Dylan Farrow, daughter of Woody Allen, has told (and re-told and re-told) the story of how her father sexually abused her as a child. In an open letter to Woody Allen published in the New York Times in 2014, Farrow described in detail how, when she was seven years old, her father led her up to an attic in the house they lived in and proceeded to sexually assault her. On December 7, Farrow published an op-ed in in the Los Angeles Times, powerfully titled "Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?" In it, she again describes how her father sexually abused her.
In the piece, Farrow firmly and ferociously calls on people in Hollywood to quit their hypocrisy and their selectivity when it comes to holding sexual predators accountable for their actions. She points out that many celebrities will call out some abusers, like Harvey Weinstein, but continue to keep others, like Woody Allen, steadily employed and rewarded. “But the revolution has been selective,” Farrow writes, mentioning actresses including Kate Winslet, Blake Lively and Greta Gerwig —all who have recently worked with Allen, all who have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein and raised their voices in the on-going #MeToo movement, and all who have ignored the allegations against Allen when being asked about them. They have often ended up applauding him as a director and a writer, instead.
The ongoing success of careers like Allen’s is not just because of the power these men have, Farrow writes, but also the result of a pattern upheld by an entire industry, which makes execptions for Allen (and other powerful sexual predators still frequently employed such as Mel Gibson), in spite of Farrow (and many people surrounding her, including her brother Ronan Farrow and her babysitter at the time) talking openly about Allen’s sexual assault on numerous occasions. Farrow writes:
The truth is hard to deny but easy to ignore. It breaks my heart when women and men I admire work with Allen, then refuse to answer questions about it. It meant the world to me when Ellen Page said she regretted working with Allen, and when actresses Jessica Chastain and Susan Sarandon told the world why they never would.
It isn't just power that allows men accused of sexual abuse to keep their careers and their secrets. It is also our collective choice to see simple situations as complicated and obvious conclusions as a matter of "who can say"? The system worked for Harvey Weinstein for decades. It works for Woody Allen still.
Farrow is right: The system is still working at full-force for many famous, and non-famous but equally predatory men in less talked-about industries. And like Farrow, we need to listen to survivors' stories and hold these men accountable.
Top photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Raffi Asdourian
Amanda Brohman is a 23-year old editorial intern at BUST, a freelance writer, blogger and fashion journalism student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She loves everything that glitters, taking long walks in and around her SoHo neighborhood, and drinking Chardonnay on her fire escape at midnight whilst listening to Halsey.