In 1992, filmmaker Woody Allen was accused by his daughter Dylan Farrow of molesting her. Dylan was 7 years old at the time; her adoptive mother, Mia Farrow, and Allen, who co-adopted Farrow’s children during their relationship, were about to commence what would turn out to be an acrimonious custody battle for their three children following the breakup of their long-term relationship. (The breakup followed Allen’s affair with Farrow’s daughter from an earlier marriage, Soon-Yi Previn; the two have been married since December 22, 1997, and have two adopted daughters.)
Allen was never prosecuted for the molestation charge, which he strongly denies. But Dylan — along with her mother and her brother, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow — has maintained the veracity of her account, charges that she renewed in 2014. Meanwhile, Allen’s career has not been materially harmed by the allegations; he’s continued to make about one movie every year, working with stars such as Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Justin Timberlake, Owen Wilson, Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and many, many more.
But in October 2017, sexual assault allegations took down movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, followed by a cascading series of allegations against Hollywood figures like Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis C.K., James Toback, and more that started to cut into the careers of those powerful men. It seemed inevitable that Dylan’s accusation against Allen would resurface in this new climate and that his legacy would be reevaluated.
And that’s exactly what happened. Actors who had worked with Allen began to publicly voice regret for that work within weeks of the Weinstein story, beginning with Griffin Newman, who appeared in Allen’s upcoming film A Rainy Day in New York (which was shooting when the Weinstein allegations broke in early October 2017). Many of those who’ve spoken up have pledged their salaries from the Allen projects to organizations like RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Time’s Up, a movement of powerful Hollywood women working to fight sexual harassment in their industry and beyond.
The list of the actors who have publicly repudiated their work with Allen since October 2017 is long and includes actors and actresses such as Rachel Brosnahan, Timothée Chalamet, Greta Gerwig, Rebecca Hall, David Krumholtz, Griffin Newman, Ellen Page, and Mira Sorvino.
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.
— Griffin Newman (@GriffLightning) October 14, 2017
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.
— Krumholtz (@mrDaveKrumholtz) January 5, 2018
It’s still unclear whether Dylan Farrow’s allegations against her father will bear any direct consequences for the filmmaker in the post-Weinstein era. At age 82, Allen is nearing the end of his career, which means critics and audiences are beginning to think about not just his latest film, but the legacy he will leave behind.
As cultural attitudes toward sexual harassment and assault continue to shift — and as those who speak up are celebrated, rather than viewed with suspicion — a more strenuous reevaluation of Woody Allen’s legacy may still lie ahead.