Scarlett Johansson Weighs In On Woody’s ‘Lifestyle’ If You Can Call Being Accused Of Child Abuse A ‘Lifestyle’

Premiere Of Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" - ArrivalsLast month Woody Allen‘s estranged daughter Dylan Farrow penned an open letter in The New York Times when she took certain actors to task to continue working with Allen after he had been accused of sexually abusing her. This weekend The Guardian asked Scarlett Johansson, who is pregnant with her first child, about how she felt being named in the letter. Scarlett stated that she feels this was irresponsible:

 ”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. That just feels irresponsible to me.”


I guess it’s difficult to comment on the situation when you have starred in three of Allen’s movies, but it’s not impossible. Hell, I don’t even know Woody Allen and I have commented on this situation a mess of times.

And what has she made about the backlash against Allen? “I’m unaware that there’s been a backlash.

Wait, hold up. How can she be unaware of a backlash? Does she never read newspapers or google directors she is planning on working with or ever turn on a television? I hate it when celebrities claim they are unaware of things that are going on in the news that are extremely popular news stories. It’s like a celebrity saying they are unaware that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has vanished.


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.”

This lifestyle? This lifestyle of being accused of raping a child? That isn’t a lifestyle, lady. Yes, it’s all guesswork and speculation and you can choose to believe one side or the other but to call what Allen has been accused of a “lifestyle” is beyond offensive, and precisely why Farrow was so brave to pen the open letter to begin with. Dating women who are adults but 20 years younger than you is a lifestyle. Being a golfer is a lifestyle. Being a party person or a book lover or a bird watcher is a lifestyle. Not raping children. I hope for her kid’s sake Johansson learns this lesson before she gives birth.

(Image: getty images)

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  • momjones

    My mother always used to say to me, “Just keep your big mouth shut.” Too bad Scarlett didn’t have my mom.

  • Ashley Austrew

    Yes, won’t someone think of the poor actors with Google alerts?

    • K.

      I don’t think that she was asking for sympathy; I think she was calling out (pretty astutely to me) the fact that Dylan Farrow’s invocation of hers and other actors’ names in the letter was not only misguided, but calculated as well. It was misguided because actors are not the gatekeepers–they’re not greenlighting films or nominating them for awards. They are performers, not studio-execs or producers, and calling out Scarlett Johansson is like calling out the boom operator or the sound editor.

      Except it isn’t, and that’s Johansson’s point. She IS google-able and that’s why Farrow chose to place blame on her (and Blanchett and Keaton and Emma Stone, etc. etc.)–because it heightens the publicity surrounding the letter. I don’t mean that to sound so cynical–especially because using household names also achieves the OTHER very important function of getting readers to engage with their own complicity in Allen’s success as consumers–and I do not think Farrow is mongering for attention. I do think Scarjo is validated in being pissed off that her name has been attached as if she WERE complicit in Allen’s molestation, when the reality is that she simply worked with him. Allen’s films are comprised of her work, too, and she put in that work herself. And for Dylan to imply that basically, those actors should hang their heads in shame because they both benefited from being in Allen’s films AND because his films may have achieved success because of their high-value names IS irresponsible: Johansson, like Blanchett and the rest, made the films successful because they did their jobs and did them well. If their fame contributed to the success of Allen’s films, it is because they have achieved a great deal to be famous themselves. Likewise, their success may come from being in Allen films, but it’s ultimately their work.

      Johansson’s now in a strange position of being forced to step away from her own work because of Farrow’s indictment of her–an indictment that Farrow KNOWS is unfair a) because I bet Scarjo had no idea what Allen did to his own daughter in an attic thirty years ago and b) because Scarjo isn’t the one who is perpetuating and Allen’s career–that would be those who are in power to bankroll the films…it’s just that their names don’t have the same clout.

    • TinLizzie

      You make really good points. I just wanted to add, that given all the tabloids and rumors and gossip that surround actors, I wouldn’t be surprised if all accusations and scandal are taken with a grain of salt.

  • Bic

    I read it as she was speaking a little more generally with the lifestyle comment, not describing rape as a life style choice.

    The thing is she has a point, he hasn’t been convicted of anything so all anyone can do is take one persons word over another. She can’t win with this no matter what she does, even if she says nothing (which is what she should have done, since she’s not particularly articulate) people are still going to vilify her and others for working with him. Even if he had a trial and was found not guilty people will still think he’s guilty and again vilify them for working with him.

