My heart sank when Cate Blanchett won the Academy Award for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Undeniably, Blanchett was masterful in her role; but in honoring Blanchett, Woody Allen was also honored.
You see, I believe every word of Dylan Farrow's description of the sexual abuse endured from her father, Woody Allen, that appeared in Nicholas Kristof's February 2nd column in The New York Times.
For over 25 years I have worked with men and women who have been sexually abused as children. Those in therapy because they feel sickened when offered sexual love do not make up the kind of heinous acts that have darkened their intimate lives. The things I have heard are too searing and sickening to ever be implanted.
No one can ever know precisely what happened in the attic of Mia Farrow's Bridgewater, Connecticut home in August, 1992, when Dylan was 7; but her description of the alleged assault is detailed. Further, her words dovetail what three adults present in the house on that day said in sworn testimony: One babysitter said Dylan and Allen were missing for about 15 or 20 minutes (but that she did not tell Farrow about it until after Dylan told her mother what had happened). Another childcare person testified that she saw Allen with his head on Dylan's lap facing her body, while the child sat on a couch "staring vacantly in the direction of a television set." A French tutor testified that the child wore no panties under her sundress.
Predictably, Allen's response to his daughter's description of events in The New York Times on February 7 sidestepped sworn testimony and instead cleverly impugned Mia Farrow's character. With manipulative skill, he blamed Farrow for implanting thoughts of sexual abuse into their daughter Dylan's consciousness as retaliation for his relationship with Soon-Yi.
That Allen's "Speak Out" focused on suspicion of Farrow should not surprise us. He is a brilliant writer. But there is more: His success at projection, displacement and manipulation is consistent with highly skilled abusers whom no one could ever believe capable of such horrific acts and who harbor a deep distrust and animosity toward mature women. Allen's response was a further attempt to destroy a mother and daughter who dared to question his demand for absolute authority, control, and seamlessness in all facets of his intertwined work and life.
Squint your eyes just a bit: Remember scenes of "Blue Jasmine," and you will be able to picture a thoroughly materialistic version of Woody Allen's living room and the mantle-piece where Mia Farrow found the nude photos of her daughter, Soon Yi, her legs spread apart.
Cate Blanchett's portrayal of a hysterical woman whose life is destroyed through the sadistic malevolence of her husband was the parallel to Mia's hysteria upon finding those photos. Clearly, the desire to seduce the young daughter of your companion and muse is not only due to desire to bed a young girl. This kind of boundary violation involves contempt for a mother and a desire to brutalize her.
In film after film Allen loses interest and rejects women as they pass from girlhood. He educates the very young he sleeps with and then (sweetly) dismisses them, ala "Whatever Works" and "Annie Hall." His sexual exploitation of the very young is a dominant theme in films such as "Manhattan," "Stardust Memories," and "Love and Death."
Following are only a few of the misstatements/distortions/manipulations in Allen's deceptive commentary. Allen states that he had been "going out" with Farrow and that "in that time...(she never suggested) anything resembling misconduct." Allen and Farrow had a twelve year multi-faceted relationship, one far beyond "going out." Further, Farrow, unsettled by Allen's fixation on Dylan, left word with sitters that he was not to be alone with Dylan and insisted that Allen see a therapist about his "wooing" of their daughter.
It was Allen who refused to take a polygraph administered by the Connecticut state police, although he claims it was Mia, who the state attorney, Frank Maco, states had never been asked. Instead, Allen took a polygraph administered by one hired by his legal team.
Allen describes his visit to his "adversary's home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship" as an "unlikely" time "to embark on a career as a child molester." Molesters pick times and places where abuse is seemingly impossible. Plus, Allen's anxieties are highest when confronted with real life, off of a movie set. Times of high anxiety are when predators strike. Allen describes the "sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario" when, in an abuser's state of mine, it is just the opposite.
In his response, Allen refers to the report stating his innocence by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. However, these findings were not found reliable by either the Connecticut state prosecutor who commissioned the evaluation or the Judge hearing the case. For reasons never explained notes from the study were destroyed, and Dylan's confidential testimony was violated.
Further, Allen writes that he and Soon-Yi were "carefully scrutinized by both the adoption agency and adoption courts" who made their adoption of two daughters possible. The abuse case against Allen had been dropped to spare Dylan the kind or ordeal that she would not have to go through today. But that said, how many resources would consistently deny the famed Allen his wish? Are rules and regulations for the very rich and powerful the same as they are for you and me?
Finally, Allen speaks of Dory Previn's song, "With My Daddy in the Attic," as the source of Mia's lies. But he, too, could have been motivated by this song. He states that he is a "major claustrophobe," describing the attic spot as "tiny, cramped, enclosed." At first Allen told investigators that he had never been in the attic. After his hair was found on a painting, he said he may have been there once or twice. Once again this current explanation blames Mia: His DNA is present in the attic because Mia asked him to look at something, but he "quickly had to run out."
Woody Allen's truest life is on movie sets, where he has created his own, airtight totally controlled universe, one where life and work are one. As soon as he completes one film, he begins another. His is a moral universe described in "Crimes and Misdemeanors": There is no truth, honor or justice. There is only connivance and getting away with whatever you wish.
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