Woody Allen's lawyers and friends are quick to argue that the latest round of child abuse accusations against the actor are perfectly timed to destroy what should have been a fruitful awards season. But the real truth is that these allegations, these stories, and Allen's history with young women have been a matter of public record for at least 20 years.
Joe Coscarelli at The Daily Intelligencer undertook the unenviable task of rounding up a history of allegations against the actor as well as his inappropriate behavior with—and references to—young women. Here is a sampling of what he found.
From Jim Jerome's profile of Woody Allen in the October 4, 1976 People Magazine issue:
"I try to have sex only with women I like a lot," Woody explains solemnly. "Otherwise I find it fairly mechanical." (He has little interest in family life: "It's no accomplishment to have or raise kids. Any fool can do it.")
He goes on: "I'm open-minded about sex. I'm not above reproach; if anything, I'm below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him." Allen pauses. "Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone," he ventures helplessly. "I admit to it all."
From the introduction to Maureen Orth's 1992 Vanity Fair article "Mia's Story":
There was an unwritten rule in Mia Farrow's house that Woody Allen was never supposed to be left alone with their seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan.
From the September 21, 1992 New York Magazine article "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Woody and Mia (But Were Afraid to Ask)," acquaintances discuss Allen's behavior toward his daughter:
From the start, Farrow's friends say, Allen seemed "obsessed" by the little girl. He would arrive at Mia's house at six in the morning and sit on the end of Dylan's bed, staring at her until she woke up. He insisted that she be kept up until he got home in the evening to tuck her in. He was reluctant to leave her alone at school. His behavior struck several parents of other children as odd.
From the May 1993 Sun-Sentinel article "Woody Allen, My Pen Pal," writer Nancy Jo Sales discusses her private correspondence with Allen, then 42, when she was a 13-year-old girl. She begins, "The year I was 13, my only friend was a famous man who lived far away and wrote me letters in plain brown envelopes that I told my mother were from "a girl from camp." He wrote:
Hard to believe you're 13! When I was 13 I couldn't dress myself, and here you write about one of life's deepest philosophical problems, i.e., existential boredom. I guess it's hard for me to imagine a 13-year-old quoting anything but Batman — but T. Mann? Anyway, there's too much wrong with the world to ever get too relaxed and happy. The more natural state, and the better one, I think, is one of some anxiety and tension over man`s plight in this mysterious universe ...
Next time you write, if you ever do, please list some of the books you've enjoyed and movies, and which music you've liked, and also the things you dislike and have no patience with. And tell me what kind of place Coral Gables is. What school do you go to? What hobbies do you have? How old are your parents and what do they do? What are your moods like? Are you energetic? Are you an early riser? Are you "into clothes" ... At the moment, I am re- filming some parts of my next film, which have not come out so good.
Sales and Allen also met in person when she was young:
I met Woody only once. I was visiting Manhattan with two older companions on a cold, clammy day, and I had left a note at his building. To my delight he called my hotel 10 minutes later asking me to come over. But at the last minute I became panic-stricken at the thought of seeing Woody Allen in person, knowing that an epistolary relationship is fragile, like a delicate fern that crumples when touched.
My knees shaking, I finally tottered into his penthouse on a pair of too-tall Katharine Hepburn sandals. I remember how pale his skin was behind the trademark glasses, how translucent he looked, like a corpse or an angel. I couldn`t say a word, and my companions filled in the silence with aimless chatter while Woody, wearing his very same clothes from Annie Hall, sat Indian-style in an armchair, nodding politely and trying to catch my eye.
There's also this graphic molestation scene written by Allen in his 2011 play Honeymoon Hotel:
Triggerish, FWIW. Here's a graphic WA joke about child molestation from Honeymoon Motel, a 1-act produced 3 yrs ago: pic.twitter.com/at1Z7DrXxd
— emilynussbaum (@emilynussbaum) February 4, 2014
That being said, an older man playing pen pal to a young girl proves nothing but questionable judgment. The same can be said for a man who, after being accused of molestation, then goes on to makes jokes about the act in his work. However, as Allen defenders take the stage, they seem to be clinging to the belief that these allegations are new and purposely timed. On The View Monday, Barbara Walters argued: "But she's doing it now because he's up for an award, so the question is does your personal life interfere with the award?"
And on Today Tuesday morning, Allen's lawyer Elkin Abramowitz agreed with Walters, stating that these allegations are surfacing because "Woody Allen is now riding high" thanks to the acclaim he's receiving for his latest work Blue Jasmine.
Maybe the lawyers and friends are right; maybe this "brouhaha" is all just a renewed "ploy" timed to destroy Allen's Oscar chances. However, there's also the chance—a very good chance—that because Dylan Farrow has finally shared her own version of the events, a version that seems to correspond to an already-existing record, that people are now just more willing to listen.
[Image via AP]