Cast your mind back to last month, when Dylan Farrow penned an open letter which was published in The New York Times, detailing the sexual abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of her father, the acclaimed writer/director Woody Allen. In it Farrow mentioned a list of celebrities who she rebuked for working with Allen, stating: “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson?”
Now, for the first time, Scarlett Johansson has spoken out over the letter, calling Dylan Farrow’s decision to name her and other actors, “irresponsible.” In fact the actress who starred in several Woody Allen films such as Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, criticizes Farrow for naming her. “I think it’s irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on,” Johansson told The Observer paper. She added, ‘That just feels irresponsible to me.”
The interviewer then pressed Johansson on the backlash against Allen that the open letter has created, but Johansson refused to be drawn. “I’m unaware that there’s been a backlash. I think he’ll continue to know what he knows about the situation, and I’m sure the other people involved have their own experience with it. It’s not like this is somebody that’s been prosecuted and found guilty of something, and you can then go, ‘I don’t support this lifestyle or whatever.’ I mean, it’s all guesswork.”
But has it had an impact on her relationship or affection for him? “I don’t know anything about it. It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other. ”
That appears to be a “no” then. In calling the situation “guesswork,” does this not imply that Scarlett Johansson isn’t taking Farrow’s claims as truth and has chosen to ere on Allen’s side, as somebody who hasn’t as she says “been prosecuted and found guilty of something”?
There are two schools of thought here: One, that Johansson has been unwillingly drawn into a family battle — with a finger directly pointed at her in the damning Dylan Farrow article — therefore, she shouldn’t have to comment on a situation that is none of her business and that she no doubt doesn’t want to be drawn into. She’s well within her rights to say that being named in the letter is “irresponsible” when she can’t possibly comment on a situation she isn’t privy to. She feels that Allen, will “know what he knows” and the other people involved “have their own experience with it.”
Essentially she is saying: There are two sides to every story. It appears fairly obvious where Johansson’s loyalties lie…
The other school of thought is that it is irresponsible of Johansson to be so dismissive of the letter. Isn’t that victim-shaming Dylan? That the wall of silence Dylan Farrow mentions in her letter is evident here, with the fact that Johansson calls an alleged victim’s harrowing letter “irresponsible.” Shouldn’t we be championing women who speak out about abuse? Who draw attention to such issues, so they are less of a taboo to discuss, thus encouraging victims to come forward rather than to hide away?
This isn’t the first media storm Johansson has found herself in. The newly pregnant star has also been criticized recently for her decision to become a brand ambassador for SodaStream. The company, it transpired, manufactures its products in a factory in a settlement on the West Bank, causing Oxfam to write to Johansson saying: “Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors” but it “believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.” Johansson then stepped down from her Oxfam role. In certain eyes it was seen that Johansson stepped away from the charitable cause in order to sustain her lucrative paid role at SodaStream.
In describing Dylan Farrow’s upsetting letter as “irresponsible,” she may lose even more fans. Somehow, I don’t think she’ll be losing any beauty sleep over it.
Photo credit: Pacific Coast News