Can You Love Woody’s Movies and Hate the Man?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

What do you do when an artist you love is accused of something that makes your stomach churn? Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine TV critic and editor-in-chief of, weighs in on whether the allegations about Woody Allen make it harder to like his movies, and the sometimes tricky line between art and artist.


Matt Zoller Seitz

Comments [87]

L Dean from BK

I don't understand the criticism about this show being Anti-Woody. Did those that think this read the title of the show? It's "Can You Love Woody’s Movies and Hate the Man?".
And during the show they spoke in suppositions not accusations.

The title of things in journalistic shows kind of describes the content - it's kind of absurd so many didn't understand this.

I think when it comes down to it, the defenders of Woody aren't defending Woody. They are defending themselves and their right to like Woody. I think if they thought he was guilty of abuse - they couldn't reconcile enjoying his films. So to their minds he must be innocent at all costs.

Feb. 13 2014 08:52 PM

Replying to Matt Zoeller Seitz’s response to me:

Your response to my comment was not only gratuitously insulting but in your basic statement--”I specifically said the opposite of everything you are claiming I said”--you were thoroughly false and misleading.

You quoted my having written: “"The guest, Matt Zoller Seitz, was flagrantly biased, making one deliberately misleading statement after another, apparently transferring some private rage and pain from his own life and using Woody Allen as a conveniently famous target” and you asserted that the audio from 8:30-11:30 would prove me completely wrong.

In fact, the audio shows that my criticism of you was fair and correct, and that your claim against me was dishonest.

At around 8:45, after you had been silent for around 4:00 minutes while Ms Sale spoke to several callers, who piled on against Mr Allen, you suddenly leapt in to confront the first caller who had pointed out that there was no concrete evidence that WA had abused DF. You told the caller emphatically that he should keep in mind how serious these allegations are, “about as serious an offense as one person can commit against another. And it costs the accuser a tremendous amount in terms of social and emotional capital to talk about it”. And you went on to conclude that, “we’re not going to get justice really, unless WA suddenly comes forward and says, ‘Yes, I did it’”.

Are you really arguing that your statements there do not show flagrant bias and are not deliberately misleading? How much more biased or misleading could anyone be?

And, given your final statement on the show, how can you possibly deny my pointing out that your entire take on the Allen v Farrow controversy was biased by your “transferring some private rage and pain from [your] own life and using Woody Allen as a conveniently famous target”? Please note that the audio shows that your final statement was: “I grew up with pretty severe domestic violence in my childhood, and I’ve never said that publicly, at least not on the radio. I wouldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been for the arguments occurring around this Allen and Farrow case. So, as horrible as it might sound, I think that there’s a silver lining in all this. Maybe that’s the silver lining.” What could be more explicit proof that your whole approach to the Allen v Farrow issue was biased by your own private pain?

I am sorry to learn that you were abused as a child. But that does not give you carte blanche as an adult to go around defaming Woody Allen or even me, as you did in subjecting me to ridicule for pointing out your bias. Please take responsibility and apologize now.

Feb. 09 2014 10:34 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

To say that you owe Woody Allen a complete re-do on this show is an understatement. The man was neither arrested or charged for these allegations. A prestigious and rigorously neutral panel from Yale-Newhaven not only found the charges "unfounded", but also raised the issue of Ms. Farrow's culpability for these allegations. After you read Mr. Allen's statement in The Times, perhaps you will be fair. To leave Mr. Seitz's show as the final word on this matter would be obscene. Finally why is Mr. Kristof and Mr. Rosenthal getting a pass here. Kristof basically
issued a press release for his close friend Mia Farrow's vicious vendetta.

Feb. 07 2014 11:25 PM

You really have to wonder about a community that essentially blacklists someone for anti-semitism, and a right wing agenda (Mel GIbson), but not a man who we know to sexually abused a 13 year old girl (Roman Polanski). It seems that there would be more of a backlash against someone displaying homophobia than sexual abuse. (Full disclosure - I am Jewish and a lefty and don't care for Mel Gibson).

in our society in general there is a reluctance to address the prevalence of child sexual abuse and violence against women, especially in the media.

Feb. 07 2014 01:58 PM

Can You Love Woody’s Movies and Hate the Man?

Joan Rivers has said that she is funny because she is a funny person; that seems to fit Allen as well. He's portrayed himself often as a wily follower of his own whims,but its been presented as humor. Comes reports that maybe his narcissism working with his power has led to things beyond inappropriate.

