an aside, The Simpsons did do a take on the Woody Allen vs Mia Farrow situation. It was in the form of a TV movie and with Krusty as Woody. The scene had him telling his 20 kids that he and Mia were getting a divorce. In other words, that is all you really need to know about this situation.

Harry Brent said...

The jig is up, comrades. Guess we better lionize Dennis Hastert and Jim Jordon to show Anonymous we're on the right side, and of course he didn't bring up Trump and Epstein.

Troy McClure said...

Wait. There was no real inauguration? I'm shocked. Those QAnon folks seem such smart, smart people.

Honest Ed said...

'I'd pretty much bet money that every single one of the people defending Allen here would NOT be as understanding if we were talking about a 56-year-old Republican politician and his 21-year-old wife.'

And I'd bet that you're wrong.

mrdiscopop said...

You ask “does anything change as a result” of these documentaries. Often, no... but in the case of Surviving R Kelly, it led to multiple charges in several states, for which he’s still awaiting trial.

Jeff Maxwell said...

Obviously, if the allegations are true, Woody or any man or woman is a monster.

My observation of the documentary is the interviews seemed scripted, designed and performed. I didn’t see or hear the gut-wrenching terror or horror of a real experience from anyone.

My understanding is Woody Allen passed a lie detector test. Mia Farrow refused to take one.

The only judgement we can make is based on how we feel watching such a movie. And I had a gut level distrust of what I saw.

It’s sad that the incredible work from these two artists, Woody and Mia, will forever be defined by this issue.

E. Yarber said...

I worked with a filmmaker who used to see Allen and Soon-Yi walking their baby carriage past the set every day.

After a quarter-century, you either have to dehumanize her to a brainless toy who hasn't yet screamed how horribly she's been used and confine Allen to a relentless predator who has inexplicably stopped prowling, or just accept that they found a life partner in one another, age difference part of the picture. No matter what else has been claimed, their relationship seems to be steady,

Boswell said...

The comment above that questions the importance of celebrity's private lives has it right. This is like choosing to eat junk food when there's so many more nourishing choices out there. YES our communities and families are full of people who have done MUCH WORSE or equally morally-questionable actions. That Allen hasn't been charged and is still with his mate and hasn't necessarily shown a habit of a certain type of behaviour (with an asterix beside Dylan) puts it into its proper context of importance in my life: the quality of Allen's movies trump and overshadow the importance and heft of his sexual and private habits. Oh, and by the way, most of our heroes are flawed and wanting as private citizens. Are we made of sugar? Allen's movies are more important than any weaknesses he has as a person. That goes for everyone all the time. Period. Great Art is more important than reputation.