    But it’s important people believe the victims obviously, I wouldn’t want to work with him. But then could I be doing him a disservice and that wouldn’t be fair either. It’s a shitty situation all round.

  • Jessifer

    I’m not surprised. Hollywood did the same thing when it came to Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson. I guess when you have money, fame, and talent, people don’t care if you’re a twisted pedophile. I mean, why let a silly thing like CHILD SEX ABUSE get in the way of enjoying the latest box-office hit?

  • CMJ

    Has she been hiding under her peplum for the past couple months?

  • Valerie

    It would not surprise me if she literally knew nothing of what is in the news. I mean, have you seen her act? Not exactly a Mensa member…just sayin.

  • wonderstruck

    Holy crap woman, you’re about to become a MOM. I hope you don’t let your child spend time around accused child rapists because there’s no concrete proof. There’s almost never concrete proof when it comes to sexual abuse accusations, and most people get away with it because of a combo of that and fear.

    • Kelly

      I don’t think that’s fair. She worked with him, she’s not dating him. There’s no reason to assume she would ever hand off her child to him.

  • K.

    I’ve worked with several people that I found out later were terrible people. One went to jail for domestic violence; another went to prison for embezzling money. I had no idea these people did these things because my involvement with them extended only to the work-sphere. To be frank, I would and DID have a similar response before those people went to trial: “That’s horrific if it’s true, but I can’t say that was the person I knew.” My statement, that the people I worked with were perfectly nice people in the workplace was true to my experience and instead of weighing in on their private lives, I figured it was best if I didn’t comment on shit I didn’t know about. AFTER they were convicted/cited I condemned what they did and was relieved I didn’t have to work with them any longer (thankfully, the domestic violence guy quit because I don’t know how I would have been professional with him knowing what I knew).

    And that’s one reason I’m fucking tired of everyone going to Cate Blanchett and Scarlett Johansson and Diane Keaton and asking them to weigh in on this. Who the fuck cares what THEY have to say about it?

    The other reason is why is everyone going to the women? Why aren’t people questioning Alan Alda? Or Jonathan Rhys Myers? Why is it that women have to field questions that have absolutely nothing to do with their professional work (and in fact distract from their work)? Why does their professional contribution matter less than Allen’s private life (which they probably don’t have anything to do with and know nothing about)?

    (And I’m not saying Allen’s life deserves to be ‘private’ in this story, but I am saying that I would be really fucking annoyed if someone came to interview me about a big project I spearheaded at work and then started asking me questions about another coworker’s life that had nothing to do with me or my work)

    • Alicia Kiner

      You have a couple very valid points here. She, more so than some of the other actors who have worked with him, probably has very little knowledge of this whole situation. The original story came out when she was a child, so it can be safe to assume that she knows very little about it. My husband pays no attention to celebrity news. Zero. He would know nothing about it, if I hadn’t said something to him. So for her to be called out by name by this letter is a little unfair because she wouldn’t necessarily know the kind of man he is in is private life. Neither would any other actor who only works with him. And while I will not support his career in any way, he HAS NOT been convicted of a crime. Has he committed one? I don’t know. I believe Dylan, so I guess that means that yes, I believe he has. But just because I believe he has, doesn’t make it true. I could be wrong. But it IS wrong to blame this specific actor in any way. She is not complicit in any kind of cover up of this crime. For Dylan to blame her IS irresponsible.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I think that you make some terrific points here; well said! However, it really comes down to more reasons for her to choose not to comment in any way. I am constantly surprised at how rarely celebrities (in any field) just say, “I will not comment on this matter. Next question.”

    • K.

      I know. It’s possible they felt pressured to respond because they were called out specifically in Farrow’s letter (which I really think is misguided on her part, but I understand her frustration all the same). In truth, the cynical side of me (that is REALLY cynical about Hollywood) is thinking that their press agents advised this response for them because they can ride the scandal and have their names in the press, but in an innocuous way, if you know what I mean.

      Sadly, “No comment” doesn’t give anyone anything to write about but “Scarlett Johansson made meaningless, nothing statements about Woody Allen that don’t tell us anything new and are irrelevant anyway” does.

