Sunday, February 9, 2014

Questioning Motives In the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen Case

I remember as a kid, seeing Woody Allen and having an adverse reaction. Don’t ask me why, as I was much too young to see any of his movies and these were the days where the only place to see movies like his were in the movie theaters. But, I remember that if I saw his face on a magazine or on television, I always just felt this immediate feeling of “yuck”.

As a teenager, I did try to watch a couple of his movies. I never could get through more than twenty minutes. I just never felt good watching them. I just told myself that I wasn’t a fan. But, I always remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought I was weird to have such feelings.

I was a young newlywed when the news of Mr. Allen’s “affair” with Soon-Yi Previn broke. Ms. Previn and I are around the same age, with myself being a couple of years older. I remember thinking, “Wow, my gut was right. Eeeew.” But, at the age of 23, I was more interested in my new husband and starting our new life.

A few months later, the story about Dylan broke. I again remember reading about it and going, “Oh, wow. He is sicker than I thought.” But, again, being young and frivolous, I paid the cursory attention, read about it in People Magazine, saw the news, heard the banter. But nothing beyond that. But, in all the years I have only watched one Woody Allen movie. “Match Point” was a brilliant film and I adore Jonathan Rhys Meyers but, again, I still didn’t feel good about watching it. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any of his other movies. Even John Cusack couldn't entice me to watch "Bullets Over Broadway" or "Shadows And Fog".  And I love John Cusack! It wasn't that Woody Allen just isn’t my taste. I have several filmmakers that I just don’t care for. Their movies never made me feel uncomfortable for just watching them.

But now, I am forty-five years old. I have a daughter who was the same age as Ms. Previn. And there is a thing that did not exist back in 1992. The Internet.

When Dylan Farrow’s letter came out last Sunday, it really gave me a shock. I had read about Ronan’s and Mia Farrow’s Twitters. But, reading Dylan’s letter really moved me. But, then I was repulsed by the outpouring of hate and anger being heaped onto this young woman by legions of Woody Allen fans and Male Rights Advocates, who were hammering her with even more abuse. Then, I found the Daily Beast article from January, written by Woody Allen’s documentarian, Robert Weide. Weide, who was seemingly upset by the October 2013 article written by Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair. That piece, which was an update from her previous piece that was written in 1992, which had covered the Allen-Farrow child custody trial and child molestation case The Weide article was a hit piece on Mia Farrow, masquerading as an impartial look at the facts. The Weide piece was being passed around by Allen fans like it was the Testament of Robert Weide in the Holy Book of Woody Allen. Every time anyone wrote anything in support of Dylan Farrow, this article was linked. I am sure the hits are in the millions on the Daily Beast for this article.

When I read the Weide piece, along with Ms. Orth article (Ms. Orth is a prize-winning investigative journalist and widow of NBC’s Tim Russert), I decided to do my own research. I never take someone’s word and I always like to get more than one source or a source that is impeachable. So, I sat down with my favorite research partner, Google (and few of my other little search friends that I use), and I proceeded to read. And I read. And I found the original ruling by Judge Wilk. That was my first long read. I then found a great piece written by investigative reporter Andy Thibault, who worked for a local Litchfield, CT paper at the time and is now currently with Connecticut Magazine. He did a piece on the molestation case and State’s Attorney Frank Maco. That, too, was a major eye opener. I also found many articles from the time from the New York Times, the LA Times, the Orlando Sentinel, People Magazine and other sources that had chronicled the story. And I compared them to both the Weide piece and the Orth piece. Take a wild guess who’s piece stood up to fact check? Here’s a huge hint… wasn’t Mr. Weide’s. And I managed to do all this in under twenty-four hours of reading Dylan’s letter. It prompted me to write my two blog pieces, "Why Do We Blame Victims?" and "A Rebuttal To Robert Weide's Daily Beast Article On Woody Allen".   I do not fancy myself a professional anything and I don’t play one on television. But, I would pit my amateur post against Mr. Weide’s piece any day of the week and twice on Sunday. At least my facts can be verified and I didn't edit them to fit an agenda.

