Following the renewed focus on Dylan Farrow’s decades-old sexual abuse charges against her father Woody Allen, the filmmaker’s long-time French distributor Stephane Celerier has come to his defense.
In a two-page essay in the weekly news magazine Le Point, the Mars Films head writes that Allen’s family saga has been wrongly caught up in the #MeToo movement, calling it a move of “shameless opportunism” at a time which should be focused on sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. He also says that the charges against Allen are not comparable to those of Harvey Weinstein, who has several allegations against him from “true victims.”
“It seems clear to me that Woody Allen should not be classified in the same category as the sexual predators recently denounced by Hollywood and end his days as a pariah whose work should be burned,” he wrote.
Celerier went on to say that he is “shocked by the wave of hate” directed at Allen and the eagerness to try him in the media, saying that he has read the testimony and believes it is a “settling of family accounts,” as no charges were ever brought against the director.
He also discussed Mia Farrow’s anger at the time after Allen had an affair with and subsequently left her for her daughter Soon-Yi Previn, as well as the conflicting testimony of her son Moses Farrow.
Celerier compared the climate surrounding the charges to both a witch hunt and McCarthyism.
He also railed against actors that have spoken out against Allen in recent weeks. “It’s fascinating and staggering to hear actresses and actors turn him into M,” he wrote, referencing Fritz Lang’s 1931 German film about a child killer. “Either they are manipulated and are unaware of the scope of their remarks, or they are absolutely cynical and seek to exploit the current media frenzy to look good.”
Actors such as Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Hall, Colin Firth, Mira Sorvino and Great Gerwig are just a handful of Allen’s former stars that have withdrawn support for the director and sworn never to work with him again.
Celerier puts the blame on social media and the internet. “At a time when outrage and diatribe are substitutes for analysis, where speed of execution is considered a virtue, where the People’s Court of Social Networks is responsible for rendering justice expeditiously, I am well aware that my request is almost illusory.”
He also wrote the he is aware people will think he is making these statements for economic gain.
Wonder Wheel, starring Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake, which opened Wednesday in France, has underperformed at the box office so far, with just over 20,000 tickets sold opening day. That makes it the lowest start for an Allen film in France in twenty years.