In the famous case in which a young girl was held, tortured and murdered, the next door neighbor had reason to suspect wrongdoing. Instead she reflected, 'who am I to judge'.

In this modern age, we are consuming many things we know little of: where did they come from, who made them, what is in them? If we think more deeply, we might be able to choose more wisely what we support.

Feb. 07 2014 10:36 AM
James Niesen from Brooklyn

Can you read the novels of Celine, the poems of pound or view the paintings of Nolde, the modernist painter and Nazi sympathizer whose works were condemned by Hitler as degenerate art.

Feb. 07 2014 09:54 AM
Anne Benson from Woodstock, NY

After the appalling one-sidedness of this segment, and with all the listner commentary pointing this out, I think WNYC owes the public another segment in which the actual FACTS of the case are aired. This was so unprofessional and unworthy of public radio, that I believe this is the least WNYC can do to for its listeners and for the cause of not only good journalism, but for fairness and justice.

Feb. 07 2014 08:58 AM
art525 from Park Slope

For years, long before knowing of this accusation and before his creepy action of seducing his adopted daughter, I have found his movies to display an ugly spirit. He is an ugly little man and he uses his movies to mock other people in an attempt to empower himself. People are trying to give him a loophole because his now wife wasn't a blood relative. It is still a case where he viloated acceptable behavior and preyed on a young (way too young) impressionable girl. It was also no doubt psychologically damaging to other family members. And Mariel Hemingway has said that it was creepy when she had to kiss him in Manhattan. It is ugly thsata people are willing to make excuses for the guy because they like his movies. And even taking out the ugliness in those movies I just don't see them as anything terribly worthwhile. MY wife and I recently watched the recent Paris movie on Netflix. EH. My first in a long time and my last. I would boycott him because of his ugly soul but I don't need to because I just have no interest in his stuff.

Feb. 07 2014 07:59 AM

I am re-posting a link to an article that was posted earlier by matthiew.

This article answers all the lies and innuendos that were broadcast by WNYC and continue to be added to the comments section. I suggest that BL producers add this link to the segment's podcast download in order to somehow balance the segment's content.

I also suggest, that until it is done, everybody who disagrees with the way this situation was handled by BL show includes the link in their comments.

Feb. 07 2014 07:41 AM
L Dean from Brooklyn

To all those folks splitting hairs about the technicality that Woody Allen was not the Adoptive Father nor a Step-father:

What if a family friend who has known your child since the age of ten and has had access to them as much as Mr. Allen did to Soon-Yi - takes revealing photos of them when they are a teenager and then marries them a few years later?

I'm am supposing that would be perfectly okay with you, because these friends of yours do not have the title adoptive parent or step-parent.

So how do those shoes fit?

Feb. 06 2014 07:35 PM
L Dean from Brooklyn

To all those folks splitting hairs about the technicality that Woody Allen was not the Adoptive Father nor a Step-father:

What if a family friend who has known your child since the age of ten and has had access to them as much as Mr. Allen did to Soon-Yi - takes revealing photos of them when they are a teenager and then marries them a few years later?

I'm am supposing that would be perfectly okay with you, because these friends of yours do not have the title adoptive parent or step-parent.

So how do those shoes fit?

Feb. 06 2014 07:34 PM

I object to BL Producer's removal of my earlier comment. It was not a personal attack on Anna Sales and/or Matt Zoller Seitz, but an illustration of weakness of their statements and logic.

I should also point out the the entire segment was a nonstop personal attack on Mr. Allen.

Feb. 06 2014 05:33 PM

Does Brian Lehrer not care about about the veracity of segments on his show when he is on vacation? It is sad that Seitz was the victim of abuse. However, he would be better served confronting his abuser because, as he mentioned, he has not processed his own experience sufficiently to prevent him from projecting his own experience onto this situation. The preponderance of evidence doesn't support the allegation. Down with Anna Sales.

Feb. 06 2014 04:52 PM
Dan Springer

It's strange that Brian's replacement never brings up the fact that Soon Yi was NOT Woody Allen's Daughter OR Step-Daughter. Woody was not married to Mia and they broke up before he started seeing her. I'm not saying that's acceptable behavior, but the fact is that she was not his Daughter or Step-Daughter. That's not an opinion- it's a fact.

Feb. 06 2014 04:42 PM

[[We've removed a few comments for violating the WNYC posting policy. Please keep your comments civil, refrain from personal attacks, and on topic. These are difficult topics, but we are trying out best to keep the comments page a place for productive interaction.]]

