To begin, let us be clear. We have no idea if these allegations are true or not. On the one hand, we have no reason to doubt the daughter. But, these allegations first arose from the mother Mia Farrow during nasty litigation against Allen in which she was trying to get his adoption of her children nullified. So they could well have been invented by Farrow -- a seven year old would come to believe these things happened if the mother pushes them as true. On the other hand, the reason Farrow left Allen was that he had begun a relationship with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, and Farrow found naked pictures Allen had taken of her – he would go on to marry Previn. Although Allen never adopted Previn, he did unofficially act as her step-father. Uber-creepy. So there are reasons to believe and to not believe.
So how do we handle something like this?
Allen, unfortunately, sits in a special place in our society. He has created and continues to create works of art (films) that the public respects and enjoys. Several of his films have become iconic and can arguably be considered as culture forming. So if we believe he is guilty, do we throw away the work or do we separate the man from the work and keep his contribution or do we let his crimes pass?
The moralist in me says that if we believe Allen is guilty, then we should shun Allen and his works. But I know that’s not how society works. It’s certainly not how Hollywood works. In fact, there was an interesting (read: disturbing) article the other day which gave four reasons why Hollywood continues to ignore these allegations and actively seeks to work with him:
(1) Allen has talent and his films can raise an actor up into the next tier of actordom. Specifically, his films have brought a certain level of immortality to the actors who have been in them, something you won’t be getting out of Green Lantern II: It Pukes Yellow.In other words, it benefits the actors and everybody does it. Nice.
(2) There is no conviction, and Hollywood works on technicalities, not moralities.
(3) Allen's films are Oscar bait and that means the chance of getting an award goes way up by staring in his films.
(4) Most disturbingly, there apparently isn’t a major film set in Hollywood without “a genuine creep – someone with reprehensible habits in the bedroom, boardroom or bathroom; someone who has committed crimes and had them swept under a deep carpet crafted out of threat letters from lawyers and publicists. . . actors know this and most see no reason to blow off one director when there are dozens of others.”
Anyways, before we condemn these people too loudly, the public does this too. It’s pretty rare that a person gets expunged from history. In fact, I can only think of one – Hitler. And even then, his ideas and his works are still exploited to a degree. Our military and scientists were happy to take what the Nazis developed. We certainly didn’t throw away the good ideas he had, like highways. And Hollywood loves a good Nazi.
So the question is how bad does your crime need to become before you become perona non grata? And does any of this change if the person shows contrition? Allen denies everything, Polanski gets angry about being charged, but what if either had admitted their acts and asked for forgiveness? Local evangelical
I guess the lesson is that we talk big about morality, but as long as people claim “hey, that was in the past,” then we kind of look past the things they did.