After all of this, I was angry. Not just angry but damn angry. I was angry that the media took the Weide piece as truth, right off the bat, and past it around. I heard that piece read EVERYWHERE. I heard it being regurgitated on my favorite morning talk show, “The Stephanie Miller Show”. A progressive show, they read and took Robert Weide’s word like it was chapter and verse. Chris LaVoie made comments like, “We will never know”, without bothering to even look at anything else. They regurgitated the unfounded “nuts and sluts” accusations against Mia Farrow, who has never done anything to deserve it. Little did they know that they were simply parroting the words of Woody Allen and his team of lawyers and public relations people. And, if one of my favorite progressive show was saying this, I could only imagine what the others in the media were saying! It was just sickening that so many people thought that there was something crazy about a mother being upset with her fifty-something year old lover seducing her nineteen-year-old daughter (the Allen camp likes to bump up Ms. Previn’s age. Ms. Previn was adopted from Korea without a birth certificate and her age was estimated. Ms. Farrow and Mr. Previn had a medical exam done, with a bone scan and they estimate that she was born around 1971-1973…..I was born in 1969, you do the math). To hear them talk, you would think it was normal for mothers and daughters to “compete” for men. And that mothers act “jealous” of their daughters. Here’s a clue from a mother of a teenage daughter…..we don’t compete for men with our kid. But we do want to dice into little bitty pieces predatory old men who seduce our teen girls! When you do the research, those stories come back to Woody Allen and an interview he gave to “60 Minutes”. As I have stated many times, I am not a fan of Mia Farrow’s. I can honestly say I have not seen any of her movies. And I am a huge movie fan, as well as a Hollywood history buff.   But, since most of her movies have been done with either Roman Polanski (a director who’s movies I refuse to watch because he raped a little girl) or Mr. Allen, I haven’t watched her work. But, I am a mom. And the mom of a teenage girl. So, frankly, I completely understand her pain. And, yes, I am aware of her defense of Roman Polanski.  But, as my husband likes to say, "What does that have to do with the price of eggs?"  Do I like that she supported Roman Polanski?  No.  But it's irrelevant.

I’d get even more frustrated when I’d read an article or a blog and the same, tired lines from The Book of Woody Allen were posted over and over and over. When I would post links to either the articles I found or my blog post with all the links, I was not only rejected but I was dressed down. Many lawyerly types would tell me that I “didn’t understand the criminal justice system”, as Mr. Allen was never prosecuted. Well, I know that you don’t have to go to law school to know that it’s not libelous to post facts. And I also know that not being charged with a crime is NO T the same as being found “not guilty” by a court of law. A certain former New York prosecutor made some interesting claims that Mr. Allen “passed a lie detector” (wow, I thought the correct term was polygraph). When I presented her the evidence that there was no proof that Mr. Allen did take the test (and, Counselor, if you do read this, I do want to point out that I was right……he refused to take one administered by the Connecticut State Police but had one done by his own team. It was rejected by both the Connecticut State Police and by Judge Wilk), I was told that I was wrong! And that has been the basic reaction from Woody Allen supporters. If you present them with facts, they just shout you down and tell you how wrong you are.

So, for several days, the only truth being told was Woody Allen’s. If anyone dared try to correct information that deviated from the “Mia Farrow is a crazy bitch out to get Woody Allen, poor guy!”, you were either dismissed out of hand, told you were “emotional” or “ill-informed” or that you just want everyone to always believe victims without question. I was inundated with stories of how so many custody cases were marred by false child sexual abuse allegations, how “we’ll never know” what happened and that anyone who just wanted to show that there was some meat on the bone of the story was on “Team Mia”. I keep saying, I am on “Team Facts”.

Finally, the tide started to turn. Woody Allen’s team made a huge mistake. First, Mr. Allen sent his attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, who also happened to have represented him in the original custody case and against the molestation charges. Mr. Abramowitz savaged Mia Farrow on “The Today Show” and tells the world that Dylan had these memories “implanted” by Mia Farrow because of Mia Farrow’s “jealousy” over Mr. Allen’s relationship (for lack of a better word) with Ms. Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Then, a few days later, Dylan’s Yale-New Haven evaluation lands on Radar Online. Now, the only people to have this would be Mr. Abramowitz, Ms. Farrow’s attorney and the Court. Since these are behavioral evaluations, they are not available for public records. So, only one of the lawyers would have leaked it. Mr. Abramowitz kept claiming on “The Today Show” that this evaluation “exonerates” Woody Allen. And a few days later, they end up on Radar Online leaked in convenient .PDF form for everyone to download, violating Dylan’s privacy even further. And, of course, only the part that made Woody Allen look good were leaked.

