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Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and what popular culture wants to believe

But at the heart of the matter were these two stories. Until very recently, audiences preferred one that allowed Allen to continue making films, films in which comparatively helpless young women willingly entered into relationships with older, more powerful men.

This summer and last fall, when my marriage imploded very quietly, I spent the little free time I had jogging in the park near my Brooklyn apartment, trying, I guess, to understand my own story, 3.3 miles at a time. While I was running I listened to “You’re Wrong About,” an irreverent and sharp podcast that often talks about maligned women from the 80s, 90s and 00s – Anna Nicole Smith, Tonya Harding, Janet Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, a half – dozen more.

These stories have a wide variety of hairs in terms of individual guilt, but in any case, popular culture has found a way to blame the woman, often to excuse a more blameworthy man. Take, for example, Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate, a scandal that never touched Justin Timberlake. Or Monica Lewinsky, described as a slut, as if it somehow reverses the outrageous imbalance of power in Bill Clinton’s relationship with her. It is reminiscent of another lesson I learned from the media of the ’80s and’ 90s: the only good victim is a perfect victim. Otherwise, it was probably his fault.

This particular narrative reappears in the recent documentary “Framing Britney Spears”. This film shows the turn-of-the-century media panting to tell the story of a star acting inappropriately, a party girl going wild when she should have been at home. “Britney: Out of Control,” read a cover of Us Weekly. Who is in control? Ideally, the tabloid framing poses the Spears spiral to its own bare feet. It avoids attacking the people who hold real power, magazine editors and record label executives who shaped, monitored and profited from its image.

I asked Sarah Marshall, journalist and host of “You’re wrong”, why popular culture likes to portray women as accomplices and deserving of contempt. “It justifies subjugating them,” she said. “If women are randomly slaughtered for possessing what we consider to be an alarming degree of power, even if they don’t, then maybe they will be more afraid of the way they are. ‘exercise.

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Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn call HBO Docuseries a ‘shoddy hit’

Shortly after the premiere of the first episode of “Allen v. Farrow, ”an HBO documentary series that re-examines Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against filmmaker Woody Allen, his adoptive father, a spokesperson for Mr. Allen released a statement Sunday night criticizing the series, calling it of “poor quality hit”.

Letty Aronson, Mr Allen’s sister, sent the statement – attributed to a spokesperson – shortly after the first episode aired, on behalf of Mr Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, the filmmaker’s wife and Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter. In 1992, Ms Farrow, Mr Allen’s longtime girlfriend, learned of Mr Allen’s relationship with Ms Previn while Ms Previn was a freshman at university. This relationship is also scrutinized in the four-part docu-series.

Neither Mr. Allen nor Ms. Previn participated in the series, but it does include audio clips from Mr. Allen’s recent memoir, “Apropos of Nothing.”

“These documentary filmmakers had no interest in the truth,” the statement said. “Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with lies.

On Monday, the publisher of Mr. Allen’s memoir Skyhorse raised another objection to the series: that the filmmakers had used clips from the audiobook without permission. In a statement, Skyhorse president and editor Tony Lyons said the “unauthorized” use of the audio in the first episode was “a clear and willful violation of existing legal precedent.”

Mr Lyons said in the statement that the filmmakers had not applied for permission to use the clips and that the publisher learned late last week that the episodes “extensively” use the audiobook. The publisher’s attorney informed HBO on Friday that “if the use of the audiobook was pretty much what we heard it would be copyright infringement,” he said.

The brief was originally scheduled to be published last year by Grand Central Publishing, a brand of Hachette Book Group, until dozens of Hachette employees staged a walkout in protest and the publisher gave up. About two weeks later, his book was published by Arcade Publishing, a brand of independent publisher Skyhorse.

Responding to the publisher’s objections, an HBO spokeswoman provided a statement from the filmmakers, saying, “The creators of ‘Allen v. Farrow ‘legally used limited audio clips of Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the fair dealing doctrine. The doctrine was invoked to allow artists and journalists – including documentary filmmakers – to use limited amounts of copyrighted works for certain purposes, including using the material to illustrate an argument or to serve as a subject for criticism.

