A New York Times op-ed published on Saturday took steps to question the legitimacy of the accusations of sexual misconduct against Woody Allen. The piece from Bret Stephens seems to aim to give Allen the benefit of the doubt, pointing to information from an investigation made at the time to bring into question the accusations from Dylan Farrow and hold the director against alleged more heinous offenders.
Stephens’ commentary states that the claims against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are undeniably true, but those made against Allen aren’t supported by evidence and are therefore unreliable in some sense according to the column:
Dylan Farrow is a persuasive interviewee who seems absolutely sincere in her belief that she was molested by Allen as a child. Allen, by contrast, comes across as a grouchy neurotic who, in his late 50s, had a distasteful affair with Mia Farrow’s adopted, barely adult daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. In the contest of sympathies, it’s not hard to guess who wins.
But it’s precisely because Dylan’s account plays to our existing biases that we need to treat it with added skepticism. Most parents know that young children are imaginative and suggestible and innocently prone to making things up. The misuse of children’s memories by ambitious prosecutors against day-care center operators in the 1980s led to some of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent U.S. history. You don’t have to doubt Farrow’s honesty to doubt her version of events.