Feb. 06 2014 03:22 PM

ah, tnx HJS, I no strain in that choice. (still, i'd expect bl or producer to provide a bit of direction around blatant errors…)

Feb. 06 2014 02:45 PM

I have a huge complaint about this segment. Woody Allen was NEVER Soon-yee Previn's step ANYTHING. That Anna Sales or the guest FAILED to correct any caller that made those false facts is a TERRIBLE and GROSS FAILURE on their part. I cannot believe and Ms. Sales or a producer did not take a moment to fact check this information and announce a correction on air. Regardless of ones feelings on this issue, to perpetuate false facts is unacceptable of WNYC.

Feb. 06 2014 01:29 PM
tag from n.j.

The whole point is people like Woody Allen are changing a culture. He is decadent and perverted. We need to boycott all these people who are badly influencing our American culture. We are becoming morally deprived with all the TV, movies and music that is decaying our society.

Feb. 06 2014 01:14 PM

I can't believe people are more upset about Woody Allen marrying his girlfriend's adopted daughter (when she was 19 years old and with whom he didn't have any kind of father/daughter relationship) than him molesting his daughter. Look at your priorities people.

I think it's okay to separate the art from the artist and still enjoy his movies, but i still think think he should be investigated and/or prosecuted because after all he was accused of COMMITTING A CRIME AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON.

Feb. 06 2014 12:48 PM
Paul from New York, NY

Lamentably, this segment was not up to the normally high standards of the Brian Lehrer Show. It basically proceeded on the assumption that the accusation of pedophilia was true, when that is far from the case in this instance, as any informed and objective observer would know.

Feb. 06 2014 12:22 PM
Christopher from NYC

Yes, I love, appreciate, admire much of Woody Allen's work.
While I deplore anyone using or abusing children in any manner, accusations alone do not equal guilt, 20 years on and he's been charged with no crime, and we not his jury. I don't understand how we can, or should, pass any kind of judgement here. At present -- and for the past 20 years -- it's been a personal matter, made public, because it involves celebrities, and reinforces the cliche', "... a woman scorned", as Mia's gracelessly aired her personal outrage so publicly all along, verging on character assassination.
Finally, in answer to your question: I cannot hate a man I do not know.

Feb. 06 2014 12:13 PM

BL is not hosting today.

Feb. 06 2014 12:12 PM
Avi from New York

Jesus christ people, Soon-Yi was NOT his step-daugher. And please Google her interview with Newsweek for her side.

Matt Zoller Seitz is horribly biased against Woody. He insinuates that we can't know the truth unless Woody fesses up. What about Mia/Farrow fessing up?

Feb. 06 2014 12:01 PM
Matt Zoller Seitz

mgduke writes:

"The guest, Matt Zoller Seitz, was flagrantly biased, making one deliberately misleading statement after another, apparently transferring some private rage and pain from his own life and using Woody Allen as a conveniently famous target. The callers chosen to be aired were almost entirely people who revealed long-standing anger directed against WA. And the guest host, Anna Sale, was little better, not only letting the biased statements fly unchallenged but leaning with the mob."

Take a deep breath.

Now: Listen to the stretch from 8:30-11:30.

I specifically said the opposite of everything you are claiming I said.


Feb. 06 2014 11:56 AM
Jonathan Langdale

I think Allen is guilty because, when asked directly, he doesn't say "no, I didn't do this." Hey had said in 60 minutes interview, "What sounds logical?" And he then rationalizes that there would be an occasion where it would make more sense to abuse a child. He also give a tell in his coughing, which he himself has previously admitted to.

Allen is guilty and a liar. I do not think Dylan has fully explained everything Allen has done to her.

Feb. 06 2014 11:55 AM

I haven't listened to this segment yet.
Still, I'm just horrified to hear about the sexual abuse as anyone. That said, in the case pedophilia, there is never 1 victim. Pedophiles and repasts are known for serial sexually violent behavior.
They are predators of many, rarely predators of just 1 [rare but not unheard of].
I wonder where the other little girls, now grown women are. I wonder why no one has stepped forward to say he has violated them as well.
I wonder at Dylan Farrow's brother who has repeatedly repudiated his sister's claim - shocking coming from a sibling.
I also wonder why now, now that Allen has been awarded another meaningless Hollywood achievement award.
I hate to think someone would ever make something like this up, but when it comes to celebrity and family feuds I have to say, I'm deeply skeptical that Allen was involved in this horrid and criminal act.

Feb. 06 2014 11:41 AM

This was a badly unbalanced, cheap-shot, whip-up-the-hysteria segment.

