But two weeks ago I wouldn't even have considered using a quote from him in a blog of mine. Two weeks ago I resolved never to watch another Woody Allen movie - hard for me, a huge fan. I wait for every new movie of his and I can watch his old ones over and over.
But not any more, I decided, after reading his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow's February 1 letter to the New York Times in which she spoke out about how her father Woody Allen once sexually molested her 21 years earlier when she was 7 years old.
The letter was heart-wrenching. Here was a young woman who'd spent her whole life suffering, watching the world glorify the man who'd assaulted her when she was a child. Now, for the sake of other survivors of sex abuse, she was telling her story. And I was done with Woody Allen.
And yet...Well, there were a couple of things about Ms. Farrow's letter that didn't quite 100% add up for me: If Woody Allen was a pedophile then why were there no victims before or since Dylan? And why only on that one occasion?
But what made the least sense was a statement made by the district attorney in the case that there was enough evidence for an indictment against Woody Allen but that he, the prosecutor, was dropping criminal proceedings for the sake of Dylan, whom he saw as fragile.
Now, why in the world would a district attorney be willing to let someone, especially a big celebrity, get away with a sex crime against a child if he had enough evidence for case? That seemed fishy.
Still, Ms. Farrow's letter had me convinced, no less because it appeared on the blog of Nicholas Kristof, the highly respected New York Times op-ed columnist who advocates for victims of injustice world-wide.
Then a week later the New York Times published Woody Allen's response to Dylan Farrow's accusation.
And though I had already sentenced and hung the man in my mind, as I read his response I found myself mentally loosening the knot and helping him off the scaffold.
Granted, Mr. Allen is a wonderful writer with the ability to state his case very clearly and very well. But all the points he made were valid, among them:
That he and Mia Farrow were in the middle of a mean, vicious divorce at the time
That the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, called in by the police to investigate the case, concluded that the child had not been sexually molested
That Woody Allen took and passed a lie-detector test
That Mia Farrow's son Moses, a 36-year-old family therapist, is convinced that Allen never molested his sister. Moses Farrow admitted that as a child it was drummed into him and his siblings by their mother to hate Woody Allen
That the district attorney was in fact chomping at the bit to prosecute and was bitterly disappointed by the lack of evidence. To me this would explain his saying that he was dropping the case to protect Dylan instead of admitting that there was no evidence, thus pronouncing Allen guilty without trying him.
After reading Woody Allen's article I went back to re-read the article Nicholas Kristof wrote as an introduction the day before Dylan Farrow's letter was published in his column. On the second reading I picked up what I'd missed the first time around, back when I was convinced of Allen's guilt: That Nicholas Kristof wasn't convinced that Woody Allen was guilty
That he was merely giving Dylan Farrow the opportunity to speak out
That he was doing so because Dylan Farrow had asked him to publish her letter in his column and because her mother Mia Farrow is a friend of his
That Mr. Kristof's comments sounded like a disclaimer, not support of Ms. Farrow's accusation
So that's why I've retracted my conviction of Woody Allen. Not that he's a saint, maybe not even a particularly admirable person. And the whole Soon yi thing is, at the very least, weird. But I'm finding it hard to believe that he sexually abused his daughter.
Dylan Farrow's letter in Nicholas Kristof's column is accompanied by her photograph.
Woody Allen's letter is accompanied by a photograph of her sitting on his lap when she was about three years old.
In both pictures her eyes have the same sad, haunted expresssion.
My heart still goes out to Dylan Farrow.