Once multiple allegations of sexual assault against the likes of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein were made public, Dylan Farrow and several others asked why Hollywood seemingly ignored Farrow's allegations against Woody Allen. For the better part of two decades, Farrow has alleged that Allen sexually molested her during her childhood when Allen was married to Dylan’s mother Mia Farrow. Allen has maintained his innocence, often citing a report by the Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Sex Abuse Clinic concluding no abuse took place.
In a New York Times op-ed piece entitled “The Smearing of Woody Allen,” Bret Stephens takes issue with Allen being compared to Weinstein and Spacey after several actors recently distanced themselves from Allen.
“But if Farrow wants an answer to her question, it’s because we know that the charges #MeToo has leveled against men such as Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey are almost certainly true,” Stephens wrote. “The reason they have not been spared is because they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The facts, not the allegations, prove it.”
Stephens’ piece drew a direct response from Farrow via a series of tweets. Farrow pointed out multiple flaws in the Yale-New Have report, one of which is that team members destroyed their individual notes before issuing the report. Since large portions of the report were made public in 2014, it has also been made public that no psychologists or psychiatrists were on the panel, and the members behind the report refused to testify to the report’s validity in court.
“To presume I invented this story & convinced myself of it is no less insulting than calling me a liar,” Farrow wrote, while tweeting about Stephens’ piece. “I’ve consistently stated the truth for 25 years, I won’t stop now. It’s Stephens’ right to doubt me if he so chooses but his incredulity doesn’t change what happened that day.”
The type of equivocation and “mansplaning” that often prevents useful dialogue on sexual assault is also present in Stephens’ piece.
“If Allen is in fact a pedophile, he appears to have acted on his evil fantasies exactly once,” Stephens wrote. “Compare that to Larry Nassar’s 265 identified victims.”
As with any case of opinionated writing, a reader can never assume the motives behind certain passages. But it seems particularly troubling for a writer to publish that an alleged pedophile may have acted on such impulses “exactly once,” with the implication being that some quota needed to be met to determine guilt.
You can read Stephens’ full op-ed via the New York Times.