Episode 1 includes in-depth interviews with Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow, who accused Mr. Allen of sexual assault when he was 7. It also included interviews with family and friends who said that even before August 4, 1992 – the day Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen assaulted her – they had witnessed Mr. Allen towards his daughter whom they considered inappropriate.

Mr Allen has long denied the abuse allegations, arguing that Mia Farrow trained Dylan to make the allegations after learning of his relationship with Ms Previn.

In Sunday’s statement, Mr. Allen continued to deny the allegations.

“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the statement said. “Several agencies investigated them at the time and found that whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, no abuse had ever taken place.”

In later episodes, the series raises questions about one of those investigations, in particular: a report released by the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which revealed that Dylan had not been assaulted by anyone after questioning the child. nine times in a seven month period. According to the series, all interview notes from those sessions were destroyed when the final report was released.

Attorneys in Connecticut, where Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen sexually assaulted her, refused to prosecute Mr. Allen in 1993. The state attorney said he did so to spare Dylan the trauma from a trial but believed she had been assaulted.

The statement said Mr. Allen and Ms. Previn had been approached about the documentary less than two months ago and had “only had a few days” to respond. He also said that it was “sadly not surprising” that HBO is airing the series, given a production deal with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow’s brother, who has spoken on behalf of his sister, y included in the series. (Mr. Farrow, an investigative reporter who has talked a lot about sexual misconduct, has made a deal with HBO to create special investigative material, though he’s not on the production team of ” Allen v. Farrow. ”)

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Filmmakers Examine Woody Allen’s Abuse Allegations In Four-Part Series

Documentary directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering have spent the past decade shedding light on accusations of sexual abuse in institutions like the military, in “The Invisible War” (2012); colleges, in “The Hunting Ground” (2015); and the music industry, in “On the Record” (2020). Now, they’ve set their sights on Dylan Farrow’s decades-old sexual abuse allegations against his adoptive father, Woody Allen.

“Allen v. Farrow ”is a four-part documentary series set to debut later this month that takes viewers into Farrow’s public experience of accusing a famous and powerful man of abuse, but also exposes details of the matter which has not been shared with the Public.

Initially, Farrow’s story did not fit Dick and Ziering’s usual general inquiries, but upon closer examination, the filmmakers found it offered them a chance to discuss child abuse and incest, a topic that survivors have consistently asked the two to tackle.

“I was haunted by these stories,” Ziering said. “This is the third rail. This is what nobody talks about.

Everyone, however, is talking about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. The then Hollywood power couple had been together for 12 years. Never marry and keep separate residences, they shot 13 movies together, adopted two children (Dylan and Moses) and fathered another (Satchel, who changed his name to Ronan after his parents separated). They were talking about the city until it all fell apart in 1992. Over the course of eight months, Farrow discovered nude photos of his then college-aged daughter Soon-Yi Previn in Allen’s apartment. ; That summer, 7-year-old Dylan said Allen sexually assaulted her. These accusations led to a nasty custody fight and a permanently torn family apart. Allen has consistently denied the charges, and after investigations in Connecticut and New York City, he has not been charged with a felony.

As the media focused on the scandal for so many years, Dick said he thought he knew the story and was initially reluctant to go into it further. “It has been covered so extensively and a lot of our work is devoted to new cases,” he said. “But as we got into it, we found that there was a lot more. We pivoted because we realized the full story had never come out. “

The filmmakers, along with investigative producer Amy Hurdy, spent three years researching court documents and police reports, and conducting in-depth interviews with numerous witnesses who had never spoken to the public before.

Scheduled for February 21 on HBO, the series features a personal video shot by Mia Farrow while her children were growing up in Connecticut and audio she surreptitiously recorded of some conversations she had with Allen. And, for the first time, we see the video account of 7-year-old Dylan shot dead by Farrow following the charges. The gang has become something of a hot button over the past two decades, characterized by one side as proof of its truthfulness and the other side as proof that Farrow coached his daughter in her responses. The filmmakers are also raising questions about a crucial report released by the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which found Dylan not to be credible after interviewing the child nine times over a period of seven. month.

Neither Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, nor Moses Farrow participated in the documentary. (The majority of Farrow’s other living children have done so.) They declined to comment in response to the show, which they have yet to see.

