We Can All Learn Something from Susan Sarandon’s Comments on Woody Allen

So we’re knee deep into Cannes, which means the shit storm post-Woody Allen premiere is raging with no signs of let-up.

And honestly? Thank goodness. We’ve read Ronan Farrow’s essay about Hollywood’s willingness to ignore the fact Allen (allegedly) (#ugh) sexually assaulted Dylan Farrow as a child. We’ve heard Kirsten Stewart and Blake Lively weakly defend him with their cries of “LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”And we’ve watched celebrity after celebrity attend his premieres, applaud for his work, sign up for it giddily, and pretend his victims are as non-existent as another famous entertainer’s once was.

But then comes Susan Sarandon at the 25th anniversary celebration of Thelma & Louise to spit some real truths.

“I have nothing good to say about Woody Allen, so I don’t think I should go there,” she said upon being asked about Allen’s comments (PSA: he’s “over it”) at the Cafe Society press conference. “I think he sexually assaulted a child and I don’t think that’s right. It’s gotten very quiet in here, but that’s true.”

Like, hello, yes, ding ding ding, yep.

It’s funny, you know? That we equate the arts to liberalism and social responsibility (because otherwise we’d all be zombies or whatever) and then fail to act on our spots atop our high horses, opting to consume the work of bad, shitty, dangerous men because we want to and because it’s easy and you can’t prove anything and all the all-too familiar sentiments we heard before Cosby was outed for his history of sex crimes.

And I get it, it’s simple: we want to stay comfortable, we want to stay popular, we don’t want to rock the boat, so we — including and especially these millionaire actors and actresses — say and do nothing for fear of being frozen out of an industry that seeks to protect the predators in it. But we don’t think about the victims or about Dylan Farrow’s history or mental/emotional health or about what the world does in general to women who dare speak out about being sexually assaulted or abused or raped. We say we “don’t know what happened” then throw our weight behind hashtags like #FreeKesha, picking and choosing our battles based on how en vogue they tend to be. And then everyone gets super uncomfortable when Susan Sarandon actually says exactly what’s going on.

But that should be all of us. You, me, a bored celebrity at Cannes who found this piece by accident and are kind of mad that I’m calling you out. (Hi! Grow up and deal with it!) It should be no question that we believe women first, and then brave the shit storm along with them because that’s what happens when a shitty person violates a person who is not asking for it. It’s not easy to stand up and say  “oh hell no” because sexual abuse and assault is never easy and also not a luxury for survivors and victims so it shouldn’t be for us, either. ‘Cause like, I get it: all of us want access to all the things we like and enjoy. And it’s hard to wake up and acknowledge that certain artists (LIKE WOODY ALLEN) are fucked up, shitty people who get to say “I’m so over it!” as if they’re emerging from a celebrity breakup while everyone else stands there uncomfortable or traumatized.

So if you think about how hard it is to watch his work and hear his voice and see actors we like (or don’t — who cares) stand next to him as if their collaboration is the second coming of Christ knowing what we now know, imagine how hard it must be for Dylan. Or for the survivors of any other abuse or assault. Because they do not have the privilege of saying it’s none of their business. That was taken from them a long time ago, which means that every day that we sing the praises of this quirky man (or men — this obviously doesn’t just apply to Woody Allen at this point) we are ignoring and belittling their trauma. And for what? Two hours of film? A paycheque? An uncomfortable silence that seems to trump a necessary confrontation?

Like, I’m genuinely asking. Because I need to know how not everybody is having these conversations.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, autumn love, topstory

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