Although billed as “Woody Allen and the Art vs. the Artist”, there was no serious discussion of the art vs the artist issue, nor any respect for the fundamental American principle of innocent until proven guilty, nor anything more than buried acknowledgement of the dangers and prevalence of malicious allegations.

The guest, Matt Zoller Seitz, was flagrantly biased, making one deliberately misleading statement after another, apparently transferring some private rage and pain from his own life and using Woody Allen as a conveniently famous target. The callers chosen to be aired were almost entirely people who revealed long-standing anger directed against WA. And the guest host, Anna Sale, was little better, not only letting the biased statements fly unchallenged but leaning with the mob.

How could any host that was unbiased, or who possessed even a minimal sense of fairness and respect for journalistic integrity, fail to challenge Mr Seitz‘s statement that the only way we will ever know what happened is if WA comes out and confesses that he did it? What about if Mia Farrow comes out and says she insinuated a false memory into Dylan’s young mind? What about if Dylan comes out and says she doesn’t really remember what she has claimed to remember?

Or not respond to Mr Seitz‘s statements that the reason Ms Farrow’s allegations are getting so much attention now is because of social media, which he presented as a victory of the people’s voice over closed media presentations? Why didn’t Ms Sale point out that social media has a lot in common with mob mentality and loves to spread malicious gossip?

Or not challenge Mr Seitz‘s repeated statements that the reason there is so much anger against WA is that the facts are ultimately unknowable? Isn’t it much more plausible that the reason for so much anger against WA is that it is coming from a mob commingling people who have been abused as children and those who have unfulfilled wishes to molest children?

Feb. 06 2014 11:35 AM
ruth from brooklyn

i tried to call in to your segment on woody allen this morning. i am a retired prosecutor with some experience in cases involving the sexual abuse of children. i was once a devoted fan of allen, but beginning with "manhattan" i became aware of a strong misogynistic bias in his movies. "manhattan" was the first movie where he explored the theme of a "lovable" neurotic intellectual's inappropriate relationship to a younger woman, a woman in her teens who is as i recall one of his students. this theme manifested itself before and after he left his girlfriend, mia farrow, for one of her children. (this was not a case of incest. full stop. there was no blood relationship between the two. there is no such thing as psychological incest). altho i have seen most of his movies i am no longer a believer that he is a great film maker. he is stuck in a narcissistic rut. moreover at some point he tried to become a philosopher on the subject of evil. "match point" comes to mind. for me he was way out of his depth.

having said all this i am horrified by the treatment he has received in the press because of the dylan farrow allegations.

the problem is that children in the middle of a bloody divorce or custody battle are often manipulated by one or both parents. allen, like many if not most men, is drawn to young women who are his intellectual inferiors (at least in his eyes). it's in men's genes and allen is what many young women want to father their children....a rich man. unlike many men who overcome their biological predispositions, allen has no interest in curbing his baser instincts.

so the soon yi episode was not surprising. on the other hand, in the case of the dylan farrow allegations, i think one has to be very watchful. it is common to see false memories planted in children by parents and unprofessional or inept law enforcement interviewers. although i noticed initially that there seemed to be semi-conflicting versions from the prosecutors as to why allen wasn't charged, a small amount of research revealed that the prosecutor who announced that there was probable cause to believe the abuse allegations true was sanctioned for unprofessional behavior as a result of that comment.

i never thought i'd find myself defending allen but i think that given the circumstances of dylan farrow's initial allegations (in the midst of a particularly nasty separation and custody battle), those allegations had to be examined with great care. as far as i can tell as an outsider with access only to the public materials, the decision not to prosecute allen was a sound one and he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt as any other man in his situation should be. he should not be pilloried in the court of public opinion (including on your program).

Feb. 06 2014 11:30 AM

I am baffled by your decision to air a call-in segment inviting people to say if they will boycott Woody Allen's work, just in case he is guilty of a crime he was investigated for and never charged. There was so misinformation airing as fact.
You are confusing society's justified horror with child abuse with a 20 year old case that cannot be solved unless one of the two people involved confesses or recants.
You have managed to endorse the same type of digital lynching started by the New York Times. Read the reaction of Times' readers in the Public Editor's page.
Did you promote on-air discussions about a national boycott against the L.A.Lakers, after Kobe Bryant was arrested and formally accused?
The tragedy of child sexual abuse has not been abated one bit by this sorry spectacle, started without a single new fact by Nicholas Kristof.
Dylan Farrow continues to be a victim but of what we don't know.