I asked Dick and Ziering why they decided to get involved. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.

For so long this story has been described as a family drama, she says, with many declaring, “We will never know the truth.”

AMY ZIERING Digging closer you see it’s he said, he said, he said, he said, he said, he said, she said [whispered], he said, he said, he said, he said. But we didn’t know it. No one knew. When you get that echo chamber from a certain perspective and a certain narrative, you don’t realize the source. That’s what was interesting when we unboxed it. And as we started hearing the “she said” part and fact-checking the “he said” part, it became extremely interesting.

Since the start of the #MeToo movement, Allen has been ostracized in a number of ways: Amazon canceled its multi-frame movie deal. His latest film has yet to find distribution in the United States. The first editor of his memoirs has backed down. Some actors have said they will not be working with him in the future. Why publish this documentary now?

ZIERING Our goal is never about the author. It’s more about understanding all these crimes, understanding how we are all complicit in these crimes and I mean all of us, both consciously and unintentionally. It’s also about how do you talk about something that’s happening all the time in America that no one feels comfortable talking about? It is not the full exploration of it. It’s one way to get people to think about it.

TAIL Like “On the Record”, where people got to experience what happens when a person decides to come forward and the immediate consequences, it permeates the experience of those involved. That’s why it’s not just about someone being accused.

Whether by the media or by Allen himself, Farrow has long been described as somewhat unstable? Was it your perception of her engaging in this business and has that changed?

TAIL I just want to say that suspicion and criticism of mothers in general in this society is just evidence of misogyny. People like to “blame” mothers for everything. So from the start, I was very suspicious of this story because it’s a misogynistic story – the idea of ​​the hysterical woman, the mad woman. This is what is put forward not only in cases of incest, which are quite common, but also in cases of sexual assault. Hearing this made me very, very suspicious.

ZIERING There are incredible wills [to Farrow] and people will see the home videos that Mia has taken of her children throughout their lives. We received a lot of love and praise from the people we interviewed about her qualities as a mother.

Was Dylan reluctant to give you the tape of her at age 7, the tape that has been at the center of this controversy for so long?

ZIERING It took a long time for Dylan to feel comfortable and safe sharing this video. And once she shared it, there were settings as to whether she would agree to us actually using it. It was gradual. We don’t want to contribute to someone else’s pain.

At the end of the documentary, Mia says she’s still scared of Woody, actually worried about what he’ll do when he sees this series. Why, then, did she decide to participate? What was his goal?

ZIERING She didn’t want to be a part of it. She did this for her daughter, Dylan. In fact, in the interview you see her in, she’s in my shirt. I literally had to borrow a shirt from someone else and give them my shirt because when she showed up she didn’t want to do the interview, she was so unhappy. What was she wearing? I don’t even remember.

She said, “My daughter came to see me, told me it was important to me and that I needed you to do this for me.” And she said, “I support my children. I’ll take the fire. I don’t know you, Amy. I don’t know Kirby. I know your work. I was sorry for doing nothing.

In the series, there is a lot of control over the Yale-New Haven clinic. From the number of times clinicians interviewed Dylan to the fact that all concurrent interview notes from those sessions were destroyed when the final report was released. In your previous sexual abuse investigations, have you ever seen a situation where notes like this were destroyed?

TAIL I did not have. It’s really shocking that the notes got destroyed but that’s one of the reasons the full story never came out, and if it had all been transparent we wouldn’t have made this series.

How actively did you try to reach Soon-Yi, Moses, and Woody? Have you ever received a response from one of them?

TAIL We really reached out. We didn’t expect them to talk. If we made a movie about Woody Allen’s career, he probably wouldn’t speak to us. It didn’t surprise us.

Were there any threats of legal action or anything from Camp Allen while you were planning this?

TAIL No. We always pay attention to fact checking. We have been scrupulous about accuracy.

ZIERING As we always are. We never had to withdraw a fact. It would have been easier, legally, to adapt a book or do a story about someone who is already convicted. This way you are not in front of a moving train. But we are actually running in front of moving trains, unfortunately. So the only thing that can save us is truth and extreme caution. We are not yet dead.