|Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi.|
Yesterday I put up a long blog post dedicated to the podcast, You Must Remember This. I heaped praise on the podcast and its creator, producer, writer and narrator, Karina Longworth. I went into specific detail about a few of the seasons of YMRT and why I enjoyed them so much. I noted that in addition to other skills, Ms. Longworth is a meticulous researcher. I may have been wrong on that point.
Today I was listening to the final episode of Six Degrees of Joan Crawford which focused on the book and film about Crawford, Mommie Dearest. In summarizing the life and legacy of Crawford, Ms. Longworth said that she could and did separate the star’s off- screen behavior from her films and thus could still enjoy those films. She added that this was something that she could not do with Woody Allen.
I checked online to see if she had many any other references to Woody and there wasn’t much other than that Longworth said she was partly inspired to start her podcast after Dylan Farrow’s allegations about molestation against Allen re-surfaced in 2014. In her mind the re-airing demonstrated “how fast things disappear from the cultural memory.”
My question here is: why wouldn’t disproven allegations “disappear?”
If Longworth is such an authority on Hollywood and its history, surely she should know that in 1993, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan claimed that he had molested her. She should further know that there was no physical evidence of molestation, Woody passed a lie detector test, two separate investigation concluded that there was no molestation and both suggested the strong possibility that the child had been coached. Indeed while there are no witnesses to Woody Allen abusing his daughter, there are witnesses to the mother, Mia Farrow, coaching Dylan as to what to say.
This is not obscure or hidden information. Anyone with a computer can learn this.
Yet today it is widely-accepted that Woody Allen is a child molester just as many people incorrectly believe that he married his adopted daughter or if not adopted, one he raised and "groomed." (Woody and his wife Soon-Yi never even lived under the same roof when she was growing up and he played no role in raising her.)
As Paul Simon sang in The Boxer: “still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
I’ve written about Woody Allen before. My most detailed comments including numerous links was in this post from last spring.
Frankly I expected more from Karina Longworth. I’d never imagined her as one of a crowd of ignorants waving a pitchfork. She hasn’t gotten the story wrong so much as she hasn’t taken the time to even look into it.
Back in 2014 when Dylan re-asserted her claims my initial response was one of revulsion towards Woody Allen and a determination to rid myself of all the DVDs and books of his that I owned. But first I did a little research and found that there was another side to the story and it was the side with a preponderance of evidence on its side. I guess the notion of two sides to a story doesn't resonant with Longworth.
So now six years later I’m still a devoted Woodyphile and have instead taken down my post lauding Longworth and her podcast and am done listening to YMRT. Maybe some day she’ll take a closer look at the allegations and the results of the investigations and come to a different conclusion. Meanwhile, I've got better things to do. I guess I can separate the podcast from the ignorance of the podcaster.
Lastly I re-offer the addendum to the above-linked post I wrote about Woody.
As an assignment on research and critical thinking, a professor at Brooklyn College, had his Introduction to Journalism class read Dylan's piece in the New York Times and Woody's response in the same paper. He then had them watch a CBS interview with Dylan, they then read Moses' blog post and the article about Soon-Yi. Most of the students -- all of them women -- had only seen the Dylan interview and believed her story. Of the 15 students who did all the reading and completed the assignment, 13 concluded that no molestation took place or had serious doubts about her claim.