Feb. 06 2014 11:28 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ Ed from Larchmont: You wouldn't be so quick to say that if you'd been a victim of child abuse.

Also, you are off topic, as usual.

Feb. 06 2014 11:20 AM

I haven't yet listened to the segment but after reading through these comments I won't. It sounds like I would need to choose between Brian Lehrer and Woody Allen: No thanks.

Feb. 06 2014 11:18 AM
david from Florida

To those of you who are obsessed with making sure the relationships in the Allen/Farrow/Previn family are correct and that Woody has only been accused and not convicted of a crime, you clearly have the wrong emphasis in what matters. Let me speak as one of the many millions of people who were sexually abused when they were young. The image you need to have in your head is not of the actor/director, not of his movies, not even of Woody and Sun Yi. You need to think of the image of an older man with his fingers or his penis in a place they shouldn't be, EVER. Keep that image in your head of, would you like to hit us with your apologetics?

Feb. 06 2014 11:18 AM
KAB from Manhattan

Allen willing took a lie detector test and passed. Mia Farrow refused the test.

Feb. 06 2014 11:16 AM

(If one does believe the accusations then one ought not view the films for many reasons. I give Angelina an extra star because of her good heart, and wouldn't even wrap a fish carcass in a movie advert. for the hateful, black hearted Mel Gibson.)

Feb. 06 2014 11:14 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This clip is from a great movie called "Waltz With Bashir" about an Israeli vet struggling with memories of war. It's probably the best visual depiction addressing the problem of memories, especially from childhood:

It's in yiddish so you have to click "CC" to get the English subtitles.

Feb. 06 2014 11:11 AM

Moral beings have no choice but to abstain from any pleasure and art that is the result of physical crimes against children. Comparable to forsaking valuable Nazi research that came at the price of German war crimes.

Fortunately movie-viewers are not facing such a quandary as Mr. Allen has not been convicted of any such crime.

Feb. 06 2014 11:10 AM
Disgusting from NYC

This segment should never have been aired. It was disgusting and beneath the standards of the Brian Lehrer show. It was gossip and speculation. Moreover, the very fact that you would raise the question now, in the midst of renewed allegation of child molestation, the question of whether one can separate the transgressions of an artist from his work assume's Woody Allen's guilt. I'm appalled and shocked that the BL aired this segment.

A better subject would be why the Cuomo appointee's to the Port Authority were so weak or acquiescent that Chris Christie's guys could so dominate the Port Authority and do whatever they wanted. Where were Cuomo's guys???? This is a critical question. I'd like to see Brian and Andrea discuss this.

Feb. 06 2014 11:07 AM
Anne from New York City

Many of the comments are unencumbered by or just plain ignorant of THE FACTS, which are available to anyone who wants to know them. That a prosecutor stated that he believed he had probable cause to bring charges against Woody Allen is not the same as a finding of guilt. Probable cause is a far, far lower legal standard than conviction at trial. In New York City, as the saying goes, a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich. And we're not even talking about indictment. We're talking only about charges. Furthermore, the prosecutor chose not to act in the first place, with Mia Farrow's consent, but they both got the benefit of putting his belief out there into the public arena. Nor is there any mention by your commenter that an independent panel of Yale mental health professionals, appointed NOT by Woody Allen, as some people believe, but by the Ct. police, found that no abuse had occurred.

And where is the acknowledgment that Moses Farrow has now directly contradicted a key element of Dylan Farrow's allegations. As far as Woody Allen's marriage to Soon Yi, one should read what Soon Yi, herself, said about the existence of any paternal relationship with Woody Allen and about her experience in Mia Farrow's household. Find it creepy, if you will, on your own moral terms, but don't imagine that you are standing up for Soon Yi by doing so. And if you need reminding or education, Mia Farrow, herself, was the "young girl" when she commenced her affairs and then married Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn. Do you boycott their art? And if not, why not?

This issue goes far beyond boycotting Woody Allen's movies. Innocent people, including members of both the Farrow and Allen families, have been and will continue to be hurt, by the public feeding, especially via social media, on this tragedy. To feel sympathy for Dylan does not mean one must identify someone to blame. The most responsible and ethical position, especially for responsible journalists, is to remain agnostic. And to suggest in the public arena that Woody Allen is guilty of a heinous crime based on the pattern of jokes in his movies is personally irresponsible and risibly ignorant.

Feb. 06 2014 11:07 AM
Tony from Canarsie

matthew: Thanks for the link.

