Harsh Words

It’s important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence. So why publish an account of an old case on my blog?  Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn’t celebrity but sex abuse.

via NYTimes.com.

It’s obvious why the NYTimes is writing about this now.

Because they are hoping to circumvent the part about a fair trial.

Some people believe that, trial or no, Woody Allen should be presumed guilty – enough so to preclude him for winning career awards. He should be shunned from society.

The case could be made that this is true: Woody Allen’s relationship with the girl who eventually became his wife could be the basis of such a claim.

But sex abuse charges from people who refuse to take it to court are not.

If you want this thing public – and you want him shamed – then you’ve got to do it via due process; you can’t use your as-yet-unproven status as victim to circumvent his right to testify on his own behalf & face his accusers.

It isn’t that I like or approve of Woody Allen. I think he’s despicable.

And it isn’t that I approve of what he did, or even doubt his guilt. I’m sure he’s guilty of doing something slimy, and I heartily disapprove of doing slimy things to children.

But if you have the chance to put a criminal behind bars, and you don’t want to do it – you don’t want to face questioning; you don’t want your details to be made public; you don’t want the accused to have a chance to defend himself – then you don’t have the right to banish this person just on your say-so.

That right goes hand-in-hand with the right to endure cross-examination.

Even if you’re a crime victim.

Also: someone needs to tell Dylan Farrow’s mom that it’s unhealthy to obsess over the past, and it’s even more unhealthy to use one’s kids as weapons against one’s ex-husband. If the Farrow family wants justice, there’s only one right way to go about it, and it doesn’t involve using a son and a daughter in ways that are guaranteed to wreck everyone’s life – not just his but all of yours.

Revenge is the temptation of evil. It is different from justice. That’s exactly why due process was invented in the first place. If you want revenge, leave me out of it & take your public spectacle somewhere else.