Blacklisting the genius Woody Allen is inconceivable

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

After all the erroneous accusations, after the HBO documentary, after Ronan Farrow and the #MeToo assassination movement’s collapse, after all this time, is it possible that filmmaker Woody Allen is innocent of the incendiary charge that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow?

Legendary character actor Wallace Shawn thinks so.

“I’ve followed the case: I’ve read quite a bit about it, I saw the documentary trying to substantiate Dylan’s story and I don’t believe that this happened,” Shawn says.

The allegation has been investigated repeatedly – but in the media, not in court. Allen has never once been charged with a crime in a court of law. But he has been tried and found guilty by many in the Hollywood woketopia, and has been blacklisted by the likes of Selena Gomez, Timothee Chalomet, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, and Rebecca Hall, who all have said they will never work with Allen again. Amazon dumped its multi-film contract with Allen.

The fact that auteur Allen was even being paid by billionaire Bezos is, in and of itself a comedy of errors.

Coming from Hollywood, blacklisting Allen is more than ironic. Tinseltown still acts like it’s suffering under the old Hays Code even though censorship is long gone (unless you shoot a film in China, or want your film to sell well in China, in which case Disney leads Hollywood’s voluntary self-censorship and then credits the censors as it did in the live-action Mulan film) and still, to this day, wallows in the injustice of the 1950s blacklists that kept writers, actors, and other entertainment professionals from working if anyone accused them of being communists or sympathizing with the Soviet totalitarian monsters.

Yes, innocent until proven guilty should have mattered then. It should also matter now. The fact is, Allen has not only not been proven guilty, he hasn’t been charged at all, and the accusation against him carries more than a fetid whiff of domestic divorce warfare. Hollywood should be very familiar with that.

Wallace Shawn, the actor best known for his role and his iconic “Inconceivable!” line in the classic comedy The Princess Bride, has worked with Allen on several films including the recently released Rifkin’s Festival and says he’s happy to work with the embattled director again. Shawn shows rare courage in Hollywood, where leftist groupthink and latching onto the latest political fad dominate. Shawn recently wrote an open letter explaining his position, and points the finger at Hollywood agents who he says are advising actors to steer clear of Allen.

“At the moment, people’s agents tell them to denounce Woody and to not work with him,” Shawn said.

Think about that for a second. What do Hollywood agents stand for? Artistic merit? Truth? Fairness and justice? No, Hollywood agents stand for one thing and one thing alone: money. They’re not telling their clients to stay away from Woody Allen because it’s the right thing to do. They’re telling their clients to stay away from Woody Allen because, at 86, his artistic movies like Wonder Wheel and A Rainy Day in New York don’t make the bank of a Marvel superhero tentpole, and because it’s just easier to denounce Allen than to take a courageous stand for him. You work with Allen to make art, not for a big payday. If you’re an agent wanting your client to star in a box office smash (so your own bank account gets fatter), and you want to generate a headline the leftist media is bound to play hard (and will promote whatever your client is attached to), then have your client read their lines and denounce Woody Allen. It’s easy, and it’s safe. It’s just business, nothing personal – or right or ethical.

This is the same Hollywood infested with the same agents that enabled Harvey Weinstein for decades. That was just business, too.

“I was very upset that some of my fellow actors leapt to the conclusion that Woody was guilty of a serious crime that you can go to prison for without really knowing that much about it,” Shawn, who says he has done his own homework on the issue, recently told Yahoo Movies.

Thanks to greedy agents and good, old-fashioned cowardice, it’s safe in Hollywood to denounce a man who proclaims his innocence and has never faced his accusations in court, where evidence is weighed against other evidence in as fair a manner as possible. It’s safe to self-censor in Hollywood on behalf of China’s communist rulers too. It’s just business.

It’s not fair to denounce all of Hollywood, of course, just as it’s not fair to proclaim Allen guilty without a trial. Wallace Shawn has starred in six of Allen’s films and he isn’t alone in supporting Allen now. Scarlett Johanssen has worked with him and says she’d be happy to again. She’s one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Javier Bardem, who starred as Desi Arnaz in Amazon’s Being the Ricardos, says the same. Likewise for Larry David, Diane Keaton, who has starred in several Allen films going back to Sleeper in 1973, Blake Lively, and Kristen Stewart.

But where is the rest of Hollywood? Many of Hollywood’s hypocrites are only too happy to kowtow to the latest cancel mob, oblivious to the probability that something they said or did yesterday or decades ago will get the mob to hunt them. Wallace Shawn has it right. Face down the mob now, from a position of having done your own research, and take a stand for a man’s innocence and for artistic freedom. Anything else is inconceivable.

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A.J. Rice

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