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Sexual Assault And Celebrity

[ 406 ] February 5, 2014 |
  • If you haven’t already, you should read Greg Hanlon’s extraordinary story about Dave Megget, who is finally in jail but got away with being a serial rapist for more than a decade.  The reasons he kept getting away with it are depressingly familiar — the women he raped were sex workers or drug users or otherwise vulnerable, meaning that the victims would ultimately be put on trial.
  • I didn’t know this, but Bill Cosby has been accused multiple times of sexual assault.  Perhaps this is all an extraordinary coincidence, and he’s entirely innocent.  But that’s really not how to bet.
  • Jessica Winter makes some points about Robert Weide’s inexplicably lauded defense of Woody Allen I should have.     Not only does he spend a long time trying to argue that Allen marrying his life partner’s barely adult daughter wasn’t really as bad as all that, he then proceeds to some grotesquely sexist, passive-aggressive attacks on the sexual history of the victim’s mother, before minimizing what Allen has been accused of. And this is the kind of thing you have to consider before accepting the conclusion psychiatric panel (based on notes that were destroyed, and without the court testimony of anyone who interviewed Farrow) that that Dylan Farrow wasn’t a credible witness.  This panel exists, after all, in a world in which articles as transparently misogynist as Weide’s can get extensive praise from people with otherwise progressive politics, in which people don’t want to believe that men are sexual predators, and really don’t want to believe that wealthy celebrities are sexual predators.  It’s possible that Allen is innocent, that his willingness to push sexual boundaries in ways that show a remarkably callous indifference to the familial relationships of his loved ones did not extend to sexually assaulting the girl he was demonstrably obsessed with before his life partner discovered his affair with her daughter.  But I maintain that it’s significantly more likely that Dylan Farrow is telling the truth.

UPDATE: Molly Lambert’s piece on the controversy is excellent.

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  1. junker says:

    Does anyone know if it’s common for notes to be destroyed in this kind of case? I keep hearing people claim that the fact that the notes were destroyed is implicit evidence of wrongdoing. Are they usually destroyed?

    • Anderson says:

      I’m not clear as to the genre of the notes or when they were destroyed.

      Google yields this from the APA: “Personal working notes should be destroyed as soon as their purpose has been served, and this should be done in a systematic, routine way for all cases that clearly is not designed to avoid discovery in a specific case.”

      … What is the nature of Allen’s “obsession” with Dylan Farrow?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I should say that I’m not saying it’s evidence of wrongdoing. I’m just saying that it’s impossible to independently evaluate the credibility of the conclusions reached by the panel.

      • Denverite says:

        See, if I had seen this, I wouldn’t have put in the last paragraph!

      • ThrottleJockey says:

        What is this tap dance routine, you’re trying to do? And why? If you think the man is a rapist just come out & say it. I don’t get the insinuation campaign.

        From yesterday’s line of logic we can conclude that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick because he had consensual sex with Monical Lewinsky…Blake Edwards called and he wants his Inspector Clouseau back.

        • Larsmacomb says:

          Yes. This. This is trial by Weltanschauung, nothing more. Having clearly dispositive proof that supports a narrative is no longer essential. It does not matter if you accuse someone of being a rapist or child molester. It’s all just a game of words, right?

          This is now an active paradigm of rational choice: It is better to stand with Dylan Farrow and be proven wrong than to stand with Woody Allen and be proven wrong. The key thing is take one’s stand NOW prior to an evenhanded airing of the facts.

          Does NO ONE remember the McMartin preschool incident?

    • Denverite says:

      Depends. Twenty years ago it was routine for police investigators to destroy their notes — most departments had an “informal policy.” There’s actually been a ton of litigation over this, with most courts saying that they have to retain them for some period of time.

      It’s never been routine for psychiatrists to destroy notes, at least within several years of treatment. Indeed, destroying notes might put your license at risk. If a subsequent provider comes to you and wants the patient’s treatment history, and you can’t produce it, you can get in big trouble.

      So the answer to your question depends if you see the panel in the Allen case as more akin to a police investigation or a psychiatric endeavor. I express no opinion on that.

      I will say, however, that I am very skeptical of the argument that the panel destroyed their notes to cover up some sort of wrongdoing. I just can’t make jump from a mental health panel put together at the behest of prosecutors (who clearly had it out for Allen based on later conduct — though, of course, it doesn’t mean they were wrong to have it out for Allen), to a pro-Allen cabal secretly working on his behalf. I can buy that they were star struck; I can buy that based on the state of psychiatry at the time, they blew it. I can’t buy that they intentionally worked to scuttle any prosecution.

      • Marc says:

        That’s because you’re not reasoning backwards from a guilty verdict in the same way that Scott is.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          guilty verdict

          Reading the posts: worth trying!

          • ThrottleJockey says:

            I didn’t know this, but Bill Cosby has been accused multiple times of sexual assault. Perhaps this is all an extraordinary coincidence, and he’s entirely innocent. But that’s really not how to bet.

            I didn’t know this, but the Scottsboro Boys, all black males, have been accused multiple times of sexual assault. Perhaps this is all an extraordinary coincidence, and they’re entirely innocent. But that’s really not how to bet.

            Ummm, this shouldn’t need saying but hundreds of black men have been falsely accused of rape in this country, Scott. And, yeah, as with the Scottsboro Boys they sometimes involve multiple accusations. Candidly, this is reprehensible. How about we traffic in facts? Along those lines here are some, courtesy of the Innocence Project:

            In the history of the United States (as of June, 2011) there have been 307 post-conviction exonerations due to DNA testing.[2] According to the Innocence Project these statistics were found on those exonerated:

            *The average sentence served thirteen years.
            *70 percent exonerated are a part of minority groups.

            So, maybe the next time you wanna accuse a black man of rape you cite some real evidence–a trial transcript, a police report, a rape kit–as opposed to tripe from some online tabloid.

            • Ronan says:

              Oh FFS, what an awful historical analogy. Im not sure what your point is, isnt the point that cosby was ACCUSSED , not convicted. So whether the US justice system is skewed against African Americans is kind of irrelevant at this point
              Youre just doubting the accussers b/c, afaics, one should never believe an accussation leveled against a black male, because of historical injustices. ??
              Thats straight up stupid

              • ThrottleJockey says:

                No, I’m saying accusing a black man of rape is the oldest trick in the “How to Fuck Up a Nigger’s Life” Book.

                So if you’re going to insinuate that he’s a fucking rapist, then trot out some fucking evidence not some goddamned bullshit.

                This charge is so fucking weak that Charmin wouldn’t sell it to wipe your ass with because its too fucking thin.

                • Ronan says:

                  The charge might be weak, im not really speaking to the specifics of Cosby, but i still think the logic behind your comment is a little problematic. Id assume (based on social networks etc) that the people most likely to be sexually assaulted by black men *are black women.*
                  He WAS accussed by multiple women and, although Im not sure about the race of the accussers, Im slightly wary about dismissing their accussations straight of. Particularly if its coming from groups *more* marginalised than black men.

                  It also *didnt* fuck up his life (its pretty much been unnoticed) so that should raise its own questions

                • Ronan says:

                  but look,im not speaking to the Cosby case as I havet to the Allen case b/c I dont know, im just saying generally

                • Anonymous says:

                  NIne of the accusers are Jane Does in the Cosby case, according to Smoking Gun files. It’s more than probable that at least several of the women are black. (The one’s who’ve had the balls to come forward are white.) But black women are shit in this country and crimes against them are always racist conspiracies. Cf R. Kelly.

                  You should be ashamed of yourself, dude.

                • ThrottleJockey says:

                  This ain’t Algebra, there’s no formula for deciding which marginalized minority group will get shafted. For example in a case at Hofstra University a black woman accused 5 black men of rape & the cops arrested them, the DA charged them, and the jailers jailed them before realizing the 5 were innocent: http://gothamist.com/2009/09/18/details_about_hofstra_students_fake.php

                  So the best thing is to exercise some responsibility.

            • pseudalicious says:


              hundreds of black men have been falsely accused of rape

              hundreds of black men have been falsely accused of rape of white women

              FTFY. When it’s black women, no one gives a goddamn. Bill Cosby knows it. R. Kelly knows it. They choose their victims well.

          • Larsmacomb says:

            Dude. I really love your blog and I would even donate money to it if you were you to have the sort of needs that motivate Digby and others toward fundraisers.

            But YOU ARE working to create impression that a dispositive case has been made by Mia, Ronan, and Dylan Farrow when all we have, at the moment, is a narrative. In the McMartin preschool case, there were corroborated testimonies of children alleging very specific things about the touches, invasions, and so forth. There were vivid images of molestation that came from the “remembered” episodes. Dylan’s NYT letter offers no such detail. She tells us that “he sexually assaulted me” and then tells us that she is sickened by remembering the times and remembering Woody.

            I believe her. That is, I believe that she feels ALL of this. But there is nothing in this account or in the nature of remembered first person narrative of childhood trauma that should merit the exclusion of Allen’s testimony that molestation did not occur.

            Woody Allen was probably a pretty shitty parent, all things considered. But I also I have no doubt that Mia Farrow falls into the same camp. When an intellectual talks about issues such as this, tap dancing around the elegant philosophical underpinnings of the legal presumption of innocence–particularly when applies to accusations of rape, murder, and sexual molestation–is to engage in character assassination. Be careful of the loaded weapons you are playing with.

            • Anderson says:

              I agree with this, except that Dylan has made some specific claims recently IIRC – sniffing her through her underwear was the grossest, I think.

              • Larsmacomb says:

                I do the laundry in my house. Sniffing underwear or socks to see if they have been worn is, alas, part of the job (it’s not always obvious if the garments are old). Getting pleasure from it qualifies as a paraphilia, the contemporary word for “perversion.” But it’s not molestation. My problem is that there is a mob who wants to tattoo “child molester” and “criminal” on someone’s persona.

                Can we all concede that Allen is creepy? And can we all accept that creepy does not equal child molester unless some dispositive evidence of the crime can be presented?

      • Ed says:

        I can’t buy that they intentionally worked to scuttle any prosecution.

        I’m not aware that anyone has ever claimed that, nor did the judge suggest that at the time. He simply noted that there were no notes for him to review.

  2. LeeEsq says:

    High status and income people tend to get away with crimes more than anybody else because of that status. I think its especially bad when the high status person is an artist of some some sort because lots people handwave away because artists are assumed to be above “conventional morality” or say that there are justifies it.

    I think that the current issue under debate is whether or not its acceptable to enjoy and appreciate the works of an artist despite their crimes or beliefs. My general argument is that the art should be separated from the art work and one can like a Roman Polanski movie even though Roman Polanski needs to face trial and receive punishment for the crimes he committed. Likewise, you can go to Wagner or the recently departed Bakara despite their Jew-hatred.

    • Jason says:

      Just to nitpick, Roman Polanski did face trial and plead guilty. He then fled the country rather than face his sentence.

    • Pat says:

      Or you have guys like Sandusky, who found and support charities that benefit poor children. That he did so to get access to vulnerable boys was not evident to most people.

    • CaptainBringdown says:

      My general argument is that the art should be separated from the art work …

      I agree, in general. However in Allen’s case, it’s tricky because it’s really hard to separate the man from his work in a great many of his films.

      • Ann Outhouse says:

        After they’re dead. I don’t have a problem with Wagner because he’s not earning royalties. But I’m not going to help finance Allen and Polanski’s sex lives. Or legal teams.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that the current issue under debate is whether or not its acceptable to enjoy and appreciate the works of an artist despite their crimes or beliefs.

      Really? A woman says she was molested, her mother claims she was gaslighted, the named molester has his buddy cry Crazy Bitches R Out to Get Us, but the most pressing issue is whether or not you can play with your toys? Dude, speaking on behalf of the people who believe her: have your fucking toys. Enjoy them. Nobody cares about your feelings or guilt.

      • GeoX says:

        Man, I bet THAT felt good to write! Self-righteousness is a helluva drug.

      • I don’t know what you expect the general public to do other than refuse to watch Allen’s films. We can’t do anything to bring criminal charges against him. We can’t do anything to make him liable under a lawsuit. Is the point just to determine whether he is guilty or not? Are there any actions that should emerge from that determination?

  3. Gregor Sansa says:

    Things we could do about this, assuming (as I do) that Farrow is at least not intentionally lying.

    1. Decide Allen is guilty. Deplore him and all his work, abjure the “I have XXX right here” meme, etc.

    2. Decide Allen is guilty. Continue enjoying his movies as a guilty pleasure. (Certainly not an option for some, but possible for others)

    3. Decide he may or may not be guilty, but do 1 for safety.

    4. Maybe guilty, still watch.

    5. Presume innocence, but avoid blaming Farrow.

    6. Blame Farrow. (Reprehensible in my book.)

    Personally, even though I agree with Lemieux that chances are greater than 50/50 that he’s guilty, I lean towards option 4. I imply no criticism of anybody who chooses anything 1-5.

    • pete says:

      In re: 5 & 6, which Farrow? (This implies the existence of at least one other option.)

      • NewishLawyer says:

        As far as I can tell, everyone has been placing the “blame” on Mia if they are defending Allen and not Farrow.

        Then again, I see very few people defending Allen except the Daily Beast guy and now his son. I see a lot of people saying that they don’t know whether Allen is guilty or not and citing the lack of a conviction and other things as evidence not to join the court of public opinion.

        There needs to be room for staying neutral or saying “I don’t know” in the court of public opinion without being perceived as a supported of the opposing side in whatever debate is going on.

    • Jason says:

      I would understand any option of 1-5. 6 is awful.
      I also find

      7. Decide Allen is guilty and that anyone working with him/watching his films is enabling a rapist to be a not great option (but maybe true. aaaaaaagh).

      • NewishLawyer says:

        Does reading or peforming Bakara poetry and plays enable Jew-hatred?

        I think we largely need make this a matter of individual consciousness and not a matter of societal responsibility.

        • CaptBackslap, YOLO Edition says:

          If people just can’t get past what an artist has done, then it’s reasonable to avoid that artist’s work–feeling conflicted and icky about something can easily trump enjoyment of the work itself. But I certainly can’t see any moral dimension to it, because there’s just no salient effect.

          • Anderson says:

            The classic hypo is, what if we find out Shakespeare liked to rape little kids?

            It would be very odd to argue that all the plays, etc. suddenly lost their literary value.

            OTOH, it would not be odd to go “ugh, I’m not reading that guy.”

        • Tucker says:

          It’s Baraka. I would make some comment about implied racism but I will refrain.

    • Dan Koffler says:

      I’m somewhere between #3 and #4, but I’d like to add that what’s pertinent about the fact that Soon-Yi Previn was 19 when her relationship with Allen began is not that this makes this relationship not “as bad as all that.” Rather, regardless of where it falls on any scale of moral wrongness, Allen’s sexual relationship with a physically mature adult at least marginally decreases the likelihood of his having pedophilic desires. This is particularly true given the reckless and nature of that relationship and how broadly and deeply it endangered his own interests — in other words, it was clearly not a masquerade meant to hide some darker impulse, as the socially sanctioned adult relationships some pedophiles enter into can serve to do.

      Also, the only new information to come out of any of the recent articles on Allen and the Farrows is that Moses Farrow has recanted his previous support for his mother and sister’s claims, and now alleges that he was the victim of what amounts to a long campaign of psychological and emotional abuse and conditioning on the part of his mother. That seems important. (At least if Weide’s characterization of what Moses Farrow told him is correct.)

      • Dan Koffler says:

        And also — and please correct me if I’m wrong — but my understanding of what we know about the psychology of pedophilia is that one time offenders are essentially non-existent. That is, if Allen is guilty of assaulting Dylan, there are almost certainly multiple other instances of abuse of which he is guilty.

        • Nick says:

          This is the danger of yakking as a non-specialist. The whole idea ‘Allen is a pedophile’ is a huge jump. Maybe his pathology is different — he gets off on incest. Maybe he gets off on pushing sexual boundaries. Either of those would put Soon-Yi and Dylan into the same category. Why assume pedophilia?

        • gmack says:

          This issue was discussed in the earlier thread. Shorter version: the assumption that we often make that sexual assaults on young children is often done by pedophiles (i.e., those who have abnormal attraction to pre-pubescent children) appears to be false. Some people have a proclivity toward sexual assault, and their targets are usually targets of opportunity. (So for instance, it’s not uncommon for abuse to start in smaller children but then continue well through adolescence).

          • Nick says:

            Thank you, this is what I mean, but with reason and evidence (if the earlier thread rises to that standard).

            • Egg MacGuffin says:

              There was another commenter making the exact opposite claim, so without links to scholarly articles there’s really nothing more we can say.

              • Lee Rudolph says:

                I made (with lots of hedging) “the exact opposite claim” (others may have done so as well), and have been trying intermittently since then to find what I believed my source to have been, so far without success (but also without finding direct contradictions). My searches to date have been confined to the Sage journal Sexual Abuse but if I keep failing there I may move on to Archives of Sexual Behavior. Mainly what I’ve (re)learned is that one keyword (taken from general criminology) is “versatility”, should anyone else want to do a more general (say, Google Scholar) search.

                Since I have other tasks to perform, I will tentatively withdraw my claim, without endorsing its opposite.

                • Egg MacGuffin says:

                  It’s definitely believable that the categories of “sexual abusers of children” and “pedophiles” are somewhat distinct categories, and the idea that abuse would start in childhood and continue into young adulthood certainly jibes with stories I’ve heard. But saying that applies to this case because of Soon-Yi is stretch, and that’s where the discussion came about.

                • gmack says:

                  If you can find the source(s) you’re thinking of, please post it.

                  Also just to make a general point: One issue I have with this discussion is that it is too fixated on Allen’s guilt or innocence. Since none of us are on a jury, and are not faced with questions of whether to do business with Allen personally, I just don’t think that question is altogether helpful. Of far greater importance, in my view, is a larger conversation about how our culture deals (or more often, fails to deal) with allegations of sexual abuse. And in particular, I think it’s far more important to talk about how our responses to such allegations can sometimes re-traumatize victims (as some have argued the initial investigation into the allegations may have done) and discourage others from speaking about their own experiences. None of us may know what happened in the Allen case (personally, I’m far more suspicious of Allen than I was a few days ago), but this broader conversation is still worth having.

                • cer says:

                  I wholeheartedly agree with gmack’s point about the problem with focusing exclusively on Allen. This piece by Atrios hit home, especially this bit:

                  We’re simultaneously a country of people who think child molesters are the worst people in the world, and a country of people who, to a surprising degree, dismiss and minimize accusations of molestation, at least when leveled against the right people.

                  I’d say it doesn’t always have to be against the right people. In spite of all the moral panic around children’s sexuality, claims of abuse are likely to be met with incredulity: “Are you sure that’s right?” “Did you maybe misunderstand?” “Are you trying to get attention?” “Are you mad at x?”

                • Nathan of Perth says:

                  I don’t think the fact that we treat child molesters as the very worst of the worst and the fact we dismiss or shy away from the accusations is either surprising or unrelated to each other. In fact, it is expressly the weight of opprobrium we heap on child molesters that leads to the latter. The act of leveling the accusation marks the person so accused as being so evil that it touches everyone associated with them, so to take credibly an accusation against someone you connect with (and this works for a celebrity whose works people enjoy, because people who express themselves by their tastes in entertainment are vulnerable to this) is an act of tainting oneself. In the absence of incontrovertible proof, no one wants to take on that burden.

                  It’s one of those irrational behaviours society has confounded itself in. In its own way, the desire to appear pious by holding these crimes as especially heinous when discussed in the abstract makes it very hard for people to address them in the practical. This is what led to people during Polanski’s return to media infamy recently trotting out such incredible feats of moral/logical gymnastics as “was it rape-rape?”.

      • kc says:

        now alleges that he was the victim of what amounts to a long campaign of psychological and emotional abuse and conditioning on the part of his mother

        And physical abuse.

        And I was reminded by a recent article that Soon-Yi said, back when this was unfolding, that Farrow physically attacked her and hit her with a chair.

        • aimai says:

          I think what bugs me about all this is that if Mia Farrow were a crazy person, with tendencies towards violence, then Woody Allen is at least as guilty as she is of everything that transpired in the household w/r/t the children and his relationship with Soon-Yi is, if anything, more culpable because it included the neglect and rejection of all the other children.

          Let me unpack this a bit. I read all this crap when it first came out and also re-read it after Dylan’s letter and, speaking as a mother, I’m horrified that Farrow didn’t find out what was going on sooner and didn’t protect the kids sooner. It was an enormous and chaotic household and she continued adopting special needs children right through the summer the household was breaking up. Then I asked myself what special duties I thought Farrow had to all those children that Woody Allen didn’t, too? Even if you accept this weird notion that Allen was “just Soon Yi’s mother’s Boyfriend” he was a frequent occupant, paid for half the kid’s schooling, was the mother’s sole employer. Allen definitionally abused all those relationships when he took up with Soon Yi.

          He’s a grown fucking man. He could have had an affair with anyone. Even if Soon Yi was technically “of age” he had known her since she was an incredibly vulnerable, wounded, child adoptee. The morally correct attitude of a functional adult male to the adopted child of his mistress/employee is to keep his fucking hands to himself. This isn’t rocket science.

          A fixation on the ages of the people involved, or their precise legal relationship, is so besides the point i can’t even. People who are family friends don’t do this crap, ok? Much less people who are adopted parents of family members. And if they do we quite properly find them at fault. Only the mantle of artistic genius protects Allen from being acknowledged to be the creepy, asshole, neighbor/boss that his actions indicate he was.

          • kc says:

            Woody Allen was an asshole, no doubt about it. I wouldn’t dispute that. If anybody deserved to get hit with a chair, it would be him.

            • kc says:

              On second thought, especially given some of my own comments in this thread, I don’t want to diminish Soon-Yi’s agency.

              Chair-whipping for the both of them, then.

          • Medicine Man says:

            One of many things about Woody Allen that is a yellow flag is his wrong-footing the guardian/ward relationship.

          • brewmn says:

            Couldn’t agree with this comment more. That the people arguing that Soon-Yi was a “mature woman” who had “agency” don’t see this aspect of her relationship with Allen is bizarre to the point of being sickening.

    • pete says:

      I should have been more specific. I do think that blaming Mia Farrow is on the list of options. Blaming Dylan Farrow is completely reprehensible: she was a kid and either she was coached or she is telling the truth.

      Woody is and always has been screwed up (incidentally I like only some of his work and seriously dislike some of it). Mia is also, and always has been, screwed up (evidenced by her relationships with Previn, Sinatra and Allen); I don’t blame her for maintaining her friendship with Polanski, because friendship is important to me, but it’s pretty weird under the circumstances.

      • aimai says:

        How is Mia Farrow’s relationships with older men “screwed up” but their relationships with her totally normal? And how does her relationship with older men somehow excuse Allen’s hebephilia and abuse of trust with her daughter Soon Yi?

        • Tom Servo says:

          How is Mia Farrow’s relationships with older men “screwed up” but their relationships with her totally normal?

          This is off-base. He didn’t suggest they weren’t screwed up. The incredibly obvious answer is that this has to do with the Farrows and Allen. You can point out that Farrow was in an odd relationship or two with older men without some sort of obligatory tangent about “hey by the way it was screwed up for them too” without suggesting the contrary. I mean, it’s just incredibly silly to suggest otherwise.

    • kc says:

      7. Conclude that we don’t know, based on the available evidence, and keeping in mind that these allegations were thoroughly investigated at the time, and move the fuck on already.

      • jim, some guy in iowa says:

        that really fucks up the ability to generate 450+ comment threads of fact, speculation and people talking rather irately right past each other

      • Warren Terra says:

        I’m pretty much in favor of moving on (on the grounds that I have no ability to determine what the truth is). But if you and I are reading and commenting in these threads, how much are we really moving on?

        • kc says:

          You’re right. I find myself reading even though I know better, and between all the wingnuts on my FB feed ranting about Woody Allen, filthy Hollywood pervert, and progressive sites talking about rape culture, and the so-called news sites headlining the latest tweets, it’s all over the Internet. At least the parts of the Internet I look at routinely.

          But I should tear myself away. It’s a trainwreck. Reading about it is unedifying, and commenting on it is really unproductive, to say the least.

    • wr says:

      I think you left out #7 — Realize that you will never know the truth, and that whatever happened actually doesn’t concern you in any way and go on with your life. It’s a shocking concept in these internet days, I know, but just because we have this fabulous tool connecting us we don’t all have to turn into Glady Kravitz.

    • Larsmacomb says:

      Gregor, you are probably the sort of person I would agree with quite often on a great many things. However, your list is nonsense and should be ignored as having any sort of analytical relevance.

      Why not conclude that Allen was not a good father, had some odd moments with Dylan Farrow that did not rise to the level of molestation, and became embroiled in an ugly public split with Mia Farrow and her children? Is it beyond comprehension that a scared and confused child, deeply and emotionally bonded to her mother, might have been highly vulnerable to her mother’s wild suggestions? Is it beyond comprehension that Mia Farrow was as strange and histrionic a mother as Woody was a clumsy and inappropriate father?

      Accusing someone of molestation–rich, poor, famous, unknown–is a very serious charge. The stigma is unwashable. Do you really not give a shit that your factsw are not in order when you start tossing around possibilities like those enumerated in your list?

      And what is the basis for suggesting “chances are greater than 50/50 that he’s guilty.” Have you been working secretly with Nate Silver? Last I checked, Silver was much more comfortable playing with pro sports.

      • Anderson says:

        “Accusing someone of molestation–rich, poor, famous, unknown–is a very serious charge. The stigma is unwashable. Do you really not give a shit that your factsw are not in order when you start tossing around possibilities like those enumerated in your list?”

        Yep. This is why “more likely than not” is an awful standard here – and I don’t see how the allegation even rates that high. If Allen is guilty, he deserves much worse. But if he’s not, then how incredibly awful for him, as anyone with imagination should be able to grasp: being falsely accused of molesting a child?

  4. Marc says:

    We get that you are disgusted by Allen’s relationship with his now-wife. It doesn’t follow that he’s a pedophile. At least you’re admitting that there is evidence against your prejudices before waving your hand and dismissing it because it points to a conclusion that you don’t like. Progress!

    • Anderson says:

      Yeah, this -

      his willingness to push sexual boundaries in ways that show a remarkably callous indifference to the familial relationships of his loved ones

      - proves entirely too much. Apparently his loved ones weren’t so loved any more, and “but that would hurt people’s feelings!” is not usually taken as an absolute bar to a romantic relationship.

      Also, given that Allen and Previn have stayed together this long, I think you have to take into account that there was a genuine mutual affection there.

      Why is Soon-Yi Previn not treated here as a moral agent? Why is it all what Allen alone “did to” Mia Farrow & family?

      • Dan Koffler says:

        Why is Soon-Yi Previn not treated here as a moral agent?

        Yeah, this completely.

        • Dilan Esper says:

          I agree that Soon-Yi is entitled to be treated as a moral agent and we have to be careful about descriptions of her relationship with Woody that make it sound like old-style patriarchal “alienation of affection” cases where Woody “steals her away” from Mia.

          But I think the correct way to understand the Soon-Yi point isn’t to trash her relationship with Woody– I sincerely hope she is content and is living the life she wishes to leave– but to comment on what Woody’s interest in and conduct towards Soon-Yi, combined with other evidence, says about the likelihood of Woody having committed the acts against Dylan he is accused of.

          If I can draw an imperfect analogy, I don’t think people should talk about Bill Clinton “preying” upon a young intern when discussing the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Monica Lewinsky has moral agency. But if someone wants to talk about Bill Clinton being a womanizer or having the proclivity to cheat on his wife, or to pursue women he meets through his work, or something similar, one can certainly bring up Monica in that discussion.

          • Dan Koffler says:

            I think the logic regarding Bill Clinton makes sense, but I don’t think it applies to the Allen/Farrow/Previn case because Allen’s sexual interest in a physically mature woman — however recklessly and immorally acted upon — in no way implies a sexual interest in a child.

            (There do seem to be a fair amount of independent claims that Allen had what was at best an odd and creepy interest in Dylan, though I have no idea how credible they are.)

            • Dilan Esper says:

              Well, the thing is, there’s a dispute about how old Soon-Yi was when he first showed interest, there’s the fact that the relationship was quasi-incestuous (and of course, any molestation of Dylan would be fully incestuous), and there’s the fact that he has expressed interest in a bunch of other young girls over the years, sometimes underage young girls.

              So fitting the Soon-Yi thing within that whole pattern of conduct makes it more relevant to his motives.

              • Dan Koffler says:

                there’s a dispute about how old Soon-Yi was when he first showed interest

                Is there? The Allen/Previn relationship is often popularly conflated with Dylan Farrow’s allegations, but I’m unaware of any account, including Mia Farrow’s own, according to which Allen and Previn were ever involved except under legal adult auspices.

                the fact that the relationship was quasi-incestuous (and of course, any molestation of Dylan would be fully incestuous)

                This is very slippery. Most instances of incest involve either pedophilic or ephebophilic abuse, but they are categorically distinct issues. Even if we stipulate to the incestuousness of the Allen/Previn relationship, pedophilia is a distinct mental disorder with clear diagnostic criteria and there is no feature of the Allen/Previn relationship from which an increased likelihood that Allen is a pedophile. Adult siblings involved with each other consensually are not more likely than anyone else to be pedophiles.

                the fact that he has expressed interest in a bunch of other young girls over the years, sometimes underage young girls.

                The specific ages are important here. The instances where Allen’s expression of interest is in “overage girls” have nothing whatsoever to do with the possibility of his sexual interest in a child. Likewise, from what I know of the literature, the abusers who target pubescent and post-pubescent children are overwhelmingly a different population from those who target pre-pubescent children.

                So fitting the Soon-Yi thing within that whole pattern of conduct

                Except that it doesn’t fit. Now, the claims that Allen took an obsessive interest in Dylan and escalated his physical contact with her over a long period of time do fit the standard profile of pedophilia. But Soon-Yi Previn has nothing to do with that.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  This is very slippery. Most instances of incest involve either pedophilic or ephebophilic abuse, but they are categorically distinct issues.

                  Defenders of people accused of pedophilia often say things like this, but repeating it doesn’t make it true. Roman Polanski raped and sodomized a 13 year old and also had an interest in older teenagers. Absent any sort of science, I am not inclined to accept that an unlawful, inappropriate, creepy, and evil interest in underage high school-age girls has no correlation whatsoever with an unlawful, inappropriate, creepy, and evil interest in pubescent or pre-pubescent girls.

                  The specific ages are important here. The instances where Allen’s expression of interest is in “overage girls” have nothing whatsoever to do with the possibility of his sexual interest in a child.

                  That’s not true. He expressed sexual thoughts about 12 year olds in his People magazine interview.

                  Again, I don’t think the specific ages are important here, absent actual science that says that people who rape 17 year olds don’t also rape 7 year olds. And I have never seen anything that proves that It certainly is a talking point used by pedophile-defenders, but that doesn’t make it true.

                • cer says:

                  Likewise, from what I know of the literature, the abusers who target pubescent and post-pubescent children are overwhelmingly a different population from those who target pre-pubescent children.

                  This is true of people properly characterized as pedophiles, who have a primary interest in prepubescent children. It is not true of the majority of sexual offenders. This primer briefly mentions the distinction between preference for children and capacity to abuse children which is a distinction made in the literature. Anecdotally this fits with my experience and the narratives of many individuals I know who experienced sexual abuse over a period of time that started as pre-pubescents but did not end as they matured. It is disturbingly not uncommon for victims of childhood abuse to be propositioned by their abusers as adults.

                • Egg MacGuffin says:

                  Your language is so loaded, it makes me want to gag.

                  Absent any sort of science, I am not inclined to accept that an unlawful, inappropriate, creepy, and evil interest in underage high school-age girls has no correlation whatsoever with an unlawful, inappropriate, creepy, and evil interest in pubescent or pre-pubescent girls.

                  Why stop there? Why not just say, “any man who is sexually interested in an adult woman is also interested in molesting infants”. You’ve never seen the science disputing that, so why not just throw it out here?

                  Again, I don’t think the specific ages are important here, absent actual science that says that people who rape 17 year olds don’t also rape 7 year olds. And I have never seen anything that proves that

                  If the specific ages aren’t important, why lie about Soon-Yi’s age? She was either 19 or 21. And why use the word rape? This is gross.

                  It certainly is a talking point used by pedophile-defenders, but that doesn’t make it true.

                  aaaaand scene.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  Why stop there? Why not just say, “any man who is sexually interested in an adult woman is also interested in molesting infants”.

                  Because there’s a common thread with the others that stops when we start talking about adults. And that is, for lack of a better term, R. Kelly’s espoused belief that Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.

                  (And there’s a second common thread with Allen involving members of his family.)

                  If the specific ages aren’t important, why lie about Soon-Yi’s age? She was either 19 or 21. And why use the word rape? This is gross.

                  As I said above, there is a dispute as to when Allen started becoming interested in Soon-Yi. The Farrow side does not at all concede that it didn’t happen until she was 19.

                  Further, Allen did statutorily rape a 17 year old in the 1970′s, and he fantasized in People about statutorily raping 12 year olds as well.

                • junker says:

                  Further, Allen did statutorily rape a 17 year old in the 1970′s, and he fantasized in People about statutorily raping 12 year olds as well.

                  As a technical note, the age of consent where the relationship took place was 17. One might still think this was wrong, but it wasn’t statutory rape.

              • John (not McCain) says:

                Was Soon-Yi at least 18 when Allen took the naked pictures of her that set off the whole scandal back in the 90s?

                • Rigby Reardon says:

                  Almost certainly. Her birth records were destroyed or unavailable or something, but the consensus is that she was somewhere between 19 and 21 years old.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  It’s far from certain. As I said above, the Farrow camp does not concede that point.

        • postmodulator says:

          I read this thing once — it doesn’t really affect how I feel about Allen/Dylan, but when Mia Farrow found the infamous nude pictures of Soon-Yi, one of the things she said to Soon-Yi was something along the lines of “And I’m his girlfriend.”

          And Soon-Yi is supposed to have responded “I believe the girlfriend is the one who is sleeping with him.”

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        The idea that if you think it’s deeply wrong to use your life partner’s kids as a dating pool you’re denying Soon-Yi moral agency is just a bizarre non-sequitur.

        • lawguy says:

          One kid, I think. Other than as has been said elsewhere, the ick factor, his relationship with Soon-Yi has nothing to do with the allegations of rape of a 7 year old.

          • potsherds says:

            the ick factor

            Can we define this phrase too, folks?

            I want to know where ‘creepy’ and ‘ick-factor’ lie on the scale compared to ‘predatory’.

            Or is ‘ick-factor’ actually a scale itself? Is 5 icks creepy and 20 icks predatory?

        • cpinva says:

          “The idea that if you think it’s deeply wrong to use your life partner’s kids as a dating pool you’re denying Soon-Yi moral agency is just a bizarre non-sequitur.”

          call me old fashioned, but as far as I know, a “life partner” is someone you’re married to, in the commonly accepted definition of the term. I have no idea why ms. farrow, sr. and mr. allen never married, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that at least one of them didn’t consider it to be a “life partnership”.

          • cer says:

            They co-adopted children which seems like a very significant commitment, moreso than marriage as you are legally tied to one another forever.

            • Kurzleg says:

              Mia Farrow has adopted 11 kids on total, so I don’t get the impression that adoption was a mutual thing while with Woody.

              • Breadbaker says:

                And of course she strongly implies she was also sleeping around with Barbara Sinatra’s husband.

              • cer says:

                Not sure I follow here. Since they were not legally married, Allen had to initiate a second and very involved process in order to adopt Moses and Dylan. So this was not Mia’s thing she did while he was away, he actively co-adopted children. Now, granted, he was also screwing Dylan and Moses’s sister while going through this legal process, but I can’t imagine adopting a child with someone without some sense of commitment.

                I’m with Scott, though, the claim that Woody and Mia were just a casual thing because they never got married is absurd on its face.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            call me old fashioned, but as far as I know, a “life partner” is someone you’re married to,

            This is deeply strange. Surely, the term applies to people in a long-term commitment who aren’t married — otherwise, why not just say “married?”

          • Popeye says:

            One of the weird things in the Weide article was the assurance that Farrow and Allen weren’t even living together, combined with the assurance that the adoption agencies really vetted them thoroughly so there was no way anything untoward could have happened, combined with the assurance that Mia Farrow is a crazy bitch.

            Oh, and the claustrophobia. “How could Allen have molested Dylan in the attic? He’s *famously* claustrophobic!”

  5. Dilan Esper says:

    The only serious doubt I carry about Woody Allen molesting Dylan is that I know false charges get thrown around sometimes in divorce and child custody cases, and given how offended Mia must have been with the Soon-Yi thing, it’s at least the sort of case where that could happen.

    But in my mind, the evidence is still very strong that he did it. Dylan has now consistently alleged it for 20 years. Allen was in therapy for inappropriate conduct with her. He expressed interest in underage girls for years.

    • John (not McCain) says:

      The fact that he wasn’t investigated shortly after the premiere of Manhattan suggests how different the past was from the present.

    • Larsmacomb says:

      Consistently charging someone of something–even when your charges are confirmed by polygraphs and other psychological stress evaluators–does not mean that the allegations actually occurred. As a matter of fact, retelling the same story over and over vivifies the narrative in consciousness.

      • Dilan Esper says:

        Oh come on! So telling the same consistent story is evidence of the story’s falsity?

        Again, this is rape culture at work.

        • The Emperor Constantine says:

          Consistency of a story across multiple retellings is not evidence of a story’s falsity, nor of its truth; it does tend to indicate (I won’t say it’s “evidence”) that the story’s been told several times.

        • Larsmacomb says:

          You need to pay close attention to what I said. I said that telling a story and retelling it is not prima facie evidence of a story’s truth. I never used the word “false” or “lie” or “fabrication.” Having a story, however, is not evidence that an accused is guilty.

          The brain is not video recorder. Narrative closure COMMONLY results in storytellers including elements not present and excluding elements that were present. It has more to do with why people get wrongly convicted of crimes than premeditated conspiracies of prosecutors and investigators.

  6. Anderson says:

    Now, this at Grantland sounds pretty bad:

    [Maureen] Orth says sources told her that Allen openly preferred Dylan to any of the other children in the Allen-Farrow household. Friends noticed how “Woody, wearing just underwear, would take Dylan to bed with him and entwine his body around hers; or that he would have her suck his thumb; or that often when Dylan went over to his apartment he would head straight for the bedroom with her so they could get into bed and play.”

    But who told Orth this? You look at the VF article (I won’t link so this comment doesn’t get blocked; you can google easily with the foregoing language) and it just says “several sources.” Those are some pretty heavy accusations to farm out anonymously.

    • Denverite says:

      Yikes. With the caveat that the “sources” could be friends or family of Farrow, this is damning. I have a daughter about that age and wouldn’t dream of letting her sleep with me alone (or with both of us, but that’s more for space issues).

      • potsherds says:

        “Yikes. With the caveat that the “sources” could be friends or family of Farrow, this is damning.”

        Could you explain how believing friends of the Previn/Farrow family describing behaviour in the house they purportedly witnessed is more biased than believing Allen’s claim that he wasn’t ever fatherly towards Soon-Yi and hardly ever saw her before he started having sex with her?

        Or would you equally question both of those claims? If you would give more weight to one over the other, why?

        • Denverite says:

          I don’t really know what you’re asking. I give Allen’s self-serving claims regarding Soon-Yi virtually no credence. People accused of wrongdoing have an enormous incentive to lie.

          • potsherds says:

            I give Allen’s self-serving claims regarding Soon-Yi virtually no credence.

            Ok, that’s what I thought. I apologize if I came across as accusing you of giving greater weight to Allen’s self-serving claims. I asked you, because you made sure to inherently question the claims by friends of the Farrow/Previn family (and also, I think the childrens’ therapist), which is reasonable, but also a good jumping-off point for my question.
            So many, many people have used Allen’s own claims of his familial relationship with Soon-Yi as a solid pillar of defense for him.

            • cpinva says:

              “So many, many people have used Allen’s own claims of his familial relationship with Soon-Yi as a solid pillar of defense for him.”

              that whole situation definitely creeped me out, when I first was made aware of it. that she wasn’t blood related to mr. allen doesn’t negate the fact that, from the time she joined the family, until taking up with mr. allen, he was (for better or worse) the sole father figure in her life.

              the problem I’m having is, how mr. allen’s (admittedly noxious) relationship with a young adult soon-yi previn conflates with him also being a sexual abuser of under age children, family or not. honestly, I’m not being intentionally obtuse, this just seems (to me,anyway) a huge leap of logic.

        • Bob Loblaw says:

          is more biased than believing Allen’s claim that he wasn’t ever fatherly towards Soon-Yi and hardly ever saw her before he started having sex with her?

          Well, I give it some credence because it’s my understanding that Mia Farrow doesn’t dispute it.

          • potsherds says:

            Well, I give it some credence because it’s my understanding that Mia Farrow doesn’t dispute it.

            I’m aware of that as well and think that is a logical conclusion based on the limited evidence. I would love to know what Soon-Yi has said on the matter, but as much as folks are mentioning her right to her own story, I can’t find that she’s said much at all, besides one statement I’m aware of. Am I wrong?

            So you give Allen’s claim more weight than Farrow/Previn family friends? I don’t think (but could be wrong) that Mia Farrow has denied those claims, either.

            • Bob Loblaw says:

              I can’t find that she’s said much at all, besides one statement I’m aware of. Am I wrong?

              Here’s what she said in 1992:

              Please don’t try and dramatize my relationship with Woody Allen. He was never any kind of father figure to me. I never had any dealings with him. He rarely came to our apartment before his own children were born. Even then, he never spoke and the truth is I never cared that much for him. He was always preoccupied with work and never talked to me. Not really to any of us. Only when Dylan was born did he start visiting regularly and then only to play with the baby. My own father is Andre Previn, who came to visit pretty often and took us all out frequently. When I first got friendly with Woody, he and Mia were finished with their romance and were just friends.

              • potsherds says:

                Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s the one statement I’m aware of. Thanks.

                • kc says:

                  I wonder why she’s not on Twitter, tweeting out her side like any normal person would do.

                  What’s wrong with her?

                • potsherds says:

                  What’s wrong with her?

                  Yeah, seriously.

                  I was going to write out a huge three paragraphs, but nah. You sarcasm is warranted, since that’s the clear implication of my comments if you assume bad faith (which is perfectly fine, imo).

                • kc says:

                  Sorry, potsherds, I was just being generally sarcastic, not aiming it at you specifically.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Friends noticed how “Woody, wearing just underwear, would take Dylan to bed with him and entwine his body around hers;

      While I’m not famous (maybe they live differently?) but I don’t often have any “friends” or “sources” hanging out in my bedroom that may know what I was wearing while in there, or what position I was sleeping in.

  7. njorl says:

    All of this discussion about Allen is bizarre. We are debating whether we should believe that it is 30% likely that Allen is a child molester or whether it is 70% likely that Allen is a child molester. There are about 2-4 people in the world who can justify stronger beliefs than that either way.

    • CaptBackslap, YOLO Edition says:

      Pretty much. On the other hand, it doesn’t look so good for Bill Cosby, who seemed pretty darn swell. That’s just depressing.

      • wr says:

        Those of us who have had the experience of working with Mr. Cosby have long since discovered that he is anything but pretty darn swell.

        Not that I have any knowledge of sexual abuse by him. Just… really not swell.

        • Rigby Reardon says:

          A surprising number of people who have been, at one time or another, in a position to know have told me over the years that Cosby is a total dick.

          Bummer. I really liked him when I was younger.

          • wr says:

            I loved his albums when I was growing up. And even though my experience working with him was miserable, I still think they’re brilliant.

            • ThrottleJockey says:

              A popular Hollywood star who’s a asshole, why bowl me over. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eddie Murphy, Sean Connery, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Rick James, oh and the biggest one of all, Ronald Reagan…To paraphrase Lord Acton, ‘Money corrupts and nothing corrupts more than a whole fucking shitload of money.’

              Great men are almost always bad men

              • Anderson says:

                Was that meant to diss wr? Or am I oversensitive?

                • ThrottleJockey says:

                  I don’t know wr to diss him. You’re being oversensitive. I’m saying to tell me that Bill Cosby is a pompous jerk is the least surprising thing ever. Most famous, rich people are. Isn’t that what was news about Hoffman’s death? That he was a cool guy even to regular folks? Its not even primarily an affliction of politics, its just power.

        • JustRuss says:

          I have a friend who shot some footage of Cosby for a promo. I saw the raw footage, he was pretty insulting to my friend, in a “I’m just kidding but not really” kind of way.

          Yeah, not so swell.

  8. UserGoogol says:

    I think as a matter of principle that all people who engage in criminal activities (let alone people merely accused of it) should be treated with vastly more forgiveness than we currently treat them. People sometimes do bad things, sometimes very bad things, but those should be treated as problems to be dealt with in isolation and not as tarring the entire person. “He’s a great guy, but sometimes he goes on massive killing sprees. That’s something he really has to work on, but aside from that, really a lovely dentist.”

    But despite this, I can’t feel all that comfortable when this attitude of forgiveness is selectively applied to powerful people, and selectively applied to certain kinds of crimes. When people do bad things there still needs to be some sort of pushback against that, and if that pushback is withheld in arbitrary ways, that leads to injustice.

    • Dilan Esper says:

      I am not that high on organized religion, but one concept I think that orthodox Christianity actually gets right is the idea that forgiveness and acceptance of responsibility go hand in hand.

      In other words, if a celebrity admitted doing something wrong, made a serious and public attempt to redress it and take responsibility for it, and then asked the public for forgiveness, I could very much get behind the idea of moving forward and forgiving (but not forgetting) even some pretty seriously wrongful actions.

      But that’s just almost never how it seems to go down.

  9. rea says:

    A basic rule about these matter is that you can’t reasson from the generality to a particular. Most criminal defendants are guilty–but some are not. We have a long history of not taking rape accusations seriously, so that many rapists have gone unpunished–but that does not mean that anyone accused of rape is likely guilty.

    High status people tend to get breaks in the legal system–except sometimes they don’t, sometimes it just makes them more of a target (and it’s far from clear that Woody Allen was all that much more high status than Mia Farrow).

    The time to investigate this was 20 years or so ago, when the accusation was made. It was investigated, by facial appearances, rather thoroughly–and Allen was not charged. I don’t see that any new evidence has come to light. And the focus today has simply been on Dylan Farrow’s accusations, and not on the sort of nuts and bolts things that determine the outcome of investigations like this–what inconsistencies were there in her statements, what exactly did she claim Allen did to her, and where and when? What were the movements of other adults and children present that weekend, what kind of oppotunity did Allen have to be alone with the child?

    • postmodulator says:

      High status people tend to get breaks in the legal system–except sometimes they don’t, sometimes it just makes them more of a target (and it’s far from clear that Woody Allen was all that much more high status than Mia Farrow).

      Yeah, we keep saying this about how prosecutors defer to high-status people all the time. I bet it’s making Eliot Spitzer prick up his ears.

      With that said, I have to disagree about Woody Allen being more high-status than Mia Farrow. There simply isn’t much in Hollywood that’s lower-status than an actress that’s starting to not be pretty any more. (Pretty much screenwriters and the guy who used to be able to get you coke but can’t any more.) Maybe she had a higher status in some sense in Manhattan society, or something.

    • yenwoda says:

      Yeah, exactly, and very well put. To me, it looks like the accusation was taken seriously at the time by a team of prosecutors who were very willing to press charges but for a highly exonerating expert report. Combined with Moses Farrow’s statements, I think there is at the very least enough uncertainty here that Allen should not be presumed guilty.

    • McAllen says:

      I am not sure I agree (or maybe I’m misunderstanding her). The statistic I’ve seen are that between 6% and 0.6% of rape accusations are false. So when it comes to this specific case, before we see any evidence we can say that Allen is 94% to 99.4% likely to be guilty (or a little less given the possibility that Mia Farrow coached Dylan, though I don’t know if such situations fall under “false accusations” in the studies). Now of course there’s mitigating evidence, like the panel, etc. and how much that evidence weighs will depend on the person, but we shouldn’t just ignore how rare false sexual assault accusations are when looking at a specific accusation of sexual assault.

      • junker says:

        That is…. not how statistics work.

        • junker says:

          Imagine for a minute that you flipped a fair coin 100 times, and got 100 heads. On the next flip, you cover it before looking at it. Would you say that there is a 100% chance that it’s heads, based on the past outcomes?

          • McAllen says:

            No, but only because I don’t think anything is 100% certain. I would say it’s much more likely to turn up heads than tails (and I would assume something is up with the coin, obviously).

            • junker says:

              Well, I did say assume a fair coin.

              The point is that the statistical record doesn’t reflect probability in any given case. Last season, Tom Brady completed 60% of his passes, but that doesn’t mean that on any given pass he had a 60% chance of completing it.

              • McAllen says:

                But I think it’s fair to use the 60% as a starting point (assuming it comes from a large enough sample size) which was my original point. If I asked what the odds were that Tom Brady was going to make this next pass, and you didn’t know anything about the pass other than Tom Brady was making it, you’d probably say “about 60%.” Now once we get into specifics that probability changes, like if I said he was throwing into the wind you’d guess lower, or if he had a man wide open you’d guess higher.

          • Lee Rudolph says:

            If, having flipped a coin 100 times and gotten 100 heads, you remain wedded to the hypothesis that it is a fair coin, then … you aren’t me. (I’d be considering the delights of an open marriage somewhere around 25 consecutive heads, myself.)

          • McAllen says:

            Anyway, I don’t think that analogy capture my point. My point is more like, say I handed you a die you had never seen before and asked you what the chances were that it would land on something other than 6. You would say 5/6, based on your general knowledge of dice. The dice could still land on 6, or it could be weighted, but you would absolutely reason from a generality to a specific case.

            • junker says:

              The problem is that you’re interpreting the historical record of incidences as a probability, and this is NOT the case. The number of times an event has occurred, or not occurred, doesn’t predict the likelihood of what happens next, because each of these cases are independent of each other.

              • Lee Rudolph says:

                because each of these cases are independent of each other.

                Assumes facts not in evidence.

                And in fact the world (particularly those parts of it under the control of malefactors of various kinds) is full of non-Markov processes.

                • junker says:

                  This is absurd, and it’s incumbent on you to explain exactly why you think each perpetrator in this case is dependent on the others.

            • Lee Rudolph says:

              You would say 5/6, based on your general knowledge of dice.

              By no means. The relevant state-of-the-world information I would want to incorporate, somehow, in my answer would include that but would—even more importantly—include my specific knowledge of you, as well as my general “knowledge” (which actually is mostly my imagination, as shaped by literature, motion pictures, etc., and a few—very few—real-life observations of Three Card Monte specialists on the streets of Manhattan, and rather more real-life observations of discussions of The Price is Right and goats) of people who offer seemingly straightforward bets to strangers.

            • Egg MacGuffin says:

              Let’s use the dice to model the actual situation we’re talking about. If you have 6 dice, and you’re asked how many of these dice are likely to land on 6, you’d correctly say “1″. If you were asked which of them was going to land on six, you’d say, “I have no earthly idea.”

              • McAllen says:

                But if I pointed to one of them and said “Is this one going to land on six?” you’d say “probably not.”

                • Egg MacGuffin says:

                  Yes, but that would be a contentless assertion. It’s an entirely different question you’re asking.

                  If it did come up 6, that doesn’t make me wrong. I can’t argue, “no that can’t be true! There was only an 18% chance of that happening!” What would that even mean? You’re asking us to assign an entirely different meaning to probabilities.

                • McAllen says:

                  Maybe I’m being unclear about what my argument is, because that’s exactly the question I’m asking. I’m not saying “Allen did it, 100%” I’m point to this specific accusation, asking “is this one false?” and answering “probably not”

                  Now of course this is more complicated than dice because, as I mentioned above, there’s mitigating evidence, which probably lowers my guess as to the chances that Allen is guilty down from 94%-99.4% (how much it lowers the guess will depend on the person). But I’m not going to act like the fact that most accusations are true has no bearing on this accusation.

                • Egg MacGuffin says:

                  That’s absurd. To return to the coin for a second, if you had evidence that it was biased, you wouldn’t figure out the odds of heads by saying, “well, a fair coin has 50/50 odds, so we’ll start from there.”

                • Egg MacGuffin says:

                  “Probably not” has no predictive power. You can’t use probabilities as evidence of an event occurring. As I said with the dice, arguing that something did or did not happen because it has a low statistical likelihood of happening is silly.

                • McAllen says:

                  That’s absurd. To return to the coin for a second, if you had evidence that it was biased, you wouldn’t figure out the odds of heads by saying, “well, a fair coin has 50/50 odds, so we’ll start from there.”

                  So if I said “this coin is weighted to land on heads 20% more often than normal” you wouldn’t say “that means it probably is going to land on heads about 60% of the time, using the normal 50/50 probability as a baseline?

                  “Probably not” has no predictive power. You can’t use probabilities as evidence of an event occurring. As I said with the dice, arguing that something did or did not happen because it has a low statistical likelihood of happening is silly.

                  But I’m not trying to argue whether Allen actually did it. There’s no way I will ever know one way or the other, and I’m not a court of law. All I’m trying to do is figure out what is more likely to have occurred.

              • ThrottleJockey says:

                Here’s a true story. I saw a DR once. He said, “TJ, 90% of the time when someone comes in with your symptoms he has prostate cancer. So I’m going to proceed as if you have prostate cancer. Take this medication & come see me on this date & we’ll do surgery.”

                Meanwhile my symptoms get worse & worse. I’m pissing like 25 times a day. I can’t wait for the fucking surgery. I’m nervous as all hell. Six weeks later I go in for the procedure. DR starts in on me & says, “Oh, whoa! You don’t have prostate cancer, you have a kink in your plumbing!” Unfortunately my blood & piss is all over the floor.

                See the DR made the mistake of assuming that because something was true 90% of the time its true 100% of the time. As my attorney told his attorney after I sued his ass: You can’t fucking assume that.

                So, yeah, don’t be like my boneheaded DR.

                • Breadbaker says:

                  That’s not an accurate description of his error. He assumed that because something was true 90% of the time, it was true in your case. It’s a different fallacy.

                  There was a case in Washington State where the court found someone had had ineffective assistance of counsel because the counsel had suggested he had an 80% chance of acquittal and he was in fact convicted. That’s the same fallacy.

          • Ronan says:

            Ill give you $50 for the coin

          • CaptBackslap, YOLO Edition says:

            That’s not a very good analogy. First, it would be vastly more likely that the person who told you that the coin was fair was incorrect than otherwise (the chance of a fair coin landing on the same side 100 times in a row is much less than winning the Powerball on three straight draws). Second, you’re kind of begging the question by assigning a true probability that much different from the observations. And most importantly, you certainly do have to take the base rate into account. If you don’t, you do things like test whole populations for uncommon diseases and get so many false positives that the test ends up doing more harm than good.

      • Egg MacGuffin says:

        before we see any evidence we can say that Allen is 94% to 99.4% likely to be guilty

        This is not even a little bit accurate. I told you this on the last thread. I will reiterate:

        If you had 100 men in a room, and all were accused of sexual assault, 94 would likely be guilty, and 6 would like be innocent, if we take these figures as accurate, and assuming a high confidence. What you *cannot* say with this just knowledge is that any particular man is guilty or not guilty with *any* degree of certainty.

        • McAllen says:

          Fuck’s sake of course not! But I can say that any individual man I pick out is far more likely to be guilty than not. Obviously some of them are innocent, but the vast majority are not. That’s my point!

          • Egg MacGuffin says:

            No, you can’t say that. That’s the whole point. Without other evidence, you cannot say anything about an individual.

            • McAllen says:

              So if I picked an individual at random from the room and said “I’ll give you a hundred dollars if he’s innocent, you give me a hundred dollars if he’s guilty” you would take that bet? Knowing that 94 of the men in that room were guilty, and 6 were innocent?

              • Egg MacGuffin says:

                Sure, I’d take that bet, but that doesn’t prove what you think it does. First of all, this means that you already have perfect knowledge of who is guilty and who is not, which invalidates the entire assumption upon which this is based.

      • junker says:

        So, do you think 95% likelihood is enough for conviction? Imagine a juror thought a criminal was 95% likely to have committed a crime. Should they vote guilty?

        If so, by your interpretation, shouldn’t anyone accused of rape be automatically convicted by virtue of the accusation?

        • McAllen says:

          No, courts are rightfully held to a higher standard than “it’s likely he did it.” But I am not a court of law, and I am not compelled to think anyone is innocent until proven guilty.

          • Mike D. says:

            If I’m not mistaken the threshold for absence of reasonable doubt is not commonly described as being much higher than 95% certainty of guilt. It’s certainly lower than 99.4%.

      • Ragout says:

        You are making two errors here. First of all, the statistics you are citing are from studies of adult women alleging rape. I don’t think these studies tell us anything at all about the truthfulness of small children.

        Second, you err in assuming that if 6% of allegations are false, the other 94% are true. There are actually two other possibilities. One is that the accusation may be “baseless,” meaning that even if true the accusations don’t amount to a crime. This is very common, happening 17% of the time in what seems to be the only study on the truthfulness of rape accusations ever conducted in the US. The other possibility is that the police don’t know if the accusation is true or false.

        These studies generally follow the FBI’s UCR definition which require the the determination of “unfounded/false” to be based on an investigation, which is to say, some evidence that the accusation is false. I would think it should be obvious that much of the time, the police don’t know whether the alleged victim is telling the truth. For example, it is very common in rape allegations for the victim to refuse to cooperate with the police or refuse to give a statement. In this case, the police, or researchers, have very little idea if the accusation is true or false.

        • Breadbaker says:

          There’s a far greater fallacy here. If there are studies saying that 6% of allegations of sexual assault are true, it is not the case that if you took any random 100 persons accused of sexual assault, 6% of them would be false. For any random population of 100 accused men, the chances you’d get exactly six false is quite small.

        • Mike D. says:

          That number sounded high – i.e. the 94% true (and the truth is one in which a crime is committed) inference from the .6-6% rate of false accusation – to me. Now I understand why.

    • Ed says:

      (and it’s far from clear that Woody Allen was all that much more high status than Mia Farrow).

      Whatever you think of Dylan Farrow’s story,this is simply loony. At the time of their long affair, Allen wasn’t merely a celebrity; he was a celebrity’s celebrity. Mia Farrow had briefly been one of the seventies’ star actresses but she was never on the same plane, fame-wise or power-wise, as Woody Allen. This is even truer today. Farrow is an aging female star who does charity work, while Allen’s career has been renewed as the scandal faded from view over the years with the aid of flattering documentaries and interviews (which are careful not to dwell too long on The Scandal).

      • Brien Jackson says:

        I don’t know: Farrow is still a very well connected person (as someone else put it; “Hollywood royalty) and Allen is (and was known to be at the time, obviously), an obvious narcissistic deviant who entered into a highly inappropriate romantic relationship that creeped just about everyone the fuck out. At the very least, I don’t think the dynamic was terribly off balance when the allegations were first made.

        • Ed says:

          Uh-uh. Allen was and is a power in front of and behind the camera, someone who’s sought after by journalists and documentarians (like Weide, who’s a professional associate, not a friend of the family), who also wields power as an employer, a bona fide American auteur. Farrow is the daughter of a second-rate director and an actress most famous as Tarzan’s Jane. Well-connected, yes, but nowhere near Allen in terms of fame or power when they met and certainly not today.

  10. Just Dropping By says:

    Not only does he spend a long time trying to argue that Allen marrying his life partner’s barely adult daughter wasn’t really as bad as all that . . . .

    Whew, another post that invites alleged feminists and progressives to have an opportunity to shit all over an adult woman’s self-agency just like conservatives! I was afraid we’d go the rest of the week without one.

    • kc says:

      No kidding – though this particular progressive female finds the paternalism inherent in this attitude profoundly offensive.

      • Medicine Man says:

        It’s ironic you should bring up paternalism given the subject, kc. The fact that Allen enjoyed a de-facto guardian/ward relationship just a short time before shifting to an adult relationship with Soon-Yi is exactly why most people are treating him with such suspicion (and perhaps paying less attention to Soon-Yi’s agency). Literally about paternalism and the abuse thereof.

        • kc says:

          that Allen enjoyed a de-facto guardian/ward relationship

          That’s actually not the case according to any of the three people in the best position to know, but don’t let that bother you.

          • Medicine Man says:

            I know that actually. I’m pointing out that it is the presumption of his abuse of paternalistic privilege is largely why he’s regarded as creepy, even before the subject of possible child molestation enters the equation.

            For my part, I’m not sure if questioning Woody’s scruples necessarily requires dismissing Soon-Yi’s agency.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      Is anyone criticizing Soon-yi?

  11. postmodulator says:

    But I maintain that it’s significantly more likely that Dylan Farrow is telling the truth.

    Something else I was thinking about…is it possible that people are reluctant to accept this just because it’s a shitty outcome? “This guy’s probably a child molester but there’s no way to truly punish him for it. That makes me think the world is an unjust place. That thought makes me unhappy. I don’t like being unhappy. Therefore this guy probably isn’t a child molestor.”

    It at least comes a bit more noble place than “You can’t trust those lying bitches.” An opinion I was rather surprised to learn from other commenters that I apparently hold.

  12. Bathsheba Boldwood says:

    It’s interesting that Moses Allen, Dylan’s brother, has just given an interview saying that her molestation story is a crock.

    http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20783306,00.html

    • kc says:

      From the article:

      Moses accuses Farrow of bullying him as well. “Our mother has misled the public into believing it was a happy household of both biological and adopted children,” he says. “From an early age, my mother demanded obedience and I was often hit as a child. She went into unbridled rages if we angered her, which was intimidating at the very least and often horrifying, leaving us not knowing what she would do.”

      Gosh, this is confusing. If I believe him, am I “in service to the rape culture?” If I disbelieve him, am I contributing to general child abuse culture?

      • What's a gal to do? says:

        You would be saddled with both of those slanderous labels… depending on who was leveling the charge. Although in this particular case the rape culture scolds are in full force. I feel ashamed of myself for not knowing I was so very guilty.

      • brad says:

        Well, misplaced snark about some people having very deep rooted responses that shouldn’t be evaluated in terms of niceness about this topic aside, I think that it’s tragically fair to say that it’s not hard at all to see a scenario where Mia Farrow has been left so… badly harmed herself that she continued the cycle without intent.

        I do agree with SL that, in the most general, abstract sense, the Farrows should be believed before Woody Allen. But the details just make it so very hard to take that route. Reality, as always, is messy.

        Woody Allen used privilege to keep Mia Farrow and her family vulnerable and dependent on him, and took advantage. He’s a bad person. But the degree of his depravity… I just don’t know.
        This isn’t in defense of him, and I apologize to those for whom playing devil’s advocate and considering other possibilities reads as apologia. It ain’t.

        • rea says:

          Woody Allen used privilege to keep Mia Farrow and her family vulnerable and dependent on him

          How the hell did Woody Allen use his privilege to keep a millionaire, famous actress, daughter of famous director and famous actress, ex-wife of Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn, vulnerable and dependent on him?

      • potsherds says:

        Gosh, this is confusing. If I believe him, am I “in service to the rape culture?” If I disbelieve him, am I contributing to general child abuse culture?

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that Mia Farrow is not a terribly good person, or wasn’t through this particular time period at least. I think that’s clear from the record.

        Having been a child going through a terribly messy divorce myself, I still remember times I can find equally bad behaviour from both parents. And wouldn’t you know, in my family’s case, my brother has found my father a truly sympathetic old character after a decade or so, and I still view a lot of his personality and consistent patterns of behaviour as maladaptive and harmful to those he targets, and avoid him. It’s natural for children with different sets of experiences and biases to come out saying and believing different things. Rather strongly and vastly different things, even.

        (I should probably say at this time that there was no known child abuse in my case, not physically, at least.)

        • potsherds says:

          And if there were an edit button I would add that I think Moses’ claim of brainwashing is seriously questionable and *does* aid in rape culture’s narrative in this case. That Mia Farrow behaved badly seems unquestionable. I don’t think her slapping Soon-Yi is denied. That was unconscionable.

          It’s actually possible to view both Mia Farrow and Woody Allen as bad characters in this and still believe Dylan Farrow.

          • Nick says:

            I think it’s stupid that the ‘bad behaviour’ Farrow is accused of includes slapping her teenage daughter for sleeping with partner. Do you realize how absurd that indictment sounds in most of the world? Or that probably a huge percentage of us would behave in the same way if we suddenly found out our daughter was doing that?

      • Dan Koffler says:

        Ok so Weide was actually downplaying the importance of Moses Farrow’s claims. You can only frame this as a choice between whether to believe Dylan Farrow or Woody Allen by deliberately ignoring the testimony of Moses Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn (the latter of which includes choosing as an adult to marry and adopt children with Woody Allen).

        • potsherds says:

          You can only frame this as a choice between whether to believe Dylan Farrow or Woody Allen by deliberately ignoring the testimony of Moses Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn

          I think that works out as long as you view the possibility that Mia Farrow brainwashed her kids and implanted a false memory of sexual assault in one child’s mind as approximately as likely as Woody Allen being a sexual predator.

          I think ignoring Allen’s past behaviour, the findings of two civil courts that there was sufficient evidence to deny Allen custody (and visitation, too I think) twice, ignoring that Moses Previn was treated to the same constant accusations of Mia Farrow’s conniving manipulative character as everyone else on planet Earth, and Soon-Yi’s age and relationship to Allen before their sexual relationship would be just as egregious as ignoring Soon-Yi’s er one (?????) statement on the matter and Moses Previn’s denunciations.

          • Denverite says:

            the findings of two civil courts that there was sufficient evidence to deny Allen custody (and visitation, too I think) twice

            Just to be clear, the first court’s decision was based primarily on the fact that Allen seems to be a miserable and uncaring father. Its view on the abuse allegations — that the panel’s investigation didn’t conclusively prove Allen innocent (in the court’s view; the panel did think so) — was way down on the list of reasons to deny visitation.

            The second court (if you’re thinking of the appellate decision) didn’t address the abuse allegations.

            • Anderson says:

              One of these threads, I thought, quoted the appellate court as saying that the abuse was more likely than not (which I found a horrible re-weighing of facts, not what appellate judges are supposed to do).

              • Denverite says:

                I’ve skimmed it twice now and I can’t find anything.

                http://www.leagle.com/decision/1995352215AD2d137_1310

                • Anderson says:

                  See here, Denverite. It’s a decision from a year earlier.

                  And my condolences on the recent tragedy involving your football team.

                • Denverite says:

                  Got it. For those who don’t want to click through, here’s the main takeaway:

                  While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse did occur. While the evidence in support of the allegations remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.

                  And thanks for the condolences. As I said somewhere on here, I have a daughter who’s in the early grades. This was her first real football season. She took the loss very hard. We had to really try to convince her not to throw out her Broncos stuff.

                • nemerinys says:

                  The appellate court’s decision did note the abuse allegation:

                  As we noted above, Mr. Allen maintains that Ms. Farrow’s allegations concerning the sexual abuse of Dylan were fabricated by Ms. Farrow both as a result of her rage over his relationship with Ms. Previn and as part of her continued plan to alienate him from his children. However, our review of the record militates against a finding that Ms. Farrow fabricated the allegations without any basis. Unlike the court at IAS, we do not consider the conclusions reached by Doctors Coates and Schultz and by the Yale-New Haven team, to be totally unpersuasive. While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse did occur. While the evidence in support of the allegations remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected. [Emphasis mine]

                  None of us have seen the tape, read the reports, or heard the testimony presented in court. All the judges involved, however, had, and they all appear to have believed that Dylan was neither fabricating nor parroting the claim that she was sexually abused.

                • Denverite says:

                  All the judges involved, however, had, and they all appear to have believed that Dylan was neither fabricating nor parroting the claim that she was sexually abused.

                  I read the opinion a little differently. I read it as saying that some evidence supports the abuse allegation, some undercuts it, but no one can dispute that Dylan was seriously harmed by the atmosphere and investigation flowing from the allegations. Otherwise, the bottom line conclusion that the evidence is inconclusive (they repeated this a little later on, as well) doesn’t make sense.

                • Anderson says:

                  Denverite, I think it comes off a bit worse than that – but it’s very, very weird for an appellate panel to (1) weigh the facts for itself (they make NO mention of the various issues we’ve seen raised, like the nature of the tape), and even moreso, (2) say that X Y and Z “suggest that the abuse did occur” without expressing any desire that the authorities re-examine the case.

                  I mean, seriously? “We think this little girl was sexually molested” – and that’s it?

            • potsherds says:

              Thanks for correcting me. My mistake.

              • Denverite says:

                Sorry, I didn’t mean to come across as correcting you. The view of the trial court judge is an important piece of — well, not evidence, but opinion that shows that the evidence in the mental health panel’s investigation wasn’t as overwhelming as the panel seemed to think.

                But here’s the thing about that. The way the judge addresses it — perfunctorily, and way down on the list of reasons why Allen should be denied visitation — tells me that what happened is that Allen really hit the issue in the briefing, the judge was more interested in some of the other aspects of the case, and he just kind of hand-waived at it just to show that he was aware of the issue but didn’t think it affected his decision. That’s how my judge would have addressed that sort of scenario (i.e., one side put a lot of stock in an argument that he basically thought was a non sequitur).

                • potsherds says:

                  (i.e., one side put a lot of stock in an argument that he basically thought was a non sequitur).

                  There’s like, no legalese in this comment and yet I’m rather confused anyway. You think that Allen’s er, petition or whatever, hung very much on the finding of the Yale-whatever panel and it’s strength, and the judge thought it wasn’t worth much at all? And also that it wasn’t even necessary either way since Allen was clearly such a shit father anyway and in a sexual relationship with the sister of the child he was petitioning for visitation rights with, whom clearly didn’t want to see him anyway? Was he only petitioning to see Dylan in that appeal (or whatever)?

                  By the way, a parent petitioning to see a child who has stated zie does not want to see said parent is really shitty behaviour, imo. Way to really prove one values that child’s free will and everything. Even if the parent is innocent of anything and everything under the sun, you don’t endear a child to you by demanding zie sees you whether zie wants to or not. Yuck.

                • Denverite says:

                  You think that Allen’s er, petition or whatever, hung very much on the finding of the Yale-whatever panel and it’s strength, and the judge thought it wasn’t worth much at all?

                  Yes, precisely. This happens sometimes. One party thinks he has the super bestest argument, but the judge thinks it’s neither here nor there. Most judges will still address it to show that s/he actually has considered it, but then s/he will just kind of hand-wave (spelled it right this time!) it away.

                  And also that it wasn’t even necessary either way since Allen was clearly such a shit father anyway and in a sexual relationship with the sister of the child he was petitioning for visitation rights with, whom clearly didn’t want to see him anyway?

                  Yes, it’s my view that he would have come out the same way even setting aside the abuse allegations. Dylan REALLY didn’t want to see him, and her therapist testified that making her would cause serious harm.

                  Was he only petitioning to see Dylan in that appeal (or whatever)?

                  Off the top of my head, I think he was petitioning for visitation for all of his biological and adopted kids, and he was awarded supervised visitation for at least some of them.

                  By the way, a parent petitioning to see a child who has stated zie does not want to see said parent is really shitty behaviour, imo. Way to really prove one values that child’s free will and everything. Even if the parent is innocent of anything and everything under the sun, you don’t endear a child to you by demanding zie sees you whether zie wants to or not. Yuck.

                  I go back and forth on this one. On the one hand, I agree that it’s pretty awful to compel a child to see a parent he or she hates. On the other hand, divorcing spouses say some really shitty things about each other, and I’d be a little concerned about the custodial parent’s influence in that regard. I’m not sure how to reconcile those two things.

                • potsherds says:

                  I’m not sure how to reconcile those two things.

                  With time and patience on the part of the parent rightly or wrongly denied visitation. And a respect for the child’s right to control that decision.

                  Maybe I’m pie in the sky on this, but I think that the children with whom it is possible to be reconciled with, will come around in their own time and on their own terms. If you fuck with that by trying to wrest control of the situation away from them, you’re taking a huge risk of damaging that relationship beyond hope of repair. And it’s just really hostile to consent to do so. So: yuck.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  “With time and patience on the part of the parent rightly or wrongly denied visitation. And a respect for the child’s right to control that decision.”

                  Having been the kid in this scenario…no, this is a terrible idea.

                • Mike D. says:

                  What’s the deal with “zie”? Is that like a “womon” thing?

  13. TribalistMeathead says:

    As long as we’re moving to the preponderance of evidence standard, can we also agree that the accused’s relative creepiness shouldn’t count as evidence for/against them?

    • potsherds says:

      the accused’s relative creepiness

      First, can we define what folks mean by constantly referring to Allen sleeping with his step-daughter, or the sister of his children, if that feels more accurate to people, as ‘creepy’? Where is that on the spectrum of sexual deviance?

      As bad as sleeping with your sister’s wife? Worse?
      Not as bad as sleeping with your best friend’s much younger half-sister?

      All I’m seeing when I see folks use the word creepy is minimization of the predatory nature of what Allen did, in service to the rape culture.

      • rea says:

        As bad as sleeping with your sister’s wife?

        How far we have come, that we have invented a new form of incest!

        • potsherds says:

          Oh dear, I thought it was clear I was just coming up with random things that were socially and morally not-entirely-good-but-maybe-not-’creepy’. I’m sorry for the confusion.

      • Brien Jackson says:

        Yeah, I don’t get this at all. To go from “creepy” to “really fucked up levels of predation” seems to me to require a sort of implied assumption that Allen was grooming Soon-Yi as a young child…but there doesn’t seem to be any real allegation to that effect, and in fact everyone seems to agree that Allen basically had nothing to do with Soon-Yi until she was 17-19ish. Now, yes, the emotional abuse the relationship inflicted on her siblings is no doubt profound and makes him a colossal asshole, but it doesn’t seem to say anything about the likelihood of him being a child molester.

  14. Shakezula says:

    I don’t think it is that helpful to look at the reaction to accusations against people like Allen or Kelly (or Crosby) as though they are shocking or even aberrant.

    We live in a culture where any sexual assault case immediately rouses the Legion of Goons who will swarm the alleged victim and denounce her as a slut. Often the Duke Case is brought up. Or if it is a really young victim, the Satanic Babysitters Club. Because unlike any other crime, any false accusation of rape immediately calls into question any other accusation of rape.

    We live in a culture where a girl can be gang raped while drunk and unconscious and Concerned Citizens will wonder why she was drinking in the first place. And then go on to weep salty tears when her rapists have their futures ruined by a guilty conviction.

    We live in a culture where you still have elected officials who don’t believe marital rape is a “thing” and that a woman can’t get pregnant if she is raped.

    We even live in a culture where a judge will overturn a convicted rapist’s sentence because it is too harsh and the victim was “mature.”

    Is it any wonder that people are running around saying D. Farrow is a liar and calling her mom names?

    (Nope.)

    • CaptBackslap, YOLO Edition says:

      Satanic Babysitters Club

      While the MVMO daycare cases weren’t, numerically, the real business end of the Satanic Panic (that would be the “recovered memories”), they still represented a terrible miscarriage of justice. And it’s apparent from history that the next moral panic is always just around the corner. People haven’t gotten any less irrational in the past 25 years.

    • Nick says:

      And you get this phenomenon where people start making up theoretically exculpatory stories — “Mia Farrow might have been brainwashing her daughter, that happens in bad divorces.” Then these stories are debated, as if they have some sort of equal weight to the testimony of an abuse victim.

      • kc says:

        People aren’t just making it up, the investigative panel at the time concluded Dylan had likely been coached, and Moses says now that Mia “brainwashed” them.

        To be clear, I’m not saying Mia Farrow did or didn’t do those things; I don’t know. I also don’t know whether Woody Allen did what he’s accused of either.

        • Dilan Esper says:

          To me, there’s a big difference between noting that false accusations happen in bad divorces (they do), and considering Mia Farrow’s credibility when evaluating her claims (I definitely don’t assume that everything she says is true), and making wild claims of brainwashing and refusing to credit the consistent statements of a child victim over two decades.

          I have seen nothing, nothing at all, that discredits DYLAN Farrow.

            • Dilan Esper says:

              Claiming that someone was “brainwashed” by her mother (who has no psychiatric training) is not a credible statement.

              • Anderson says:

                Okay, now that’s just garbage, Dilan. I don’t think he was referring to the Manchurian Candidate treatment.

                You’re going to claim that there’s no easily understood, colloquial meaning for “brainwashed”? In good faith? Seriously?

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  No, I am saying I doubt that Mia Farrow, with no psychiatric training, had the magical power to gaslight her daughter.

                • Rigby Reardon says:

                  Do you need psychiatric training to do that to a seven-year-old girl, though?

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  Is there any evidence that a single person with no specialized training has successfully manipulated another person’s memory?

                  The cases involving manufactured memories of sexual abuse all involved large groups of people and mass delusion, didn’t they?

                  Exactly what did Mia Farrow do to “brainwash” her daughter? And how did it work?

                • Denverite says:

                  Is there any evidence that a single person with no specialized training has successfully manipulated another person’s memory?

                  Of a seven year old? Um, yeah. My daughter about that age has all sorts of false memories of things that happened to her when she was too young to remember. We tell her funny stories about when she was three or four or whatnot, she repeats those stories to others, and after some amount of time, she “remembers” what happened even though she couldn’t possibly.

                  You’ve never spent much time around small children, have you?

                • Stag Party Palin says:

                  No, I am saying I doubt that Mia Farrow, with no psychiatric training, had the magical power to gaslight her daughter.

                  I stand amazed. Authority figures do this constantly – you might even say it’s the job description of a parent to influence his/her children. And Mia Farrow had more psychiatric training that you admit – she was a professional actress.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  Influencing your children (which parents do less of than you think, as shown in Judith Rich Harris’ research) is not the same thing as implanting false memories in 7 year olds.

                • Mike D. says:

                  Influencing your children (which parents do less of than you think, as shown in Judith Rich Harris’ research) is not the same thing as implanting false memories in 7 year olds.

                  Influencing your children is the same thing as causing 7 year olds to have false memories if the influence you have on them causes them to have false memories and they’re 7.

                  I mean, this thing (Mia caused Dylan to falsely remember/believe that Allen abused her) either happened or it didn’t, and there’s either some reason to think it may have, or none. How does this attempted and failed hairsplitting over the terms influence, memory implantation, or brainwashing advance that analysis at all? It’s just quibbling over what we call it.

          • Denverite says:

            What about the conclusion by a panel of mental experts appointed by prosecutors saying that her allegations aren’t credible? I think that’s a bit more than “nothing” myself.

            • Anderson says:

              The older I get, the more I realize how fuzzy memory is.

              People remember events from their childhood that it turns out cannot have happened.

              Even in adulthood – there’s the famous bit about Stendhal, who crossed the Alps with Napoleon but in later life couldn’t remember what he actually saw, just David’s painting of the event.

            • Dilan Esper says:

              Without any information as to what the reason for that conclusion was, I don’t think it is entitled to much weight.

              • Denverite says:

                ???

                That’s nonsense. There’s plenty of information. They had a report, and the panel chair sat for a deposition in the custody/visitation proceeding. They based the finding on (1) significant inconsistencies in Farrow’s story during repeated retellings, (2) a post-split household in which Allen was constantly referred to as a molester, (3) signs of coaching, including Farrow’s statement that she sometimes “cheats” on her stories, and (4) Farrow’s almost uniform insistence of pairing her account of abuse with comments about Allen’s relationship with her sister and her mother’s reaction to it.

                And then, of course, there’s just the simple fact that an independent expert panel appointed by prosecutors did a six month investigation and concluded that no abuse occurred. I’m no stranger to government-appointed experts in criminal proceedings, and that’s the first time I’ve ever seen one that completely exonerates the subject/defendant.

                Maybe you disagree with the opinion, but to think it’s not compelling is preposterous.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  I think the idea that we shouldn’t credit the stories of a SEVEN YEAR OLD unless they stand up to the most abusive form of lawyerly cross-examination is preposterous.

                  Now, if that panel had found Dylan’s stories inconsistent with establishable facts, that would be a different issue. But under the standard you are advocating, nobody ever committed an act of child molestation without a video recording. This is what we mean when we talk about rape culture and enabling.

                • Denverite says:

                  I think the idea that we shouldn’t credit the stories of a SEVEN YEAR OLD unless they stand up to the most abusive form of lawyerly cross-examination is preposterous.

                  What are you talking about? It was a team of mental health professionals, including some very well-respected psychiatrists.

                  (As I noted below, I’m coming around to the view that they got it wrong, but this is still highly relevant evidence.)

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  The inconsistencies that you indicate they identified are not inconsistencies with known facts; they are things that you would expect from any seven year old girl relating something that happened to her.

                • Denverite says:

                  And you know this how?

                  From what I understand from press accounts, they were inconsistencies like “he touched me there” vs. “he didn’t touch me there.” I have no clue whether these are indicative of lying or coaching or false memory, either based on what we knew back in the early 1990s or now. The panel thought they were (when combined with other evidence).

                • potsherds says:

                  I have no clue whether these are indicative of lying or coaching or false memory, either based on what we knew back in the early 1990s or now. The panel thought they were (when combined with other evidence).

                  If I were seven years old again and interviewed repeatedly over 6 months about my step-father molesting me I’d damn well change my story to see which answers would keep me from having to relive the experience over and over again for a bunch of old men.

                  Did you not read the blog entry that cer linked to last thread? Are you unable to put yourself in Dylan’s shoes and imagine what that would be like?

                  The inconsistencies and ‘feeling rehearsed’ are as much likely to be due to the investigation format itself than to Dylan Farrow lying.

                  I really don’t know why people demand that victims be utterly perfect in their demeanor, their ability to stick strictly to the first version they remember of the trauma, and in this case, have either no one believe them, or the folks that believe them be perfect human beings in order to be believed. This standard is impossible to achieve. Purposely.

                • Denverite says:

                  potsherd, I don’t disagree with this from an intuitive standpoint. My only hesitation is that the people doing the investigation weren’t cops or DAs or the like. They were trained — and apparently well-repsected — psychiatrists and the like. I find it difficult to believe that they wouldn’t know how they could and couldn’t act around a potential child victim. So either (1) the science at the time was incredibly primitive (possible), (2) they were total hacks despite their reputation (less so), or (3) they were affirmatively trying to exonerate Allen (least so).

                • Mike D. says:

                  I think the idea that we shouldn’t credit the stories of a SEVEN YEAR OLD unless they stand up to the most abusive form of lawyerly cross-examination is preposterous.

                  So, this is an accusation that the panel’s treatment of dylan was not just abusive for psychiatrists (who amde up the panel AFAIK), but for lawyers – and at at their “most abusive,” no less. Is there *any* evidence for this? Or is it simply taken as axiomatic from the fact of multiple re-interviews (which I take to be now thought of as bad clinical and investigative practice, but which may not have been at the time). If the latter, that’s fair enough, but the characterization to me is unfounded absent an account of the actual treatment of Dylan by the investigators. The investigation may have been abusive, in other words, by its very nature, being extended over months with multiple interviews, but I don’t see how this supports the characterization of “the most abusive form of lawyerly cross-examination.” That either happened or it didn’t, and I don;t get the impression Dilan knows whether it did or not.

                  Ultimately, this seems like a standard that basically just says, no matter how independent and credentialed an investigating body might be, if they come up with the wrong result and I can find any aspect of their actions I dislike, I feel entirely justified in disregarding their findings *entirely*, to the point where I don’t recognize that they might bear on any other person’s assessment. After all, what Dilan E. doing here is not just defending the notion that she(?) can fully believe Dylan F. depite the panel’s findings – no one denies that she can do that with justification. She’s defending her tactic of acting as if these findings ought not to be suggested by anyone as any kind of prima facie reason to inject any degree of doubt of Dylan’s accusations, even for a moment. That it’s just obvious that they should be utterly disregarded as though they never existed (the panel’s findings), and that anyone looking at the situation is advancing rape culture to give them any consideration in their assessment.

    • Rigby Reardon says:

      Is it any wonder that people are running around saying D. Farrow is a liar and calling her mom names?

      I haven’t seen anyone calling Dylan Farrow a liar. I’ve seen people saying she may be or probably is wrong about what she remembers, but that’s not the same as lying.

    • louislouis says:

      This isn’t like any of the situations you mention. It involves accusations investigated 20 years ago an the attempt to relitigate them in the court of public opinion through what appears to be a well orchestrated media campaign.

  15. Denverite says:

    I don’t think it is that helpful to look at the reaction to accusations against people like Allen or Kelly (or Crosby) as though they are shocking or even aberrant.

  16. Bob Loblaw says:

    Jessica Winter makes some points about Robert Weide’s inexplicably lauded defense of Woody Allen I should have.

    Jeeze, Scott, I thought you were at least honest about your bias (i.e., most reports of sexual assault are true and therefore Dylan Farrow’s is more likely than not), whereas Winters’s piece is howlers from top to bottom.

    And while I agree that Weide should have just stuck to the facts rather than delve into details surrounding Mia and Woody’s relationship(s),* neither you nor Winters make any attempt to address the mountain of evidence (which, while circumstantial, is compelling in light of all evidence), that Weide includes. E.g.:

    *Allen’s successful polygraph
    *Testimony of the nanny
    *Confirmation from a number of sources (including, now, her son) that Mia pressured them to take the company line
    *The lack of opportunity for the alleged attack
    *Allen’s “anti-motive” at the time of the alleged attack (which I know SL doesn’t find compelling on its own)
    *The conclusions of the investigative team
    *The lack of an indictment
    *The lack of any civil suit by any of the Farrows
    *The lack of any similar allegations against Allen, ever. (Creepy fascination toward late adolescents ≠ pedophile.)

    You don’t get to just say “I’m going to ignore all of this because misogyny and rape culture.”

    (*However, Mia and Woody seem to have been responsible for creating such a toxic family environment that I suppose it’s hard to understand the allegations and counter allegations without any context.)

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Oh, and I forgot the starts and stops on the interview tape and the lack of a forensic interview before Dylan’s story was disclosed to authorities.

    • Dan Koffler says:

      Add to the above this from Moses Farrow’s new interview:

      The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces.

      • Anderson says:

        And the dude now practices as a “family therapist.”

        • cer says:

          And is there any reason to believe his memory of that day and what happened to Dylan is superior to her memories?

          • Bob Loblaw says:

            I personally would not give Moses’s current recollections of where and what times people were in which rooms on a particular day in 1992 much credence.

          • kc says:

            Moses was older than Dylan. His recollection is in line with that of the babysitter on the day in question, who said Dylan was not out of her sight more than five minutes and that she never saw the girl without her underwear.

            Also, shortly afterwards Moses confided to a nanny that he thought Mia Farrow had made the accusation up.

            • cer says:

              Where have you seen that Moses confided in the nanny? I would think that would have been given much more weight in the custody hearings and I have not seen anything about it in articles or in the statements Moses has made recently. There is the LA Times article that discusses the nanny who testified in the custody battle about what the baby-sitter told her but that nanny was not there that day. I don’t believe the babysitter ever gave her own testimony.

              He may have been older but given that he has a rough estimate of how many people were in the house I have to concur that I have serious doubts that his memories of someone else twenty years ago can be that solid.

              • Denverite says:

                He is also estranged from the Farrows, reunited with Allen, and has a not inconsiderable motive to throw Dylan and Mia under the bus.

              • kc says:

                Well, it’s right there in your own link.

                Thompson added that on one occasion almost immediately after the alleged incident, Moses, 14, another child Allen and Farrow adopted, indicated doubts about what, if anything, had taken place.

                “Moses came over to me and said that he believes that Ms. Farrow had made up the accusation that was being said by Dylan,” Thompson said in an affidavit.

                • cer says:

                  Ah. Overlooked that. I am curious as to why this was not given more weight in the custody hearings then and why Moses does not comment on it now. I’m still inclined to believe Dylan is a better witness to what happened to her.

                • kc says:

                  am curious as to why this was not given more weight in the custody hearings

                  I expect it was given some weight, but as someone noted somewhere in this thread, custody was granted to Mia because the judge found on balance that Woody Allen was a pretty lousy parent.

                  why Moses does not comment on it now.

                  I believe he just did, in that article cited above. He’s saying that Mia “brainwashed” the kids.

                • cer says:

                  I meant that we have not heard from Moses that he said that to the nanny, only her claim. Notably at the time of the custody determination he did not want to have contact with Allen.

                • Mike D. says:

                  I’m still inclined to believe Dylan is a better witness to what happened to her.

                  Of course you are. It’s axiomatic for you – no context or evidence would change this. The question is not what you are inclined to believe but what you choose to believe, in view not just of your inclinations (though you don’t have to disregard those), but also of all the evidence (including all testimonial evidence, assessed for the credibility of the testifiers and their ability to know that which they testify to).

                • Mike D. says:

                  I am curious as to why this was not given more weight in the custody hearings then and why Moses does not comment on it now.

                  Because the primary subject of the custody hearings was not the truth or falsity of farrow’s allegations. It was one matter of contention among many as to Allen’s suitability for ongoing extensive involvement with his children – which was their primary subject.

                  Jesus. Why is it so hard for people to get this through their heads. Legal proceedings where subject x is not the primary issue under consideration are not among the most reliable places to go for an appraisal of the facts around subject x. The lens through which they are examined tends to be not the right strength, and aimed in the wrong direction.

          • McAllen says:

            Seriously, people are tripping over themselves to show that Dylan Farrow’s memories are false, but the babysitter and Moses’ memories of exactly where everyone was at all times are considered decisive.

            • Bob Loblaw says:

              As I said above, I don’t put much weight on Moses’s recollections.

              The adult nanny, OTOH, who was charged with watching the child that day remembering that the child was never out of her sight seems more probable. (Of course, the nanny would have a self-interest here, but that seems counterblanced by the interest she would have in pleasing M. Farrow by corroborating her beliefs.)

      • FLRealist says:

        I’d be interested to see what Moses’ relationship with his siblings is now – is he on speaking terms with Dylan?

    • djw says:

      Some of the things on this list are, on their own, factors that make it marginally more likely that Allen is telling the truth (they exist alongside factors that make that marginally less likely, of course). But this the polygraph thing is worthless; they’re junk science and shouldn’t be taken remotely seriously in any case evidence of guilt or innocence.

    • Total says:

      Allen’s successful polygraph

      Oh, good, that settles things. Hint: there’s a reason way polygraphs are used by courts sparingly. It’s because they’re crap.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        Polygraphs are inadmissible in court because fact finding and weighing of credibility is the province of the jury, not because polygraphs are inherently suspect.

        • Total says:

          And yet they remain inherently suspect. Or, as I said, crap.

        • lawguy says:

          Well as far a polygraphs are concerned, the CIA and FBI love them, but I understand that not a single test has turned up a spy. However, more than a couple who have been tested have been revealed as spies by other methods later on.

          • Mike D. says:

            This is pure speculation, but if there are ways to train yourself to pass polygraphs on which you’ll answer questions falsely, I might expect people who have decided to make a life out of becoming employees in the security apparatus of the United States and using that position to pass sensitive information to outside parties and other governments (“spying”) to have identified and availed themselves of those methods. Maybe.

  17. Steve S. says:

    I maintain that it’s significantly more likely that Dylan Farrow is telling the truth

    You really need to drop this silly binary formulation. Even the Allen camp says that Dylan Farrow is honestly relating her memories.

  18. brad says:

    I say this without concern trolling (I hope), but, well… is anyone really looking to bet on whether Cosby, or Woody Allen, is a predator?
    I don’t agree with the criticism about speaking of odds in the prior thread, but in making it a debate about whether one believes specific accusations pretty automatically means anyone who has any doubts will seem to someone else to be an apologist. And it’s off to the races.

    • Medicine Man says:

      I wouldn’t find it hard to believe either one of them, or both of them, could be guilty. Obviously Allen has been discussed at great length here. If Cosby, a lifelong, prissy, moral scold, turned out to be a sexual predator, it would parallel what we’ve come to learn about so many other self-appointed moral guardians. It would almost look obvious in hindsight.

      • ThrottleJockey says:

        If Cosby, a lifelong, prissy, moral scold, turned out to be a sexual predator

        To white people, black men are always rapists…but for you its not enough to call him a rapist, you have to question his gender & manhood. Why that’s classy. And I bet you think you’re progressive too?

  19. Nick says:

    I’m just curious, and sorry if this is considered demagoguery or pathetic sensationalization — but all the people who are arguing that none of the evidence against Woody Allen = guilty, would you let him babysit your daughter?

    • rea says:

      If I had never heard of the accusation at all, I would not let Woody Allen babbysit my kid.. Hell, I’m not sure I’d let Ron Howard babysit my kid. Busy famous people aren’t usually the best babysitters.

    • Medicine Man says:

      That’s kinda silly, Nick. I’ve read all three threads on Allen/Farrow this week and most of the people arguing the “uncertainty” side of the argument readily acknowledge that Allen isn’t a very admirable person; moreover, most of the people arguing the “victim’s rights” side of the argument acknowledge the difference between a legal presumption of guilt and a personal/social presumption of guilt.

      • Nick says:

        Well, it is kind of silly, I agree. But at the same time, it’s a lot easier to make an academic argument against Allen than to actually think about the implications of what he’s accused of. For some people, this argument isn’t academic, and it’s worth considering whether, if you were one of those, your opinion would change.

        • Medicine Man says:

          Well, ok — personally I don’t have any trouble acknowledging that even if tomorrow Allen were proved to be 100% not a child molester he’d still be an asshole. It is entirely possible for him to occupy some point of the continuum between “should be locked in a cage” and “don’t want him near me and mine”.

        • wr says:

          Yes, Nick, for the insanely small set of people who are close enough to Woody Allen to ask him to babysit and who happen to have young daughters, this argument isn’t academic.

          I’d suspect, though, that those people probably would not choose to discuss the issue on a blog comments section.

          Just wondering — how many 78 year-old writer/directors do you suppose are asked to babysit for a non-grandchild on any given day? And do they need to be driven home afterwards?

    • Bathsheba Boldwood says:

      Wouldn’t let Mia Farrow babysit my kid either.

  20. aimai says:

    Having read the Gawker piece about Bill Cosby I’m reminded by one of the commenters there that of the Jimmy Saville case in the UK. Right up until the guy died and was buried he had his defenders and the accusations and even testimony of people about what he’d been up to were dismissed.

    My point here is that Women and Children are very, very, very, seldom believed when they make accusations against important men and after these guys die and they can no longer buy off the opposition, or hire lawyers to shut people up, or make us laugh, suddenly you get the Saville case and people in power and journalists and everyone else say “well, hoocodanode?” So sorry.

    Does it matter? Yes–because I am certain that once Allen is dead and buried it will come out that Dylan was neither the first nor the last minor child who he molested and the same people logic chopping about the age of Soon Yi etc… will be so shocked to discover it. And by looking the other way society has enabled it–just as society has enabled Cosby and enabled Saville.

    • Nick says:

      I completely agree — this is basically an exercise in constructing reasons why a man with more red flags sticking out of him than a bull in the ring is as pure as the driven snow.

    • potsherds says:

      I agree 100%.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Having read the Gawker piece about Bill Cosby ….

      ****

      I am certain that once Allen is dead and buried it will come out that Dylan was neither the first nor the last minor child who he molested

      Doesn’t the Cosby case tend to disprove your hypothesis? The usual pattern is that when one person comes forward to accuse a person of sex crimes, the other victims start coming forward (e.g., Cosby, Clarence Thomas). Here we have allegations that have been public for 20+ years, yet no other victim has ever surfaced.

    • Mrs Tilton says:

      I am certain that once Allen is dead and buried it will come out that Dylan was neither the first nor the last minor child who he molested

      There is something moving, in its way, about faith-based certainty.

    • Medicine Man says:

      It is not hard to imagine exactly that happening. Given the way that fame, money, and position in the community is routinely used to enable crimes of this nature and to thwart justice when these crimes come to light, Allen would seem be a prime example of apologia in action. Given this and Allen’s history of borderline behavior I know that my gut reaction is to believe Dylan Farrow’s account on principle.

      I think you, Shakezula, and Scott Lemieux make an excellent case for why accusations of this nature need to be investigated zealously and grounds for dismissal must be held to a very high standard. The only thing that is a bridge too far for me is that y’all seem to be arguing that there should be a presumption of guilt for the accused — not just for Allen in particular but for all cases like this one, in general. I hope if I’m mistaken you’ll set me straight.

      • lawguy says:

        I thought that this was investigated in detail at the time.

        • lawguy says:

          I have no idea how or why my last comment was bold. Perhaps I just wanted to make sure people paid attention.

        • Medicine Man says:

          It looks like it was. I’m not challenging that.

          Actually I haven’t read anything in the three LGM threads regarding Allen/Farrow that I felt convincingly discredited that investigation. I think I would want to read criticisms of the investigation and see how specific they are before venturing an opinion about it.

    • ThrottleJockey says:

      My point here is that Women and Children are very, very, very, seldom believed…

      You know who else is very seldom believed by society?

      Black men.

      Just ask Emmett Till about that. Or the Scottsboro Boys. Or Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Kharey Wise. Or Jesus Ortiz, Kevin Taveras, Stalin Felipe and Rondell Bedward. If you can’t find one of them there are hundreds more who’ve been falsely accused. Smart black men never forget that no matter how much money & fame they have, they’re still black. Racism is like gravity. It always pulls you down.

    • lawguy says:

      Oh come on. There are absolutely no other allegations anywhere that I am aware of about Allen and other prepubescent children. If you have heard of any please share.

    • Mike D. says:

      I am certain that once Allen is dead and buried it will come out that Dylan was neither the first nor the last minor child who he molested

      She’s certain, ladies and germs.

  21. Nick says:

    Kind of like that highly enlightening debate about who lied about yellowcake during Bush’s State of the Union address.

  22. David W. says:

    I’m wondering if there could be a civil suit filed against Allen.

  23. KmCO says:

    The only thing I will add to this discussion–and I say this as someone who initially believed that Woody Allen was innocent of the charges–is that, upon learning more about Woody’s inappropriate sexual boundaries, his pattern of preferences for much younger women, and his cruel treatment of his family (including his patently clear hatred of Ronan even as a baby), I am much more inclined to believe that Woody is in fact a sexual predator and that Dylan Farrow is accurately describing what happened.

    • John F says:

      (including his patently clear hatred of Ronan even as a baby)

      I think his patently clear hatred of Ronan has to do with the fact that the kid wasn’t his, and is unrelated to whether or not he’s a pedophile.

      • KmCO says:

        I don’t believe that Woody is a pedophile. I am inching much closer to believing that he did molest Dylan. Pedophilia is a red herring. Inappropriate sexual behavior is what we’re really discussing, and there is little doubt that Woody’s behavior over the years has been creepy and inappropriate.

        • Denverite says:

          I’m in this boat as well. There’s a lot of evidence out there that he’s really creepy and inappropriate around young girls, and I’m starting to be of the view that perhaps the government-appointed psychiatrists didn’t look at all of that evidence, or that Dylan WAS coached, but only on how to explain an event that did occur.

          • Anderson says:

            I just don’t think that Mia Farrow’s actions are consistent with believing that her lover had molested her daughter. Fuck videotaping her – I’d call the cops.

            That may not be the most objective way of evaluating her, but I think my reaction passes the minimum threshold set by these threads ….

            • Denverite says:

              I’m a bit biased, because my similarly-aged daughter is hyper-verbal and can tell a story better and more coherently than most adults. But I understand that she’s unusual in this regard, and that a lot of seven-year olds are difficult to understand. I further understand that Dylan was a very shy girl. Combine the two, and while Farrow undoubtedly had some initial suspicions, it took a while for the complete story to emerge.

