The Woody Allen Controversy Reader: The Casual Racism and Anti-Semitism of Woody Allen Critics

Justin Levine
17 min readJan 31, 2019

Photographic Lies — Part I

There have been many falsehoods and distortions made about the controversies concerning Woody Allen. But among the most pernicious is the penchant for Allen’s critics to post misleading pictures of Allen and his daughters in order to support their belief that Allen must be a pedophile.

They often begin by stating outright falsehoods that Woody Allen “married his daughter”, when nothing could be further from the truth. Allen married Soon-Yi Previn, who was not his daughter. She was not his biological daughter, nor his adopted daughter, nor his stepdaughter. She was not his daughter in any way, shape or form. She was the daughter of Andre Previn — full stop.

But when supplementing this lie, they will buttress their case by posting a commonly-shared picture of a young Asian girl sitting on Allen’s lap, as though this is somehow evidence that he must be a child molester who “married his daughter”.

There is a huge problem here — the girl in the photo is not Soon-Yi Previn. She is Bechet Dumaine Allen, the girl that he and his wife Soon-Yi adopted in 1999 along with another girl named Manzie Tio Allen in 2000 (adoptions that the state readily approved of since claims made that he molested his other, perviously adopted daughter were determined to be false by an official inquiry).

Here is an image of Allen with his now-wife Soon-Yi Previn that was taken well before the image of Allen with his daughter Becehet seen above.

(Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen)

Other variations of this lie by those who deliberately try to confuse readers into thinking that images of Bechet Allen are actually those of Soon-Yi Previn occur throughout the Internet.

(Bechet Dumaine Allen and Woody Allen)

Again, the young girl on the left in the photo above is his adopted daughter Bechet Dumaine Allen, not his wife Soon-Yi Previn who also adopted Bechet. Bechet turned 20-years-old in 2018.

Here is a more accurate and truthful picture that depicts Allen with his wife Soon-Yi and their two daughters.

(Left to Right: Bechet Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, Manzie Allen, Woody Allen)

Allen’s DAUGHTER Bechet is seen on the far left while his WIFE Soon-Yi is seen on the second/middle left.

And here, the DAUGHTER Bechet is seen on the far right, while his WIFE Soon-Yi is in the middle.

(Left to right: Manzie Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen, Bechet Allen)

Yet Allen’s critics routinely post pictures of Allen alone with his daughter Bechet in a deliberate attempt to fool people into thinking that she is Soon-Yi Previn as a subtle form of disinformation to support the notion that he is somehow a child molester.

(Woody Allen with his daughter Bechet Allen)

Rarely will they post photos showing Allen with both his daughter and wife simultaneously since that would expose their lies. Instead, they post photos with Allen merely sitting with his daughter alone in order to try and sell the notion that Allen is a serial molester.

(Left: A teenage Bechet Allen with parents Woody and Soon-Yi; Right: Woody holding a younger Bechet.)

It doesn’t need to be stated that to try and suggest that a father is guilty of molestation simply because he is seen holding his own daughter in his lap is beneath contempt. So why do Allen’s enemies think they can get away with this?

Simple. They think all Asians look alike and are counting on the fact that other think the same.

In other words — racism, pure and simple.

By all accounts, Allen has provided a loving environment for his wife and the two daughters that he helped to raise with her. Bechet Allen has taken to social media to defend her father against the myriad of lies and innuendos that have stalked him for the past number of years, as has Moses Farrow whom Allen also adopted during his time with (now ex-girlfriend) Mia Farrow.

A Curious Pattern of Automatically Believing Some, But Dismissing Others

Other witnesses have lent support to the notion that Woody Allen was falsely accused by Mia Farrow of molesting their jointly-adopted daughter Dylan, in retaliation for the fact that Allen had ended his relationship with Farrow in favor of Soon-Yi Previn.

One such witness was Dylan’s nanny, Monica Thompson, who in turn supported the statements made by Moses Farrow who was a direct witness on the day in question.

Then there is the report headed up in part by Julia Hamilton, an undisputed expert in child abuse cases who has been cited by courts, who was part of the team hired by police and other state officials to investigate the claims against Allen.

The report and investigation by Hamilton and her colleagues unambiguously concluded that no abuse took place.

Allen’s critics routinely dismiss the testimonies by Soon-Yi Previn, Moses Farrow, Monica Thompson and Julia Hamilton. Just as they ignore tragic deaths and suicides of Mia Farrow’s children Tam Farrow (whose suicide was falsely characterized by Mia as “heart failure” at 21), Thaddeus Farrow (whose suicide was falsely characterized by Mia as a “car accident”), and Lark Farrow (who became a despondent drug addict before tragically succumbing to AIDS on Christmas Day in 2008).

Do you know what all of these people have in common? They aren’t white. The statements of Mia, Dylan and Ronan Farrow are all accepted at face value, but not any of the others listed above. Do you see a pattern here?

If there is an explanation for this other than racism, it should by all means be explored. But a credible alternative theory has yet to present itself.