Feb. 06 2014 11:04 AM
BDB from UWS

Fact: Soon-Yi was the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn. Not the step-daughter of either of them.
Fact: Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were never married. Ergo, Soon-Yi was not his step-daughter.
Fact: Mia Farrow and Woody Allen never even shared the same domicile. Not even in loco parentis between Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn.
Inappropriate? Probably. Criminal? No.

Feb. 06 2014 11:03 AM

Exactly why was this discussed at such length? Its like a segment from one of those awful morning talk shows. Beyond perhaps reporting the situation as a news item exactly why is it my business to opine or think I know what happened. I'm with the person who earlier called this "shockingly unprofessional".

Feb. 06 2014 11:02 AM
M. Smith from NYC

Whether this topic is worthy of WNYC airtime is beside the point now. The closing statements of Matt Zoller Seitz made it vital in its outreach. He demonstrated incredible strength. Unfortunately there are a lot of us out there.

Feb. 06 2014 11:02 AM
Rocio from Lower East Side

I started listening to the program half way through it, and I was appalled to listen to the guest saying that we will never know the truth (so far a sensible comment) unless Woody Allen confesses! What an irresponsible statement, for obvious reasons! Also, something along the lines of, who makes this kind of allegations? implying that it is not really something that someone would make up. Not under normal psychological and emotional circumstances, should have been added, perhaps?
I wish the host of the program would have weighted somehow in an attempt to restore some sort of balance in the debate of this issue in your program.
And please, try to think before making statements accuse of abuse in an unclear, unproven situation. It is a very serious matter.

Feb. 06 2014 10:58 AM
Coogan from NYC

Bill Cosby anyone? Gawker recently reminded us on his extraordinarily creepy past... read the comments section, personal stories bubble up and are such eye openers to his over all pattern. Hollywood though, has long been a welcoming, support base for the worst of the worst, because the more important thing is to make money. As long as it's not your kid, your wife, your family member or dearest friend, everything is forgiven.

Once I hear credible 'abuse' news it reminds me to look at people with a more critical eye, and no, I can't separate anyones work from his/her real self. We all need to stop celebrating sociopaths, narcissists and sickos.

I'm not into denial or looking the other way when it comes to sexual abuse by famous people ("artists") or nobodies.

Feb. 06 2014 10:56 AM

I found this article in The Daily Beast illuminating, written by the guy who made the PBS documentary about Woody Allen:

Feb. 06 2014 10:56 AM
joyous from Park Slope

It's great that we're taking the time to convict Woody -- since there hasn't been any legal action yet, it's up to us, the uninformed, to take action.

Also, since the public never makes mistakes when condemning someone with opinions, we should feel really good. No need to use any more critical judgement than we've already (not) used.

Ad hominem attacks are great too -- keep them coming. Always effective technique when trying to crush someone into detritus.

We ought to get rid of all artists, while we're at it, whose behavior indicates anything someone somewhere finds even slightly offensive. Only art from inoffensive people should be allowed.

Let's get to work!

Feb. 06 2014 10:56 AM
Tony from Canarise

I should've skipped this segment and read the National Enquirer instead.

Feb. 06 2014 10:55 AM
fuva from harlemworld

may from bushwick, bk -- Was easy for me to not patronize R Kelly's sick unrepentant azz because his work is not that good. AND he's gonna rub it in our faces with this latest release? pathetic.

Feb. 06 2014 10:53 AM
123nyc123 from nyc

I think the question here should be whether the allegations are substantiated. The more famous someone is, the more a false allegation can do damage to them. People will really believe almost anything if enough people say it, and there have been plenty of smear campaigns that are effective, simply by bringing up the question of whether some unsavory event might have happened. Just because he may have joked or written about something doesn't mean that he must have done it.

Feb. 06 2014 10:53 AM

This is a shockingly unprofessional segment -- all sorts of charges, repetition of factually incorrect claims, etc. And it goes both ways. Not everyone consider Woody Allen a great artist.

The whole thing rather resembles that commercial the station is running -- the one about a radio station reduced to interviewing howler monkeys. In this case, that's the real laugh. You're just as bad.

Feb. 06 2014 10:52 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

The allegations are very serious and I think that, as in this case, when the accuser is so adamant that they remember the abuse you can't just discount it. That being said if one is familiar with the facts there is a great deal of reasonable doubt. There will never be a trial but even if there was I don't think Allen would be convicted. Mia Farrow is frankly a nut, was very involved in the allegations right from the start and let's not forget that the divorce basically ended her career. Hell hath no fury...

