Woody Allen’s alleged sexual assault of his daughter Dylan Farrow back in 1992 became big news last year when Dylan came forward and told her story to CBS This Morning. Coming in the midst of the #MeToo movement and backed by her brother, reporter Ronan Farrow, Dylan’s story caused some Hollywood stars to apologize for having worked with Allen over the years. But in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, actress Scarlett Johansson stuck up for Allen:
“How do I feel about Woody Allen?” Johansson lets the question hang for a moment. Ever since the #MeToo movement caused Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against her father to be re-examined, much of Hollywood has distanced itself from Allen. The filmmaker long has denied the claims, but many actors who have worked with him, including Michael Caine, Timothée Chalamet and Greta Gerwig, have publicly expressed regret about doing so, and Allen has been unable to find a U.S. distributor for his movies since Amazon canceled his deal in 2018. Allen directed Johansson in Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and played a key role in shaping her career as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading ladies. After a beat, Johansson makes it clear that she disagrees with many of her peers. “I love Woody,” she says. “I believe him, and I would work with him anytime.”
Johansson continues: “I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about it. I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him.” Asked if this position feels fraught to express in a cultural environment where there is a new and powerful emphasis on believing women’s allegations, Johansson says, “It’s hard because it’s a time where people are very fired up, and understandably. Things needed to be stirred up, and so people have a lot of passion and a lot of strong feelings and are angry, and rightfully so. It’s an intense time.”
The story notes that Johansson is one of the early members of Time’s Up, a Hollywood movement focused on sexual harassment. She was also a speaker at the Women’s March and has been a public supporter of Planned Parenthood. In other words, she’s definitely not a conservative. That said, this isn’t the first time she’s cut against the Hollywood grain in a way that few actresses are willing to do.
Last July, Johansson dropped out of a film in which she was set to play a transgender man after a backlash from a group of transgender activists and actors. She said after dropping out of the film, “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.” She added, “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.” That’s pretty brave as far as Hollywood goes these days.
Dylan Farrow responded to Johansson’s comments via Twitter Wednesday evening:
Because if we’ve learned anything from the past two years it’s that you definitely should believe male predators who “maintain their innocence” without question. Scarlett has a long way to go in understanding the issue she claims to champion. https://t.co/S1NmttL9tJ
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) September 5, 2019
Whether or not Woody Allen is a “male predator” is not as clear cut as Farrow and her brother Ronan would like the world to think. Last year, after Dylan’s interview on CBS, Moses Farrow wrote a lengthy blog post saying he was there the day and doesn’t recall any odd behavior. Moses claims his sister’s story of the alleged molestation just doesn’t add up.