    • Kelly

      Yep, exactly. My husband worked with a man who was later convicted of molesting his children and beating his wife to the point where she was hospitalized.

      I had dinner with that man. I never would have guessed that about him. My husband never suspected it. I can’t imagine having our names in the news over it and people demanding to know what we knew or why we associated with such filth.

      Even when he was convicted and the evidence was overwhelming, it was hard for us to reconcile those crimes with the man we knew as an acquaintance. Shockingly hard.

    • K.

      It was extremely disturbing to me too–it made me feel incredibly vulnerable to know that people could be so good at lying, and also sort of scared that I wasn’t a good judge of character. It really makes you insecure.

    • Kelly

      Yes, same here. We were sure that the police had the wrong man and believed that someone had broken into his home and attacked his wife, until she woke up in the hospital and named him as her attacker.

      It made me a little paranoid. I wonder what else I don’t know about people now.

    • TngldBlue

      You do make some good points but what if the domestic violence guy was the boss and you knew before accepting the job he had been accused of the crime and based on the evidence he looked guilty as hell? I know Allen was never convicted of anything but I have to admit, I’d have a really hard time accepting a job from someone who was accused of raping a child with a case strong enough to prosecute and the only reason he wasn’t charged was to protect the victim from a trial.

    • K.

      I think it’s unlikely any of the actresses/actors that Dylan Farrow names were aware of his crimes in any meaningful sense. For one, Farrow’s letter was published after Scarlett Johansson (and I think all of the other actors as well) had worked with Woody Allen and long after the films had finished production. So I think it’s unlikely they knew anything before they agreed to work in his films.

      *If* they were aware of anything before Farrow’s letter, I think that at most it would have been rumors, compounded by the fact that frankly, both Mia Farrow and Allen have lost credibility in that respect because they made every ugly thing about their relationship and their families public. Who listens to rumors about a guy who’s in a nasty divorce when both he and his ex are slandering each-other all the time anyway?

      To answer your question, I don’t think that I would work with Allen if I were an actress working in Hollywood today; I do think that mere rumors however, (if I even heard them, and Scarjo may not have) would not be enough for me to write off a professional engagement with him before Farrow’s letter came out.

      And, although *I* believe Farrow, I also understand that others have different moral compasses, which to me are equally valid because in the end, accusations of child rape is not the same thing as being convicted of child rape and people will have differing opinions about how they should interact with Allen and/or his films because his guilt or innocence is not defined. So I wouldn’t necessarily hold it against another person if they chose to work professionally with Allen now or if they chose to remain an Allen fan. (I would be surprised, however, if credible actors/actresses would work with Allen in the near future–that seems like career suicide)

    • OhHeyDelilah

      I think you’re spot on with the question of why female actresses are being held to account, but not their male colleagues. The other thing that makes me uncomfortable about this whole Woody Allen debate is that he has never been found guilty of a crime. I completely understand that the majority of sex crimes go unreported and that it is really important for victims to be supported when they step up and tell their stories – but I find that there’s also something troubling about the idea that we, as the public, get to determine someone’s guilt or innocence based on an accusation that has already been through court. It’s difficult, because if Dylan Farrow did experience abuse at Allen’s hands, she is no doubt living with the lifelong impacts of that trauma, and she certainly deserves justice. But I’ve noticed a swing in public opinion in the last couple of years in which men are automatically guilty, no matter what evidence is found to dispute that. I absolutely and totally understand that a vast number of men who have committed crimes are let off or sentenced far too lightly, and that far too often women are castigated for what they were wearing/how they behaved, and so I really don’t know what the answer is. But something about the public deciding that all men are guilty of the crimes they’re accused of because GENDER doesn’t sit right with me either.

  • Maria Guido

    She should have just said “no comment.”

  • Kelly

    Surprisingly, I kind of agree with her. I feel for Dylan Farrow and I think Woody Allen is a child raping piece of shit but I also don’t think it’s fair to throw other actors under the bus because they didn’t boycott him.

    Scarlett’s right that she has no way of knowing if it’s true or not. She’s not friends with Woody Allen, she worked with him. There’s a big difference.

    The lifestyle comment was worded poorly but I see where she’s coming from. She’s not pro child rape because she was in a Woody Allen movie.

  • Kat

    I don’t even understand this. What does Scarlett Johansson have to do with this?

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