I woke up the morning after feeling irritated, a clutching pain behind my eyes. Alert, but not wanting to do anything. There it was, that vague feeling of dis-ease, a familiar disconnection.
It’s difficult to admit how personally triggered I was by Dylan Farrow’s open letter in The New York Times. I would rather ignore it, throw myself into work or blame the feeling on something else— maybe I’m mad at my boyfriend. Maybe it’s my body; maybe I could make the way I’m feeling about the way I look— but that’s not the truth. I know what’s wrong and— like Farrow’s story itself, it’s worth saying out loud.
It was less Farrow’s letter than it was people’s reactions that had upset me. “Friends” on Facebook jumped to Woody Allen’s defense, many posting that awful piece on Daily Beast as if it were some kind of counterpoint. Yeah, it’s Facebook, I know I shouldn’t care. But my connections to people, however they come, are important. And besides, some of these people were friends in real life, individuals that I used to trust and respect. That trust and respect was gone.
Reading through comments, I found myself sickened. I mean, if it’s your position that you don’t know what happened, why say anything at all? Why re-enforce the message to survivors that we won’t be believed? That we’re making it up and anyways, who cares?
This is exactly what perpetrators do, I thought to myself. This is exactly what makes our traumas traumatic. Keep reading »
Late Saturday, The New York Times published an open letter written by Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, in which Farrow, for the first time in her own words, described the sexual abuse she allegedly endured as a child at the hands of Allen. At the end of the letter, Farrow specifically called out celebrities who have continued to work with and champion Allen’s talent, despite the publicness of these allegations. “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?” Farrow asked. “Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?” (Allen has continued to deny Farrow’s allegations.)
Cate Blanchett responded vaguely and delicately when she was asked about Farrow’s allegations at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. But Alec Baldwin, who has never been delicate with words, had stronger words for Twitter followers who said he owed Farrow an apology. “What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family’s personal struggle?” he tweeted angrily to one. To another follower he responded, “You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family’s issue.” Both tweets have since been deleted. Keep reading »
(Trigger Warning: Discussion of incest and childhood sexual abuse.)
The greatest gift my father gave me was a passion for art. As a pianist and composer with a Master’s degree in Musicology, he infused our home with creativity throughout my childhood. He encouraged me to find my own outlet; instead of sports teams and debate club, my extracurricular activities included violin lessons, piano lessons, drawing classes, painting classes, dance classes, theater camp, and color guard practice. You name it, I tried it.
The day we discovered my true passion was the day my father brought home a video camera. As I started to experiment with filmmaking as a medium of expression, he shared with me his advice about being an artist: “Never compromise your artistic vision for mainstream success.” “Art should never be restricted to those who can afford museum admission or concert tickets – create art that can be accessible to the public.” “Look for the art around you in every day life and draw inspiration from it.” “Let art drive everything else in your life.”
My memory of my childhood is hazy, so I can’t remember if our talks about art started before or after my father molested me. It happened so casually, so blatantly, that I assumed it was normal, loving behavior. Given the way he would constantly praise my appearance, talk openly and explicitly about sex, and encourage me to feel comfortable walking around naked in front of him, I did not realize that what happened to me was abuse until I was an adult. Today, we no longer have a relationship. I have nightmares about hearing his voice when I pick up the phone. Looking at photographs of him makes my stomach churn. But as I write this, I am listening to one of his recordings over and over again, straining to hear the words I know he will never say. Keep reading »
“I mean, it’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family, and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace.”
Last night, the Santa Barbara Film Festival awarded Cate Blanchett the Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award for her role in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” As she made her way into the after party, Hollywood Elsewhere columnist Jeffrey Wells asked Blanchett to comment on Dylan Farrow’s first person account of the sexual abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen when she was a child. Blanchett, of course, was one of a number of actors who were specifically called out in Farrow’s heartbreaking piece. “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?” she wrote. “Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone?” Blanchett’s annoyingly careful response unfortunately suggests to me that she’s going to continue to look the other way.
As for Allen? His publicist released the following statement: Keep reading »
Today on NYTimes.com, Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, has penned an open letter about the abuse she alleges she endured as a child at the hands of Woody Allen. These abuse allegations first came to light in 1993, during the bitter custody battle between her mother and father. Allen was never prosecuted and has denied any wrongdoing. The allegations regained interest in the last few months, following a Vanity Fair profile in which Dylan was quoted discussing the abuse, and the fact that Allen received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes. During the ceremony, Dylan’s brother Ronan tweeted, “”Missed the Woody Allen tribute. Did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?” A recent piece on The Daily Beast, written by a man who did a documentary on Woody Allen, attempted to poke holes in the allegations. Dylan Farrow’s piece in The New York Times is the first time she has spoken or written publicly about the alleged abuse, in her own words. Among other things, she writes:
…when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains. Keep reading »