In a cultural moment where predatory men in power are finally facing consequences, it makes sense that Woody Allen—a longtime candidate for Most Predatory Man in Power, Film Division—is being subjected to increased scrutiny.
In a Washington Post story published on Thursday, writer Richard Morgan recounts his deep dive through Woody Allen’s personal archive at Princeton University, which spans back to 1980 and fills up 56 boxes. Morgan describes the archive as a “garden of earthly deletes,” stuffed with nearly four decades’ worth of Allen’s stories and notes.
If you think Manhattan is bad, you should see the outtakes. “Running through all of the boxes is an insistent, vivid obsession with young women and girls,” Morgan writes, describing tales of 17-year-olds who enchant their 53-year-old neighbors and short-story revisions that turn a 21-year-old protagonist into two eighteen-year-olds. (Also known as a “Hollywood magic trick.”)
One particularly revealing detail Morgan notes: in the margins of a story about a 45-year-old obsessed with “coeds” at City College of New York, Allen reportedly wrote next to the man’s dialogue (and then crossed out), “c’est moi.” Yeah, we know.
The effects of the #MeToo movement have sparked renewed outrage over Allen, who has enjoyed a long and fruitful Hollywood career after famously marrying his stepdaughter, Soon-Yi Previn, with whom he began a relationship when she was 21 years old. In 2014, Dylan Farrow — Allen’s daughter with actress Mia Farrow — published an open letter in the New York Times accusing her father of sexually abusing her when she was 7. (Allen denies Farrow’s allegations.)
The recent season finale of Frankie Shaw’s Showtime series SMILF, which delved into protagonist Bridgette’s history of childhood sexual abuse, was framed as an ironic homage to Allen. Shaw told Indiewire “...For me [making this episode] was like, ‘Dylan [Farrow], we believe you.”
In 2018, nobody should really need more proof that it’s long past time to be done hero-worshiping Woody Allen, yet my own anecdotal evidence (men at parties) proves otherwise (they’re still fucking talking about Woody Allen, only now they look guiltily over their shoulders while they do it.)
Still, if anyone needs more evidence that Woody Allen is and always has been a creep, it sounds like there’s 56 boxes worth of it at Princeton.