It’s well known around these parts that Woody Allen is—to put it extremely generously—an ethically dubious man. But, considering how many emails and comments I get calling me vulgar slurs any time I question the alleged sexual abuser’s morals, it’s a contested sentiment as well.
Personally, I’m strongly in the “fuck this old man” camp and will always raise my eyebrows as high as they can physically go when he is casually quoted or referenced without an intense disclaimer like, “But he married his step-daughter and that is insane.” Such eyebrow-raising occurred today when Britney Jean Spears posted not one, but two, quotes by the disgraced filmmaker on Instagram.
“What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case I definitely overpaid for my carpet,” one of the posts read, quoting Allen from his 1975 book of essays, Without Feathers. “Well said !!!,” Spears captioned the post. The other read, “Maybe poets are right, maybe love is the only answer,” a quote from Allen’s 1986 film Hannah And Her Sisters.
These posts prompted some office discussion, where many of us wondered if Spears, who was effectively cut off from the world for 13 years while under her conservatorship and before that lived the chaotically busy life of an international teen pop star, is up to date about all of the allegations against Allen. Because if there is anyone who is not, I feel strongly that it would be her!
Spears was under the conservatorship from 2008 to 2021, and around 2018 is mostly when Mia Farrow and Allens’ daughter, Dylan Farrow, spoke publicly a number of times detailing her adoptive father’s alleged abuse. So, I could easily imagine Spears not being clued into the saga of allegations and consecutive docuseries.
Of course, there’s also the very real possibility that Spears is fully in the know about the allegations and has just brushed it aside the way half of Hollywood has seemingly done. It’s also worth acknowledging that Spears’ Instagram is an endless source of chaos, an unreliable narrator in the digital space.
The other reason it piqued my interest, is that Spears and both Farrow women have been grouped together in recent years as victims of a bygone era of press. In February 2021, when documentaries about Spears and the Allen allegations were both released, Vogue published a piece, “On Britney, Mia, and the Way the Media Treated Women in the ’90s” while Rolling Stone published, “How the Media Failed Britney Spears and Dylan Farrow.”
A hopeful, and perhaps naive, part of me hopes Spears isn’t aware of the allegations and decided to share the wistful quotes as part of her anarchic social media strategy. Though, as is the case with everything about the pop star, I’ll have to settle for never knowing.