As allegations of sexual harassment and abuse have come to light in recent months, we’ve all watched as man after predatory man has toppled from his pedestal of power. In Hollywood, we’ve seen Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, Matt Lauer, and others rightfully lose their jobs and their reputations because of their actions. And for the first time, we’re seeing a spirit of support that’s allowing victims to speak out and actually be heard.
However, many have pointed out that Hollywood and the rest of the world are lagging in holding one particularly powerful, allegedly predatory man accountable. Woody Allen — who’s been accused of molesting his adopted daughter, among other offenses — is still making movies (Wonder Wheel, his latest, came out just last month) and winning accolades.
But one journalist’s recent examination of Woody Allen’s personal archive could help convince people that the director’s art doesn’t absolve him of bad behavior.
Richard Morgan read through 56 boxes of Allen’s unpublished work and found some disturbing insight into Allen’s views on women. After visiting Allen’s 57-year personal archive at Princeton University, Morgan published his findings in The Washington Post on January 4th. The main takeaway is that Allen seems to have a deep-rooted obsession with young women and girls and consistently objectifies females as conquests for powerful or important men. Morgan gives examples of this theme repeating itself over and over in Allen’s journals, drafts, and pitches.
In one short story draft, for example, Allen wrote:
“Of all the famous men who ever lived, the one I would most like to have been was Socrates. Not just because he was a great thinker, because I have been known to have some reasonably profound insights myself, although mine invariably revolve around two eighteen year old cocktail waitresses and some rope handcuffs.”
Of course, Allen having a creepy perception of women doesn’t prove he’s guilty of a crime but, as Morgan points out, it is indicative of a larger issue and more pervasive mindset that a woman’s worth is determined above all else by what she provides to men. Morgan found Allen’s emphasis on teenage girls and young women unsettling (again, not proof of a specific crime, but closer to suggesting one):
“This is a man who, at 43, awarded himself 16-year-old [Mariel] Hemingway’s first kiss — the actress’s herself, not her character’s — on the set of Manhattan. (Afterward, she recalled in a talk show interview, she ran over to cinematographer Gordon Willis and cried, ‘I don’t have to do that again, do I?’) He is dressing up crime as art,” Morgan writes.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Morgan’s article does anything to shift the way Allen’s supporters see or feel about him.
While Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow has again spoken out to question the public’s stubborn loyalty to her alleged abuser, other public figures like Kate Winslet — who stars in Wonder Wheel — are still defending Allen and his art. Allen himself recently warned against “witch hunts,” which he assumes will erupt in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal — a reaction that fits right in with the “women can’t be trusted”/”women are sexual objects” vibe Morgan found in Allen’s writings.
Woody Allen is not being hunted, but his own words may persuade some more people that his disturbing trail is one worth following.