“Woody Allen is a creepy, child-molesting monster who should be locked up!” “No, Mia Farrow is a lying, vengeful psychotic who brainwashed her kids!”
Thousands of such venomous comments have flooded the Internet since the 22-year-old Woody Allen abuse story came back to life. It happened after NY Times columnist Nick Kristof, a friend of Mia’s, used his blog and a column to run a letter by Dylan Farrow alleging anew that Woody, Dylan’s adoptive father with Mia, abused her when she was seven. This was followed by a counter volley of nasty accusations against Mia.
“Don’t confuse us with the facts, our minds are made up!” seems to be the prevailing sentiment on both sides. But when raw emotion replaces reason, we are all in deep trouble.
This case hit a sore spot with anyone who has been the victim of child abuse. It also raised the ire of anyone who has been falsely accused.
Those who experienced such childhood abuse had an understandable primal reaction when they read Dylan’s allegations. Too often victim’s statements of abuse are ignored, and this Allen-Farrow case has reopened a painful wound for many.
When Woody Allen dated and married Soon-Yi Previn__Farrow’s adopted daughter__people were outraged. When that was followed by Mia’s charges that he sexually molested their 7-year-old adopted daughter, that was it for me. Although a fan of Allen’s movies, I boycotted them for 10 years.
But the more I read about it recently, the more I realized it isn’t that cut-and-dried. Allen’s point-by-point response in Sunday’s Times is compelling. Meanwhile, Allen and Farrow’s adopted son Moses has come out with allegations of his own, saying his dad is innocent and his mother emotionally and physically abused him and his siblings.
Many are furious that anyone would cast doubt on Dylan’s memories of abuse. But isn’t Moses’ painful recollection of abuse at Farrow’s hands equally valid?
So what really happened here? I don’t know, and neither do you. What I do know that child custody cases can get ugly, with children often used as pawns.
The truth is that it’s hard enough to know what’s going on in our own families, let alone others. But the mob mentality on the Internet has replaced the Old West lynching party. And that’s the one ugly fact that has become all too clear.