A lot of people are talking about Maureen Orth's piece in Vanity Fair "10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation."
It has been thoroughly exploded by Robert Weide's piece here
. After reading Weide, I am frankly infuriated with Orth, and with Vanity Fair for publishing such deceptive nonsense. One example should suffice to the record straight:
Mia’s allegations of molestation automatically triggered a criminal investigation by the Connecticut State Police, who brought in an investigative team from the Yale-New Haven Hospital, whose six-month long inquiry (which included medical examinations) concluded that Dylan had not been molested. I’ve since read a recurring canard that Woody “chose” the investigative team. Yet nobody has suggested how or why Mia’s team would ever outsource the investigation to a team “chosen” by Woody.
Others have said that the investigators talked to psychiatrists “on Allen’s payroll” before letting him off the hook. The only way I can explain this is that the investigators, naturally, would have spoken with Woody’s shrinks before giving him a clean bill of health. So technically, yeah, Woody’s shrinks would have been paid a lot of money by Woody over the years. (Let’s even call it an annuity.) The same would be true of his dentist, his eye doctor, and his internist.
And so on. On the other side of the aisle, I ask you to look at the court document Orth herself cites. You'll see that the entire idea of molestation arose not from any objectively provable facts but from the highly subjective perceptions
of impropriety offered by a woman whose sanity I am not willing to stipulate.
That last remark was harsh, and I don't make it with any pleasure. But Farrow ruined her own reputation with her claims about the paternity of her son Ronan. She stated in court
that Woody Allen was the father (no ifs, ands or buts); later, she claimed otherwise. The contradiction is inescapable. It's no small matter!
Moreover, we should also keep in mind the much earlier episode in which she made what I believe to be false claims of sexual impropriety against a Hindu religious teacher. Her story may have convinced John Lennon, but (I've recently read) George Harrison always understood the truth.
Look, I admire Farrow as an actress. I also happen to think she is a damned fine writer. IMDB published this small piece (I don't know where it's from) in which she describes her marriage to Sinatra:
"The women, who didn't seem to mind being referred to as 'broads', sat up straight with their legs crossed and little expectant smiles on their oh-so-carefully made-up faces They sipped white wine, smoked, and eyed the men, laughing at every joke...A long time would pass before any of the women dared to speak then, under the main male table conversation, they talked about their cats, or where they had bought their clothes; but more than half an ear was always with the men, just in case. As hours passed, the women, neglected in their chairs, drooped; no longer listening, no longer laughing."
I doubt that Woody Allen's aged typewriter has ever produced such an excellent vignette. Mia Farrow would do the world a favor if she decided to create literature instead of havoc.
This story hits home with me because I've known women of this sort -- women driven to the brink by their personal demons, women who love drama, women who lack all impulse control, women who have destroyed families because they confuse hallucination with reality. I once met a troubled lady who told the world that her daughter was sired by a space alien. You may smirk, but consider the ramifications: The mother told that "space alien" story not just to the press, but to her own daughter
. The kid grew up believing that.
In the Farrow case, one of my readers has suggested a theory of psychological displacement. Mia did have one acknowledged child abuser in her life: her brother John Charles Villers-Farrow, now in prison. His victims were male. Is it possible that he might, at one time, have focused on an underaged female? That's a question best answered by those who have made a specialty of studying behavior that most of us prefer not to think about.
What a family! Now I'm even beginning to wonder about Maureen O'Sullivan's story that Cheeta was sexually attracted to Johnny Weismuller.
By all means, read Orth. But also read Weide. The superiority of his argument should be obvious. Instead of printing articles about whether we can ever again watch Woody Allen's movies, perhaps Slate should publish pieces asking if it will ever again be permissible to trust Vanity Fair