I believe that Dylan Farrow believes something happened but whether something actually did is another matter entirely. Children are highly malleable witnesses, without physical evidence of sexual abuse (and there was an examination) a fair point could be made that Farrow convinced her it happened. That is entirely possible, has been shown to have occurred countless times before, whether it did or not is impossible to tell. So much of this is wrapped up in the debate about sex abuse it seems that very few people can get enough distance from that issue to look upon these allegations fairly.

Feb. 06 2014 10:51 AM
A. Duckworth from New York

A correction to your caller: The McMartin Preschool case was in California, not New Jersey.

Feb. 06 2014 10:50 AM
Ruth in Staten Island from Staten Island

Why is WNYC even airing this conversation, predicated on the presumption that Woody Allen is guilty of the charges that Mia farrow leveled against him? The way this "discussion" is framed is way beneath WNYC. I'm just hearing a lot of people, including your guest, talking about Allen as if this is an open and shut case. Oh and now we're judging Philip Seymour Hoffman? I'm turning you off right now.

Feb. 06 2014 10:50 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

It's NOT about equivocation between drug addiction and child-molestation... it's about the culture's willingness to accept certain behaviors when the party is a celebrity!

In other words, it's about US! And it isn't pretty.

Feb. 06 2014 10:49 AM
fuva from harlemworld

david from ditmas park -- puhleaese. You're being way too technical and losing the substance.

Feb. 06 2014 10:49 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Soon Yi is the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn.

Feb. 06 2014 10:49 AM

Please point out that it is inappropriate to call Soon-yi his "stepdaughter". Mia and Woody were never married, and she was actually the stepdaughter of Andre Previn, and had his last name.

Feb. 06 2014 10:48 AM
Bev from NYC

Eh, Woody Allen's movies started to suck decades ago anyhow (I got uber-sick of his neurotic Jew schtick), so I tuned out long before these issues arose anyway!

Feb. 06 2014 10:48 AM

Is Phil Hoffman any worse than Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson?

Feb. 06 2014 10:48 AM
Tony from Canarsie

To the caller: Soon-Yi was NOT Woody Allen's stepdaughter. Allen and Mia Farrow never lived together, no less were married.

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I, too, stopped watching Woody Allen movies and reading his books (which I prefer to his movies) when he married Soon Yi.

However, this discussion is mere speculation. We don't know IF he did anything, and what, if anything, he did. His marriage to Soon Yi is fact and common knowledge. The allegations of child abuse are still allegations. The problem is that I now see cross-allegations in the news and once that begins, there needs to be quite a bit more proof (and, perhaps, legal action) before we can be certain of the facts of the case and whether he should be villainized and ostracized.

One step at a time, please.

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
spnyc from Washington Heights

As a parent of a young female child, I am appalled by the now very public antics of teenage "heartthrob" Justin Bieber, who seems to have a vile attitude to young women and the female body. To me this is much more pernicious and disgusting than the handful of artists being discussed. I can't imagine why any parent in their right mind would encourage their child to like Bieber or his music. I would not want any of my money to go into his pockets.

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
may from bushwick, bk

Can R. Kelly be addressed in this conversation?

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Can the guest PLEAS sort out the statements that are being made? What was the EXACT (legal) nature of the relationship between Allen & Farrow, and the children.

For starters.

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
Ryan from Chelsea

You need to tell them Soon-Yi was never his step-daughter. You're a news source that's not correcting the information you're putting out.

Feb. 06 2014 10:47 AM
John Charles Nuss from New York UWS

Soon-Yi was not Woody Allen's step-daughter, Andre Previn. Why doesn't the host correct these folks who repeat in over and over. The facts,please.

Feb. 06 2014 10:46 AM
Ellen from NYC

People get upset not only because we don't "know" if this is true or not. Rather, more upsetting is the idea that famous people or artists can get away with crimes, just because he/she is powerful. Somehow polititians are held to a different standards. Maybe we need to send a message that you don't get to be a molestor even if you are a genius.

Feb. 06 2014 10:46 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Soonyi is/was Mia's daughter.

Feb. 06 2014 10:45 AM

"One note is that abortion is a worse crime than child abuse."
-- Are you sure this is true? I would not want to live every day with such torment of having had this happen to me. I'm not seeing how you can factually prove this. But feel free to try.

Feb. 06 2014 10:43 AM
david from ditmas park

Allen and Farrow were never married. Soon Yi is not his step-daughter, nor adopted daughter.

