Why Are Hollywood’s Famous Men Refusing to Condemn Woody Allen?

Many prominent women have taken the legendary filmmaker to task over his alleged molestation of his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. The men, however, have mostly remained silent.


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

“If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film. I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again,” said Greta Gerwig during a recent interview with The New York Times, when asked about working with Woody Allen on 2012’s To Rome with Love. “Dylan Farrow’s two different pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward.”

Fans of Gerwig and her film Lady Bird breathed a sigh of relief when the interview was published, as it came only a few days after she waffled on the same question at the Golden Globes. Since the #MeToo movement began, followed by the creation of the Time’s Up initiative, many have wondered if members of Hollywood would begin to reckon with their past support of men like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski—and none more than Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter, who has penned two open letters to Hollywood asking them to reconsider their vigorous support for a man she says molested her as a child.

On the occasion of Allen being awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Globes, she wrote in The New York Times, “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? 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? Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse. So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.”  

This year, as Farrow felt Allen slipping through the cracks of the #MeToo moment of reckoning for sexual abuse in the industry, she wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “We are in the midst of a revolution. From allegations against studio heads and journalists, to hotel maids recounting abuses on the job, women are exposing the truth and men are losing their jobs. But the revolution has been selective. Why is it that Harvey Weinstein and other accused celebrities have been cast out by Hollywood, while Allen recently secured a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with Amazon, greenlit by former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price before he was suspended over sexual misconduct allegations?”

It’s true that Allen was not charged with a crime, but then, neither have most of the men who’ve been named and shamed in Hollywood. What has been documented is Allen’s history of creepy behavior toward Farrow, the fact that he sought treatment for it, and his obsession with featuring young, barely-legal women in his films. This has been enough for people to call out other men in Hollywood, but for Allen, a man whose films many A-listers still work on and have admired for decades, it’s easy enough to brush under the rug.

There have been a few notable exceptions.

Actor Griffin Newman tweeted last October, “I need to get this off my chest: I worked on Woody Allen’s next movie. I believe he is guilty. I donated my entire salary to RAINN. It’s a one scene role. I spent a month debating whether or not to quit. I deeply regret my final decision.” One month later, Ellen Page wrote a Facebook post where she apologized for working with Allen: “I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career. I am ashamed I did this. I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’ Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.” Earlier this month, David Krumholtz tweeted, “I deeply regret working with Woody Allen on Wonder Wheel. It’s one of my most heartbreaking mistakes. We can no longer let these men represent us in entertainment, politics, or any other realm. They are beneath real men.”

Since Gerwig’s statement, she’s been joined by other actors including Mira Sorvino, who wrote in HuffPost, “I will never work with him again. I am sorry it has taken me a few weeks to come out in support of you since that conversation, but it has been a process for me to own this truth and make this irrevocable break.” Rebecca Hall wrote in an Instagram post, “After reading and re-reading Dylan Farrow’s statements of a few days ago and going back and reading the older ones—I see, not only how complicated this matter is, but that my actions have made another woman feel silenced and dismissed.” Sorvino won an Oscar for her star-making turn in Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite, while Hall starred in Vicky Christina Barcelona and recently took a one-day shooting role in A Rainy Day in New York. Both Aphrodite and Barcelona were distributed by none other than Harvey Weinstein.

Aside from Krumholtz and Griffin, men have remained largely silent on Allen—much like they remained silent at the Globes. Thus far, men have left most of the Time’s Up movement to be handled by women. After social media pressure from his young fan base, however, Timothée Chalamet was the first male star of an Allen film to express regrets. The Call Me By Your Name actor pledged to donate his salary to Time’s Up, the LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN, saying, “I have been asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a film with Woody Allen last summer. I am not able to answer the question directly because of contractual obligations. But what I can say is this: I don’t want to profit from my work on the film.”

But where are the other prominent men, like Wonder Wheel star Justin Timberlake? Why aren’t the other actors in A Rainy Day in New York standing with Chalamet, like Diego Luna, Jude Law, and Liev Schrieber? Why should men fear the question? There’s no consequences for them industry-wise for shameful behavior. Take for instance Alec Baldwin, who’s reacted to the wave of actors disavowing Allen by doubling down. Via his Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation account, he tweeted, “Woody Allen was investigated forensically by two states (NY and CT) and no charges were filed. The renunciation of him and his work, no doubt, has some purpose. But it’s unfair and sad to me. I worked w WA 3 times and it was one of the privileges of my career.”

Part of the problem is how we treat men and women in the media. Women have had years where they’ve been asked nothing but who the designer of their dress is on red carpets and now they’re only asked about sexual-assault, no matter what their interview topic is. Sharon Stone could be hawking peanut M&M’s and someone would ask her about sexual-assault in Hollywood. Men, however? The question is pretty much non-existent.

We’ve spent years attempting to figure out how to ask women more. But how about we ask men anything?