CRIMES: "These are serious allegations and they should absolutely be taken seriously." Molly Lambert wrote that Tuesday about the horrific criminal actions Woody Allen is alleged to have committed against his seven-year-old daughter, and it's that seriousness which has both chilled me against writing about them—both because we tend to be profoundly anti-serious here and because I don't know that I can write as thoughtfully and completely as these allegations require—but also compel me, as a longtime Allen fan and as a father, not to stay silent.
My liberalism tugs at me here in opposite directions: a commitment to the presumption of innocence and due process rights of the accused, but also a recognition of the profound legal and psychological barriers which victims of sexual violence face in seeking justice. We see it in the viciousness of the attacks already being launched against the victim's mother, though the core theory of Allen's defense is plausible, and supported by one of her siblings. It's certainly possible that while Allen's behavior was (at a minimum) creepy as to his now-wife, it was never criminal towards his daughter, and that he has no way to ever prove his innocence.
But it's also certainly possible that he is factually and morally guilty, regardless of what the criminal justice system has (not) done. It's more than possible. It is indefensible to deny that possibility; indeed, Allen's own films have explored the lives of those who escape accountability for horrible crimes. I don't believe his staunchest defenders, or his supporters for that matter, can say anything stronger than "more likely than not."
What does this mean? I can only speak personally here; I have no moral authority or special insight on how anyone else should respond. But I think it's incumbent on Allen to speak publicly and completely, and for his supporters to speak with more compassion for his daughter and all potential victims of sexual violence. This is not a topic about which one can be glib, or handle in 140-character snippets, and I suspect there is little we will learn from here on out which can resolve our doubts satisfactorily. As far as the whole "can you separate the art from the artist?" stuff, I'm not inclined to make any broad pronouncements here other than that I can't envision letting Lucy see Take the Money and Run or any of his other films, though she's surely ready. It may be deeply unfair to Allen to take these renewed allegations seriously, but it's even more unfair to his daughter to not take them seriously, no matter how entertaining we find him to be. Some things matter more than laughter.