These are falsehoods that are flying around on your show…see how easily it can happen and spread?

Feb. 06 2014 10:43 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Was confronted with something like this dilemma when I heard some unfortunate things about the great Bobby Womack...Think it depends on the caliber of the artist. If the output is so good, then I'll consume it, and hold any new output to a higher standard, all the while losing all respect for the artist as a person...As the saying goes, you don't want to meet your heroes.

Feb. 06 2014 10:42 AM

I saw Husbands and Wives when I was 19 or 20 (about the age of Juliette Lewis' character), and it traumatized me for a very long time!

Feb. 06 2014 10:41 AM
a dude

Basically, when Woody was making lousy movies and he was viewed as a has-been in the late 1990s/early 2000s, Mia Farrow and her family said nothing. Then "Midnight in Paris" and "Blue Jasmine" were huge hits and won awards, and now this old scandal is new again. This is all about personal and professional jealously by Mia Farrow.

Feb. 06 2014 10:41 AM
Ron from Manhattan

Technically, Soon Yi was NOT Woody's Stepdaughter, correct? She was Mia's Stepdaughter.

Feb. 06 2014 10:40 AM
Dee from NJ

How about Mia Farrow's marriage to a much older Frank Sinatra. The whole group seems dysfunctional.

Feb. 06 2014 10:40 AM
JFreely from NYC

There's no precedent for a great filmmaker doing such a vile thing--and I belive Dylan's story. I separate my feelings and continue to watch his films because they're unique and often great. I'm not paying to see his films in the theatre as I usually get free screeners as a union member.

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

It is at the guest describes, part of our fawning, celebrity-addicted culture.

What bothers me the most is how hypocritical so many are -- we criticize the easy targets, particularly those with conservative politics, but we are willingly blinded to the sins of those with whom we are desperate to identify with.

I mean, with all of the abuses, including self-destructive behavior, of Rock & Roll over so many decades, that our culture not only glosses over, but celebrates ("Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll!") -- why should we expect better of ourselves?

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM

the artist from his personally life...ok everything is fine.

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM

How about a shout out for those who never liked his movies and always think of him as a whinny bore

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM

scum bums are scum bums whether they are normal civilians or directors.

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM
John A

Onair: an icon of amorality. Isn't that correct?

Feb. 06 2014 10:39 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One note is that abortion is a worse crime than child abuse.

Feb. 06 2014 10:38 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

It's like Wagner all over again. The Village Voice did a brilliant piece on this same issue, regrding R. Kelly a couple of weeks ago.

I always say that art is always separate from its creators. That being said, if I were a fellow actor, like Polanski - I would be weary of working with him.

Feb. 06 2014 10:36 AM
SKV from NYC

Having been made increasingly uncomfortable by the amorality of Woody Allen's films, I guess I was primed to believe the accusations of child molestation, even before the Soon-Yi scandal.

But it's important to remember that, although the prosecutor thought there was sufficient evidence to indict, he chose not to in order to save the child from testifying, and now the statute of limitations has run out (another thing to fix.) Allen can never be prosecuted. Dylan can never get justice.

If you believe the allegations, then you shouldn't be putting money into a criminal's pocket by buying tickets to his films. It's all we can do.

Feb. 06 2014 10:36 AM
admittedly skeptical

Shaneeza, we do not know what happened. So to say, "it makes us uncomfortable that person A did a heinous act" reinforces the false notion that the act actually occurred, and establishes guilt where there is STILL no evidence.

I agree, however, that this rightly upsets people. I just wonder, "why now? why right before Ronan's show on MSNBC debuts?"

I'm skeptical and suspect the child was coached by Mia to lie, and now genuinely believes the lie to be true. And I feel very strange writing that, having survived significant abuse in my own childhood!

Feb. 06 2014 10:35 AM
shaneeza from brooklyn

I think this makes people VERY uncomfortable. Not because he molested a child, but because he is the VERY opposite of what we think of a pedophile. He's made some great movies that have made us cry, laugh and love - movies that were a reflection of every crazy emotion we've had at some point in our lives - in way we were all woody allen's characters at some point. Maybe some of us were the woody allen type, so when we hear from the victim - it makes us uncomfortable because we could be this guy because he's become an american icon - an american icons can't be pedophiles, right?

Feb. 06 2014 10:24 AM

A similar question should be asked about an artist who is making accusations by influencing her child. And I not even mentioning her questionable sex practices or attending dinners where blood diamonds are distributed as gifts.

Feb. 06 2014 10:09 AM

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