Kate Winslet has been subtly condemning her former boss, Harvey Weinstein for years. Most recently, she not only made a public statement in support of the women affected by his alleged abuse, but also admitted that she purposefully didn’t thank the disgraced producer when she accepted her Academy Award for The Reader back in 2009.
With her understanding of how Weinstein’s bad behavior has affected the women that he stands accused of assaulting, you’d think the actress would be able to put the same lens on director Woody Allen — another Hollywood heavyweight with his own damning abuse allegations against him. But, in a recent interview, the actress not only gushed over Allen, but her support of the man proves that we still have a long way to go in how we protect victims of abuse.
In 2014, Dylan Farrow, daughter of acting legend Mia Farrow, wrote an open letter published in The New York Times. In the letter, she publicly states that as a child her then-stepfather, Allen, sexually assaulted her. Although the story was intensely scrutinized by the press, nothing seemed to happen to the director, even though the Connecticut state’s attorney at the time said he had probable cause to arrest Allen and chose not to. The accusation was one of the reasons for Allen and Farrow’s acrimonious divorce.
Previous to these accusations, Allen had started a sexual relationship with Farrow’s adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. As a teen, Allen initiated the relationship, which Farrow found out about when she found nude Polaroids of her daughter in her then-husband’s possession. Previn was adopted by Farrow and her ex-husband as a child from her native Korea, something that Allen has publicly said was his doing. He told NPR in 2016 helped, “save” her from her previous life (he didn’t). Previn and Allen have since married.
In light of these very violent accusations against Allen, you’d assume that an actor as “woke” as Winslet would refuse to work with a man accused of multiple instances of child abuse, but Winslet has starred in the director’s latest movie, Wonder Wheel — a movie some critics are calling an, “uncomfortable parallel” to the director’s personal life, and she doesn’t seem bothered by it at all.
As recently as last week, Winslet was asked about working with Allen, and her response not only shows that she doesn’t seem bothered by Farrow’s accusations against her former stepparent, but that she seems clueless to what it means to be a victim of abuse. She told the Sydney Morning Herald that the director was the perfect writer of women’s characters because “I think on some level Woody [Allen] is a woman.”
In an interview in September during early press for Wonder Wheel, Winslet said of her director’s history, “I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director.”
In light of this, Farrow’s published another article, asking why Allen is continuing to get a free pass in Hollywood, where so many other abusers are falling. In the article, Farrow specifically points to actresses Greta Gerwig, Blake Lively and Winslet, all of whom can draw the line with the allegations against Weinstein but not Farrow’s abuser.
Farrow is showing her receipts, too. She calls Gerwig out for shying away from speaking about Allen while lambasting Weinstein (and also calling the former her “idol”); she reminds readers that Lively has no problem pointing the finger at Weinstein while saying of Allen, “It’s very dangerous to factor in things you don’t know anything about. I could [only] know my experience.” And of Winslet, she reminds readers exactly what the star has said about both Hollywood powerhouses accused of abuse.
Pretending that child abuse is a private family matter is one of the reasons so many child victims of abuse go without justice in their lives. Even though Allen has used the exact same intimidation tactics as Weinstein used for years (including spies, private investigators, and blacklisting), the fact that Allen’s alleged victims have been children in his home seems to be creating a disconnect to the severity of the assaults.
Allen himself was reportedly in therapy at the time of his divorce from Farrow for the inappropriate ways he was behaving with his stepdaughter on the alleged recommendation of various friends and family members. Farrow has been bravely speaking out against her stepfather for years, as has her brother, journalist Ronan Farrow.
As the #MeToo movement moves into the public consciousness more every day, and as “The Silence Breakers” have been honored as Time‘s “Person of the Year,” if we ignore the voices of children who are abused, Tarana Burke’s movement means absolutely nothing.
Because it cannot be just about powerful Hollywood actresses; it has to be about everyone.
If you or someone you know need help dealing with sexual assault, contact RAINN.
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(Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)