Things take their natural course; Woody Allen will go to Europe; Woody Allen will keep pumping out overrated movies; the sun will rise tomorrow. Which is to say that France, which has long harbored Hollywood’s most notorious alleged pedophile director, will take in Hollywood’s other most notorious alleged pedophile director.
As the #MeToo movement finally, inevitably comes around to Woody Allen, his French distributor has dismissed Dylan Farrow’s allegations that Woody Allen sexually assaulted her when she was seven. In an op-ed in Le Point, the head of Mars Films Stephane Celerier writes that Dylan Farrow’s allegations are “shameless opportunism,” and that this is “a matter of settling family accounts.”
“[I am] stunned by the unspooling of hate that the Woody Allen affair has provoked, particularly in the U.S. and on social networks. … You get the feeling we are evolving in a world without nuance, without calm debate regarding a man, I remind you, who was declared innocent in 1993. … The hatred today has reached ignominious summits.”
Prominent French entertainers have also staked a position that #MeToo has gone too far, most notably an open letter signed by 100 French women, including Catherine Deneuve. In an excerpt, as translated by the Guardian:
What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite – we intimidate people into speaking ‘correctly’, shout down those who don’t fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors.
They specifically refer to France’s own #MeToo movement, #balancetonporc, or “squeal on your pig,” which was started by a French journalist who is now being sued for slander. “After ‘calling out your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘call our your whore’?” Deneuve said later in a follow-up interview.
Brigitte Bardot takes a laissez-faire attitude toward assault allegations, which she seems to accept as the price of admission in entertainment. “[L]ots of actresses try to play and tease with producers to get a role,” she said in an interview with Paris Match, translated by France 24. “And then, so we will talk about them, they say they were harassed.”
This handful of examples does not represent a culture at large; France’s interior minister Gerard Collomb has linked #MeToo to an uptick in rape reports over the past few months, and in November the New York Times reported the rumblings of cultural upheaval over sexual harassment.
That said, as France 24 points out, France offered Roman Polanski the honor “as president of the Cesar awards” last year, and La Cinematheque Francaise proceeded with its Polanski retrospective in the height of the Weinstein scandal.
It is as Page Six foretold. In late January, a “Hollywood insider” predicted that Allen would take a seven hour flight and be received with open arms. “He will keep on making films, maybe in Europe, maybe with unknowns,” they said. Take the old fart, and we fart in your general direction, too.