What Ever Happened To The Benefit Of The Doubt - Also Known As: Why On Earth Does Nobody Stand By Woody Allen
So I read Woody Allen´s Memoir "Apropos Of Nothing", sadly enough the poorly translated German version, because the book wasn't available in English soon enough. And, yes, the book is not well written, it is not telling you interesting details about all the great actors Allen used to work with more often than most other directors, the language is jumpy and sloppy, the tone too often indifferent.
But: Reading the book brought back to me those memories of early 1992, when the love relationship between Woody Allen and the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow became public.
We shrugged our shoulders about Mia´s anger - had she never watched "Manhattan"? "Mighty Aphrodite"? Even "Husbands and Wives", the last movie she did with her long time companion featured an inappropriate age difference between lovers.
Also: After having been married to a thirty years older Frank Sinatra when she herself was 21, then, three years later destroying the marriage of her best friend by getting pregnant with her husband André Previn, should have told her a thing or two about love and betrayal and that romantic rule: "The heart wants what the heart wants", as Woody Allen put it, when he moved in with Soon-Yi, who is married to him now for more than twenty years.
Some months later in summer 1992, another, quite shocking story broke the news - Mia Farrow was accusing her former boyfriend to have molested her adopted daughter Dylan, then eight years old. Allen himself was actually fighting for shared custody of Dylan and his own child with Farrow, four years old Satchel, at that time. All hell broke loose. Lawyers, friends, hearings, testimonials, first books, like the one by their Nanny, that I read immediately - no single day passed for months without a story about this dramatic turn of events.
At the end, there was no prove of any misbehaviour from Allen's side, the jury even followed the assumption that Farrow may have manipulated her daughter; and that was that. Case closed. Allen would never see those children again, most of them became estranged for a lifetime.
A classic custody battle. Everybody lost. It seemed, all that happened only for one reason: To allow a mortally offended woman to get her revenge.
Until two years ago, when Ronan Farrow (the child formerly known as Satchel) brought his sister Dylan´s case back on stage during his research about mighty men in show business, like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, who used their power to chase or rape women; Dylan, now an adult, became part of the #metoo movement by repeating her accusations against Allen.
And Ronan Farrow became her spokesperson - as the "knight in shining armour " of all victimised women in the world he had not only become a superstar-Pulitzer-and-other-precious-prices winning reporter - he also now had enough power to destroy any man he wants: Just his accusation, without further prove, seemed evidence enough.
In other words: After decades of keeping everyone´s mouth shut about Harvey Weinstein´s criminal behavior towards women, all kind of people in the entertainment industry obviously now have to kiss Ronan Farrow´s ass to stay in business.
The publishing house that was in charge with Woody Allen´s memoir stepped back from the project, after their author Ronan Farrow protested, a bunch of writers of the German publishing house wrote an open letter against Allen as well. More and more actors stepped openly back from the idea to ever work again with Allen. Amazon killed his contract about six more movies. No film distribution could be found for his last movie in the US.
What is wrong with you people??????
Whatever happened to The Benefit Of The Doubt?
When did the fine, modern movement of #metoo became this indifferent witch-hunting obsession, a war without survivors among the victims - just dead reputations?
Ronan Farrow may be an extremely talented, smart and driven reporter who did a lot of good. But he is still no heavenly sent messiah of what is wrong and who has to be punished, above all legal action, without any trial. I would love us all to bring back different perspectives onto the table, otherwise I am out.
And in the meantime I recommend a piece I read in the "New York Times" the other day.
And also an almost forgotten movie with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine.