A mom I had never met who lives in another state reached me on my office phone today. She was upset, really upset, as moms will get when the possible suffering of kids is callously ignored. The mom called me because she found a Huffington Post piece I had written in defense of Dylan Farrow, who accused Woody Allen, her mother Mia Farrow's former lover and partner in life and in work, of molesting her in the attic of her home when she was 7 years old. You most likely know the horrific alleged incidents Dylan described. You know also that for varying reasons the case did not continue, that Allen's defenders attacked Mia Farrow, and that Allen denied everything, blaming all on his former partner.
When I received the call today I was on deadline for a book I am researching on burnout, and had completely missed this news. What I learned, researching the story myself, did not burn me out, but it did burn me up!
Allen, now 79, has been hired to write and direct a half-hour series, not yet titled, which has been ordered for a year. While some say that the topic has not been decided upon, Bloomberg News has reported that in his first attempt at a television series, Allen will depict the challenges of a Web retailer building video offers. Subscribers will be able to access the show through Amazon's Prime service, at a cost of $99 dollars a year, along with other perks. Amazon does not disclose how many of its clients pay for Prime, but it is estimated, according to Bloomberg News, that this number ranges from 20 to 35 million subscribers.
While all details have not be shared with the public about Amazon's new guy in town, this much is clear: Amazon had a big win at the Golden Globes with two awards won by its well appreciated cross-dressing sitcom, Transparent. However, it has not given audiences the thrilling hits offered by Netflix's House of Cards, HBO's Game of Thrones, or AMC's Breaking Bad. In addition, according to Bloomberg news, Amazon posted a net loss of $437 in its third quarter, which is its worse showing since 2003.
The guy who Amazon is banking on with prime time bucks to bring them up to true star status has skillfully deflected all of Dylan's expressed horror. Yet, he has never addressed the following: before the attack Dylan described, Allen was reportedly seeing a psychiatrist because of his obsessive attention to Dylan. The situation was so troublesome to mother and child that childcare employees in Farrow's home were advised never to leave Dylan alone with Allen. And the following gives pause: Allen's hair was found in the attic where Dylan described the attack; but Allen, who says that he would never be in the attic with Dylan due to his claustrophobia, said the hair was there because he had been in the attic to help Mia Farrow.
And here are facts that cannot be disputed: Because so many victims of abuse do not report their abuse, its real prevalence is not known. However, in 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. Further, children are victimized at a much higher rate than adults (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). Females are 5 times as likely to be abused as males (Sedlack, et. al. 2010), and children are most vulnerable to abuse from ages 7 to 13 (Finkelhor, 1994).
Boundaries are usually apparent between one's life and one's art, but for Woody Allen the two are inextricably woven. In his largely autobiographical films and other works, his obsession with very young girls as they emerge into women is clear, as is an unsettling lack of impulse control and a conscience that touts: "I will have and do whatever I want, however and whenever I want it." All of this lies beneath a highly effective, seemingly innocent, "little boy lost" type of humor, where Allen innocently hides what is unseemly as he asks, "Who me?"
This "little boy lost humor" was apparent as Allen joked recently about his new Amazon project, referring to Roy Price, who leads Amazon's studio: "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this."
I bet a great number of people, including a great many moms, hope that Roy Price will regret this decision. Getting a number to call and a real live person to talk with to voice dissatisfaction about Amazon's decision to employ Woody Allen was not easy, but here it is: 866 216 1072.