When the truth about Harvey Weinstein came out, several men in Hollywood came out in support of the women who were sexually assaulted by Weinstein. This included Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo diCaprio, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. But when the mic turned to director and writer Woody Allen, he chose to be peak Woody Allen about it. (Why do people even bother asking him?)
According to a report, Allen said that he felt ‘sad’ for Weinstein and the way the chain of events has turned out for him. Well, classic Allen. For someone who is accused of sexually assaulting his own daughter, Dylan Farrow, a claim he has strongly denied, Allen sure has the nerve to express his sympathy for Weinstein. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is able to though. Allen also mentioned that he felt sad for the victims of Weinstein but what good would that do when he’s enabling the abuser in the same sentence as he’s expressing sympathy for the abused?
He doesn’t stop at that though. He warned against turning the Weinstein case into a ‘witch hunt’. He told the BBC, “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.” It’s ridiculous that we’re having to even say this, but five women (and counting) officially accusing Weinstein of sexual assault is not a witch hunt but a legitimate attempt to put an end to a predator’s history of assault. Equating the fact that his story is encouraging more women to speak up against sexual assault, to a witch hunt dilutes women’s efforts even further and excuses sexually inappropriate behaviour.
He has a lot in common with Weinstein. Both of them have been accused of sexual assault and both have been cashing in on the misogyny Hollywood thrives on. They’ve both collected reaped awards, but not the consequences of standing on the abused and threatened shoulders of assaulted women. In the letter Farrow wrote about Allen, she detailed how difficult it was for her to see Allen gain awards after awards for his movies, knowing how he sexually assaulted and emotionally destroyed her. Now, when I think about how the victims of Weinstein must have felt watching the man who harassed and threatened them receive honourable mentions and awards on stage, my blood boils.
It took an entourage of women to take down Weinstein. But men like Weinstein have walked free of consequence for generations. Weinstein had penned an article in The Independent in 2009, in support of director Roman Polanski, who was convicted for sexually assaulting children. He wrote, “Roman Polanski is a man who cares deeply about his art and its place in this world. What happened to him on his incredible path is filled with tragedy, and most men would have collapsed.” The only tragedy here is that the victims of Polanski and Weinstein had to be silenced with power for years before they found the courage and support to fight against their reign of terror and misconduct.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (that organises the Oscar ceremonies) has already ousted Weinstein from its ranks for his misconduct and harassment. Here’s hoping Allen follows suit. Then they can both be ‘sad’ for each other, together. It’s true what they say about birds of a feather flocking together – Weinstein, Polanski, Allen, Cosby, in their big bad boys club. Here’s hoping they all flock into prison together and stay there.