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Wallace Shawn Defends His Decision to Continue Working with Woody Allen in New Essay

Wallace Shawn Defends His Decision to Continue Working with Woody Allen in New Essay

Wallace Shawn is defending his decision to work with Woody Allen.

In a new guest blog for The Wrap, the 77-year-old actor wrote that he has been “troubled” by his fellow actors opting not to work with the director.

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Wallace began by recounting the open letter Dylan Farrow wrote in 2014, where she alleged that her father Woody had sexually abused her in an attic of her mother’s home when she was seven years old.

He also added that by singling out certain actors who had appeared in the director’s films by name, she was “making the point that, in her view, for an actor to appear in one of Woody Allen’s films demonstrated an indifference or contempt towards her.”

“The letter was a challenge to any actor who had appeared in a Woody Allen film or contemplated appearing in one in the future, and it wasn’t difficult for me to realize that I had to take this personally,” he continued. “Clearly, a great number of other actors must have felt the same way.”

While Wallace conceded that he may be “too biased to consider the subject objectively,” he wrote that the “narrative [Dylan] presented left a lot of questions unanswered, and it certainly didn’t square with the sense I had of Woody Allen.”

After detailing the circumstances surrounding Dylan‘s accusations, he added, “As this is how I see the situation, you won’t be surprised when I say that I’ve been troubled by the speed with which some of my colleagues in the acting fraternity have distanced themselves from Woody. Some were undoubtedly overwhelmed by the sheer emotional intensity of Dylan’s original letter and her later elaborations. In the face of such moving testimony from Dylan, many actors perhaps felt that it wasn’t necessary to hear any further evidence in the case.”

“Then fear entered the picture. Many of my colleagues came to feel that to work for Woody Allen, quite apart from whatever the facts might or might not be in the Woody Allen-Dylan Farrow case, would indicate to others that they had no concern for women or for the improvement of the condition of women in the world. And the more the word got around that actors were declining to work for Woody Allen, the more it came to seem to other actors and their agents that anyone who did work for him might well be shunned by everyone in the industry and might never work again, and so agents simply told their clients that Woody Allen was toxic and they should stay far away from him. So that what began as compassion for a young woman who seemed to be crying out in pain ended up simply as one more element in the eternal struggle of actors to hold on to their careers,” he continued.

Dylan has asked all of us, and actors in particular, to individually punish Woody for committing a very serious crime which he says he didn’t commit, so it’s not outrageous — it’s really only reasonable — for each of us to consider the case carefully before responding to what she’s asked of us,” he added. “I personally have concluded that Woody didn’t commit the crime, and when he indeed offered me an important part in his latest film — a part I might well have been offered only because others had decided to turn it down — I eagerly accepted it, and anyone who travels to Europe can see the film, Rifkin’s Festival.”

“I’m perfectly capable of valuing Dylan as a person and wishing her every happiness in her present and future life even though I don’t believe that the episode she’s described ever actually occurred,” he concluded. “I’ve known, admired and loved people who sincerely believed they had personal contact with God, though I myself have always remained a nonbeliever.”

The Wrap notes that they reached out to Dylan for a response to Wallace‘s piece, which she declined through a spokesperson. She did, however, say that Wallace “could validate Dylan’s personhood and then go on to invalidate her life experience” was “flawed.”

Dylan‘s accusations against Woody were the subject of an HBO docuseries earlier this year.

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Photos: Getty Images
Posted to: Wallace Shawn, Woody Allen

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