              That’s a plausible scenario, at least.

            • kc says:

              Not JUST videotaping her – doing it over a three day period, with multiple starts and stops.

              That could be consistent with Farrow believing Allen did it and wanting to get it on tape, OR with her coaching Dylan until she said what Farrow wanted her to.

  24. Anderson says:

    Molly Lambert’s piece on the controversy is excellent.

    … at confirming one’s previously-held suspicion of Allen. Lambert simply repeats one side’s allegations as the truth. She’s how I found the Orth article that simply cites “sources,” which is a red flag to anybody who didn’t just fall off the hay truck.

    Lambert: “These are serious allegations and they should absolutely be taken seriously.” They were.

  25. nemerinys says:

    IMO, this shouldn’t be about whether one chooses to watch or boycott Woody Allen films, or whether one thinks May-December relationships are acceptable or not.

    Neither Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, or Dylan Farrow spoke publicly whenever a Woody Allen film was released, or when such films were nominated for various awards. This all began when it was announced last September that he would received a special lifetime award at the Golden Globes. It’s understandable that such an industry accolade would hit a nerve and set off the reactions as the November Vanity Fair article, Ronan’s and Mia’s tweets, and Dylan’s open letter.

    As I’ve noted before, with respect to Dylan Farrow’s allegation, her own forthrightness and the words of the court justices who reviewed all the relevant evidence strongly support her allegation that her father sexually molested her. I find it disturbing that it was Woody Allen who publicized the newly opened investigation into Dylan’s claim; IMO, most men would want to keep this quiet to protect themselves, and most loving fathers would want to keep it quiet to ensure a calm and thorough investigation they believed would clear their name and that would, in the meantime, keep their child out of the limelight. To me, his seeking publicity this way was a call-out to all his industry supporters to derail or undermine the investigation. This comes as no surprise from a man who would later, along with many of those industry supporters, sign the petition and publicly speak out against Polanski’s extradition to face charges for child rape. It’s not as though Woody Allen had ever worked with or had a long-time friendship with the man.

    And, lastly, it doesn’t really matter that Soon-Yi Previn had never considered Woody Allen a surrogate father or that he was barely involved in her life. What matters is the type of person who would initiate a sexual relationship with his girlfriend’s daughter while not only still in a relationship with the girlfriend, but with a young woman who was his own son’s sister and while completing the process of adopting two of his girlfriend’s other children – two other siblings of his young sexual partner. There is no doubt in my mind that a person who could do these things so blithely, with such disregard for the family relationships involved, would treat his young adopted daughter as his own little plaything without any moral qualms.

    • kc says:

      I find it disturbing that it was Woody Allen who publicized the newly opened investigation into Dylan’s claim

      What are you talking about?

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        KC, Let me know if you find out.

        • kc says:

          Here I was thinking that it was Mia and Ronan Farrow who have successfully gotten this back in the news. And if there’s a “newly opened investigation,” other than the kangaroo court of the Internet, I haven’t heard about it.

      • nemerinys says:

        My apologies. I was referring to the timing of the 1992 investigation, upon which, one week after it was assigned, Woody Allen publicly sued for custody, spoke to media about his love for Soon-Yi Previn, and announced that he was the subject of an investigation for sexual abuse. Neither the police, the prosecutor, or Mia Farrow had said anything publicly until he made that announcement.

        As I noted, I find that disturbing, and highly suspicious. After I wrote that comment, I came across this Atlantic article that fleshes out what I feel about those actions.

        • cer says:

          Woody Allen publicly sued for custody, spoke to media about his love for Soon-Yi Previn, and announced that he was the subject of an investigation for sexual abuse. Neither the police, the prosecutor, or Mia Farrow had said anything publicly until he made that announcement.

          Wow. I had read about his public media campaign but not about the fact that he was, in fact the one who took the allegations public via the custody case.

          • Anderson says:

            Assumes the conclusion. Suppose the abuse claim was totally false; then seeking custody, exposing Mia’s motive, and publicly denying the claim would make sense. It’s only “suspicious” if you suppose he abused Dylan.

            • cer says:

              It’s pretty shitty to Dylan to go on a scorched earth campaign that included selectively releasing information about her statements (such as that she couldn’t distinguish fantasy and reality, which is a conclusion Leventhal later retracted). For all the complaints that Mia and Ronan are airing dirty laundry publicly he started the public battle and used the media and the courts to do so.

              • Anderson says:

                If Mia is using purported statements by Dylan that Woody abused Dylan, and Woody knows those statements to be false, then it’s actually rather charitable to say of a 7-year-old that she is having trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Not “shitty” at all.

    • Denverite says:

      and the words of the court justices who reviewed all the relevant evidence strongly support her allegation that her father sexually molested her.

      That’s a mischaracterization of what the judges said. The trial court said that there’s no conclusive proof that Allen didn’t abuse here. The appellate court said that the evidence “suggests” that the abuse occurred, but on the whole, wasn’t conclusive. Absolutely nothing rises to the level of “strongly support” — those are your words, not any judges.

      • Ed says:

        The wording of nemerinyis’ post is overstated, but it is true that when these issues went before the courts, including the appeals, Allen consistently lost, and lost badly (with accompanying unflattering comments from the judge(s)).

        • Denverite says:

          Right, but he didn’t lose because any of these judges thought that he abused her. He lost in the trial court because the judge thought he was a miserable human being, and he lost on appeal because the judge thought that regardless of the evidence of the abuse allegation (which it thought was inconclusive), the investigation itself and the general circus surrounding the ordeal was causing significant harm to Dylan.

          • Ed says:

            From the appeal, as quoted in an earlier thread:

            As we noted above, Mr. Allen maintains that Ms. Farrow’s allegations concerning the sexual abuse of Dylan were fabricated by Ms. Farrow both as a result of her rage over his relationship with Ms. Previn and as part of her continued plan to alienate him from his children. However, our review of the record militates against a finding that Ms. Farrow fabricated the allegations without any basis. Unlike the court at IAS, we do not consider the conclusions reached by Doctors Coates and Schultz and by the Yale-New Haven team, to be totally unpersuasive. While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse did occur. While the evidence in support of the allegations remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.

            I’d say it’s more accurate to say that none of the judges would say definitely that he abused her (for obvious reasons). All the same, they consistently decided, quite emphatically, against him.

            • Denverite says:

              How is this even remotely different from what I said? I even quoted 2/3 of it (and not selectively) upthread. Bottom line: Allegations of abuse inconclusive, other reasons to deny visitation. Right?

              • Breadbaker says:

                Remember, the standard the court was applying was “best interests of the child”, which is a vague standard that focuses, generally quite appropriately, on the child’s welfare instead of on purely legal rights of parents. In other words, however articulated, the court was applying the rather obvious ick factor of whatever relationship Allen had with Dylan at that time and concluded that it should basically end. That was obviously the correct decision at the time and it didn’t require reaching any firm conclusions on the specific incident about which all this ink has been cybernetically spilled.

      • nemerinys says:

        Again, I seem to have made myself unclear. I meant that, given “her own forthrightness and the words of the court justices who reviewed all the relevant evidence,” that her (Dylan’s) allegation appeared to be strongly supported (as opposed to, let’s say, the controversial Yale-New Haven from which Dr. Leventhal had to backtrack on some of the observations noted therein, and the press campaign statements and accusations from Woody Allen, his attorney, and his supporters).

        • Denverite says:

          as opposed to, let’s say, the controversial Yale-New Haven from which Dr. Leventhal had to backtrack on some of the observations noted therein

          I’m not really sure it was controversial, except in the sense that some people (and judges, to be fair) disagreed with it.

          Again, though, none of the judges said that Allen abused Farrow, or even that it was more likely than not that he did. What they said was that he didn’t conclusively prove his innocence (trial court), or that the evidence for the allegations was inconclusive (appellate court). Both the trial and appellate court based their ultimate conclusion to deny visitation on different theories.

        • lawguy says:

          I would point out that the judges did not interview Dylan, the Yale group did. The appellate judges would only have reviewed the transcript and other evidence presented in the appeal, so they would have been even further from the child than the trial judge.

          Also, there is a presumption in appeals that the trial court is correct and absent a showing that the trial court incorrectly applied the law to the facts or that no rational person could have reached the original conclusion that original conclusion is allowed to stand.

          The rest as they say is dicta.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      This all began when it was announced last September that he would received a special lifetime award at the Golden Globes.

      No, it began last summer when Ronan trolled Allen on twitter about “Father’s day is brother-in-law’s day at my house.”

  26. Bill in Section 147 says:

    Thanks for the link to Greg Hanlon’s article about Dave Megget. Beats the heck out of the weak sauce usually found in the fish wrap.

  27. Bloix says:

    Prefacing by saying that I have no belief one way or the other about the facts, and no intention of devoting the energy necessary to form an informed view:

    The way this makes me feel is the way I felt about Lance Armstrong when the drug allegations began to be supported by credible evidence. Not that I concluded he had used PED’s – but I really, deeply wanted to believe that he had not done so, even while I acknowledged the possibility that he had.

  28. K says:

    Could you imagine being raped by Bill Cosby? Talk about nightmares. I don’t see anyone wanting to smear Bill Cosby bad enough to have their kid falsely accuse him of rape. It’s not like he ever pissed anyone off, he was the black mister rogers with a family. Actually, if I had to put money on one of them being a child molester before, i’dve put it on rogers before this, what with all those toys he liked to play with and talk to. Mister rogers was supposedly a marine core sniper in Vietnam, or something like that. There were things that went on over there that once you see them, you can’t un-see them.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Dylan’s response to Moses:

    “This is such a betrayal to me and my whole family,” she tells PEOPLE in response to her brother’s comments. “My memories are the truth and they are mine and I will live with that for the rest of my life.”

    “My mother never coached me,” Dylan says. “She never planted false memories in my brain. My memories are mine. I remember them. She was distraught when I told her. When I came forward with my story she was hoping against hope that I had made it up. In one of the most heartbreaking conversations I have ever had, she sat me down and asked me if I was telling the truth. She said that Dad said he didn’t do anything. and I said, ‘He’s lying.’ “

    Source

  30. Anonymous says:

    As for bleating about Soon-Yi’s “agency” as though that cancels out the power differential, Allen himself characterized the relationship as “paternal.”

    The very inequality of me being older and much more accomplished, much more experienced, takes away any real meaningful conflict. So when there’s disagreement, it’s never an adversarial thing. I don’t ever feel that I’m with a hostile or threatening person. It’s got a more paternal feeling to it.

    Vanity Fair

    • KmCO says:

      The very inequality of me being older and much more accomplished, much more experienced, takes away any real meaningful conflict. So when there’s disagreement, it’s never an adversarial thing. I don’t ever feel that I’m with a hostile or threatening person.

      Christ, what an asshole.

  31. N__B says:

    A new question, I think: did Andre Previn ever comment on his kids after his marriage with Mia Farrow ended? Does he maintain relations with them?

    • KmCO says:

      I’m a bit curious about that myself.

    • Jean-Michel says:

      Well, he commented on Soon-Yi for the Vanity Fair piece:

      Soon-Yi, from Korea, now married to Woody Allen, was adopted at seven, after having been abused and abandoned by her prostitute mother. She is totally estranged from Mia’s family, and she and Allen have adopted two daughters. Her father, André Previn, says, “She does not exist.”

      I don’t know what kind of relationship he has with the other Previn-Farrow children, but this 2008 profile says he was on good terms with Farrow herself. He takes a phone call from one of his daughters during the interview, but he also has daughters with two other women.

  32. MDrew says:

    What the fuck kind of argument is this?

    This panel exists, after all, in a world in which articles as transparently misogynist as Weide’s can get extensive praise from people with otherwise progressive politics, in which people don’t want to believe that men are sexual predators, and really don’t want to believe that wealthy celebrities are sexual predators.

    • MDrew says:

      …Everything exists in that world. Makes it pretty hard for any panel, even an ideal one, to be regarded as credible if it comes back with the wrong conclusion.

  33. Mike Schilling says:

    I didn’t know this, but Bill Cosby has been accused multiple times of sexual assault. Perhaps this is all an extraordinary coincidence, and he’s entirely innocent. But that’s really not how to bet.

    So has Bill Clinton, and you did know that.

  34. O da humanity says:

    I first got a creepy vibe about Bill Cosby back in the 60′s. No lie! Read his liner notes on the Temptations Greatest Hits. Somehow he made up some strange story about how the titles of the Temps songs all got him to thinking weird ideas about his daughters and he was sure his wife wouldn’t like it when she found out.

    I believe Eddie Murphy once gave the best advice to Bill: Have a Coke and a smile and STFU.

  35. [...] posts have been written about this whole awful mess, but it was reading the responses to this post and previous ones on the same blog – one I usually admire and read with pleasure – that pushed me [...]

  36. Rob in CT says:

    This whole thing is utterly f*cked up. I’m in the “I really don’t know what happened, but all of the people who were adults at the time sound like assholes” camp, if that exists.

  37. Mike D. says:

    I think one important thing gets lost in all the discussion about what we private people should think about Woody Allen, unindicted child molester. He could have been an indicted child molester, but Mia Farrow chose for that not to happen.

    The question is what we should learn from that. That our system makes it too hard for the victims of sexual assault to get through the judicial process of prosecuting abusers? That it did at the time, but has improved? That it did in this case because of the special investigation, which occurred because of Allen’s status? Or that Mia Farrow simply denied her daughter a chance at whatever justice the criminal justice system of the time could possible offer her? (And if so, did she wrong her in so doing, or take the right action for her best interest?) How are these decisions, about proceeding with criminal proceedings against abusers that will necessarily be traumatic for victims – or not, out of concern for victims’ wellbeing – best made? What needs to change in the process so that victims face a manageable choice between justice and prolonging the trauma – and can the system be changed to provide such a balance while the process we retain can still be understood as one of justice.

    For all the discussion of conflicting accounts of the events of the day and the questionable findings of an independent investigative panel, the on-the-ground fact of the situation at the end of the investigative day in 1992 was that a prosecutor was ready to proceed with charges but the victims mother asked him not to. For those of us who would like to see actual sexual abuse prosecuted in all possible instances (barring unacceptable resulting damage to already damaged victims), the question we should be asking is, why was that the outcome, what from can we learn from this case about the defects of the system we have in place, and what do we conclude needs to therefore change (if it hasn’t in the intervening 20 years)?

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