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Shawn, who’s arguably best known for his performance in The Princess Bride, has worked with Allen several times — including in Manhattan, Radio Days and Melinda and Melinda — and came to the director’s defense in an op-ed published in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times.
Although Shawn says he doesn’t consider Allen a friend, he claims he’s worked with him enough that he can no longer view him as an abstract figure that one would gossip about.
“In fact, like so many of those who have worked with him repeatedly over the decades, I’ve found him to be not merely thoughtful, serious and honest, but extraordinary and even inspiring in his thoughtfulness, seriousness and honesty. Of the people I’ve known, he’s one of those I’ve respected most,” Shawn writes, adding that those attributes make it hard for him to believe that Allen molested Dylan.
“And for that reason, I personally would have to say that it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that he had sexually abused a child, just as it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that Desmond Tutu, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Doris Lessing had sexually abused a child,” Shawn writes.
Dylan recently posted an open letter on The New York Times‘ website in which she claims the legendary director molested her when she was 7 years old. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations were true, with his lawyer Elkin Abramowitz insisting on NBC’s Today that the idea Dylan had been molested was “implanted” in her head by her mother, Allen’s ex, Mia Farrow. Allen also penned his own response to Dylan’s accusations, which ran in the Times‘ op-ed section a week later.
Shawn writes in the L.A. Times that he’s learned that just because people engage in atypical sexual behavior, like an older man falling in love with a very young woman and upending his life and that of his family, as seemed to be the case when Allen began having an affair with Mia’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, that doesn’t mean they’re capable of anything, including molesting children.
He’s also surprised that people are so quick to declare Allen guilty of a crime that, if it did occur, happened in a private place, making it difficult to determine the truth from the outside.
Shawn, however, does hedge his defense of Allen by noting that “we don’t have overwhelming evidence about what happened or didn’t happen on the day in question.” And, Shawn writes, “Obviously if he did not in fact commit the crime, this is an appalling situation.”
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