Then, the Woody Allen “60 Minutes” interview is posted and promoted on the CBS News website. If you have never seen it, it is a jaw-dropping, shocking piece. If this was meant to help Mr. Allen’s case, it backfired. The whole piece highlights exactly what Judge Wilk referenced in his ruling. He is very self-absorbed, callous and cold. He has no empathy for Mia Farrow and the way she found the pornographic pictures of her daughter in his apartment. He treats the Valentine she gave him as a death threat, when it was an expression of the pain he caused her. He tells unverifiable stories of threats by Ms. Farrow, shows no concern for his children and doesn’t even show concern for Soon-Yi Previn. He makes no mention of how the turmoil affected Soon-Yi. It’s shocking how little he cares about anyone other than himself. The worst part of it was when asked about when Mia found the pictures. His reaction was so non-chalant, so, “Yeah, so?” Even the interviewer looks somewhat taken back at his reaction.

So, I am sure you are wondering why am I so engrossed in this case? Even I had to sit back and ask myself why. What it boils down to is that too many were just too willing at first, to jump on Woody Allen’s side and savage Mia Farrow. This wasn’t about Mia Farrow. This was about Dylan. In 1992, Woody Allen had one thing going for him…..there was no Internet. He could say whatever he wanted and people couldn’t check his story. They believed him blindly. But, unfortunately for Mr. Allen, it’s now 2014. He just can’t take out his script from 1992 and give it a polish. I hear that Mr. Allen has refused to embrace technology. And I think that will be his undoing. His open letterthat he wrote and was put out on Friday in the New York Times,  is too easily fact checked. And, it looks like the media has decided that he doth protest too much and is starting to look at his story with a critical eye. And they are not liking what they are seeing. Because, it seems to be the same script that he had in 1992 from the "60 Minutes" interview.

And there is another unpleasant fact. Mr. Allen and Ms. Previn adopted two girls. When you read  Judge Wilk’s decision, all you ask is, “Who in the name of all that is stupid would give this man children?” According to Maureen Orth’s article, it seems Dylan’s Department of Children and Family Services file has “disappeared”. That file was tagged “indicated”, which means that Mr. Allen was investigated for child abuse. At the least, one has to be concerned with what Judge Wilk determined about Mr. Allen’s lack of parenting skills. And, at worst, we look at the facts of the molestation case. It makes you hope that maybe something more in depth will come out of this. It’s too late for Dylan’s case. But I don’t have a good feeling about the children residing in Mr. Allen’s home. When he started his “relationship” (again, for lack of a better word) with Ms. Previn, she was very young. She left her family to be with Mr. Allen, cutting herself off from any support outside of Mr. Allen. Andre Previn disowned her. She has been estranged from her mother and siblings. She has no life outside of Woody Allen. She has nothing that isn’t Mr. Allen’s. Her very life depends on Mr. Allen. I don’t have very great hopes that Ms. Previn would be any kind of protector of her children.

When I look around the Internet and see all the comments, it saddens me that the old “a little nutty and a little slutty” strategy still works so well. So many people have been so easily lead away from the point by Woody Allen screaming, “MIA FARROW!” It seems Mr. Allen wants you to look away from Dylan and only look at Mia Farrow. You need to ask yourself this, how much have you actually read about this case? Have you actually heard Mia Farrow speak out on this case, other than the few comments she has made on Twitter? Has Mia Farrow sent out attorneys? No. She is being a mom and is taking the hits for her kid. She is letting Dylan have her say. Now, you have to ask yourself, “Why is Woody Allen doing all of this?” Wouldn’t it have just been simple to have made a sensitive, declarative statement like, “While I am very sadden to see that Dylan still believes I harmed her, I still love her and I don’t wish to distress her further. I still maintain that I never harmed Dylan. I love my daughter and I wish that none of this sadness had ever happened. I hope one day we can reconcile.” Wow, is that hard? But, have you seen ANYTHING from Woody Allen that says anything close to this statement in that diatribe he wrote? Do you see any love for her?  You can see the outright contempt he has for Ronan, which seems to have been the case since his birth.  Maybe Mr. Allen wants Ronan to be Frank Sinatra's kid, so that he can justify his feelings that he has always held against Ronan.

You really have to question if an innocent man could be this cold, callous and vindictive, even after twenty years. If he has to constantly point to Mia Farrow and say that she is still out to get him, after twenty years, who really deserves to be labeled, “Nuts”? I think his obfuscation and misdirected anger speak very loudly, as do his actions of sending out his attorney to bad-mouth Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow. Why bring up Ronan's paternity?  And, you really have to ask yourself, “Why bring a nuclear bomb when a flyswatter would have been more than enough?”

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