Photographic Lies — Part 2

Another common photographic meme that disingenuously tries to “prove” Allen is a sexual predator involves an image of Allen hugging his two daughters at a moment when they both looked upset, seen here:

(Woody Allen with daughters Bechet and Manzie Allen)

Not only do people try to use this photo to “prove” that Allen is a child molester/pedophile, some even go so far as to disingenuously claim that one of the girls in the photo above is Dylan Farrow.

This casual slander is perpetuated even by the likes of people such as Dr. Lillian Glass, who bills herself as one of the “foremost authorities in the field of communication and the psychology of human behavior” and a “renowned body language expert”.

Apart from declaring the image of Allen hugging his two daughters “disturbing”, Glass manages to spout a number of lies in her first paragraph alone. She states:

In light of Woody Allen’s history of taking nude photos of his then 20 year old daughter Soon Yi Previn who is now 41 who was also his step daughter with Mia Farrow whom he later married, these photos of Woody hugging his two daughters appear disturbing to me.

To begin with, Soon-Yi was not Woody Allen’s daughter. Nor was she Allen’s “step daughter”. (Woody Allen has never had a step daughter. Given the fact that he never married Mia Farrow, how could he? He never even lived with Farrow — always maintaining their separate residences.).

Glass is flat out lying here — a standard prerequisite for the kind of casual defamation she engages in.

She then proceeds to use her witch-doctor-like “expertise” in examining the body language of Bechet and Manzie to clearly insinuate that Allen is a sexual predator and that their body language reflects their knowledge of this.

Here is a typical portion of Glass’s analysis, using her PhD in “Communication Disorders” to try and artificially imbue pedantic observations about a specific photo with some deeper meaning and insight regarding Allen’s family dynamic:

Daughter Bechet on the right looks very upset. Look at the tension in her jaw and pursed lips. She is not smiling or happy about her dad’s hug. Not only are her arms a crossed to shield herself from him but she has made a defensive fist in anger which is telling. Also her heel is lifted off the ground which indicates she wants to walk (run) away from him.

Her description was apparently in reference to this photo:

There is one huge problem in Glass’s posturing though — Manzie Allen herself came across Glass’s comments and weighed in to set the record straight. You can see her response at the tail end of the comments section of Glass’s Internet page.

Here is what Manzie said in response to Glass’s insinuations:

This is all fake. I was upset in that photo because my cousins were visiting and I don’t like them. So stop saying that my sister and I are unhappy because of our dad, he is a loving man and that was not why we were unhappy.

Caught flat-footed after being called out by the very participant she was commenting on, Glass then disingenuously tries to backtrack and pretend that she never meant to insinuate anything improper by replying:

Manzie, Thank you for reaching out. This was not meant to hurt or upset you and I can assure you it is not fake. While you state you were upset by your cousins, you took that upset out on your father as you appeared very reluctant and closed off body language wise when he tried to hug and show affection to both you and your sister as it was clear that you did not seem receptive to any affection at that moment. I am glad to hear from you that your father is a loving man as he seemed loving in the photos as well when he reached out to hug both you and your sister. Once again thank you for reaching out and clarifying this moment in time.

In light of Glass’s previous words in both her blog post and to other commenters on the page who criticized her “analysis”, Glass’s response to Manzie is laughable. She clearly got caught in a lie and can’t own up to it — choosing instead to focus on the irrelevant fact that Manize still looks upset in a photo that was published and taken completely out of context from the reality of the situation.

Note Glass’s defensive reaction to the other commenters on her page who assail her for judging an entire family “off of just a couple photos”, and then compare it to the conciliatory tone Glass strikes once she gets called out by Manzie herself.

When Manzie Allen herself calls out the photograph as a lie and is seen publicly supporting her father, as well as her sister Bechet, Moses Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn, at what point does one simply accept the fact that Allen has been the victim of a malicious smear campaign against him that has undoubtedly adversely affected the very children that social media hypocrites disingenuously claim to be concerned about?

The Factual Transgressions of Woody Allen

Here is a list of transgressions (as people may subjectively define them) that Woody Allen is admittedly guilty of:

● While in his mid-50s, Allen began dating and falling in love with Soon-Yi Previn, the adult-aged, adopted daughter of his, by then, largely-estranged girlfriend, Mia Farrow, who had previously bore a son with Allen. (Soon-Yi was at least 20-years-old when she began dating Allen.)

● Though they shared no direct family connection or relationship together, the start of Allen’s romantic relationship with Soon-Yi Previn roughly coincided with his adoption of two of Soon-Yi’s siblings — Moses Farrow and Dylan Farrow. (Allen and Mia Farrow were never married, nor did they ever live together in the same residence. However, as noted above, they did have a son together. Allen’s subsequent adoption of Moses and Dylan was thus as a co-adoptee, single parent father, along with Mia Farrow who has previously adopted them separately as a single parent mother.)

● At age 42, he dated a 17-year-old woman by the name of Stacey Nelkin, a relationship that is/was entirely legal in the state of New York (where the age of consent is 17).

● In his mid-40s, he also made overtures to Mariel Hemingway when she was 18 that she interpreted as a romantic bid which she respectfully declined. (Hemingway likewise rebuffed many overtures from other older men within the Hollywood industry, but she still holds a fondness for Allen, willingly continued to work with him much later in her career, and attended the 2014 Golden Globes Award ceremony specifically to support Allen being given the the Cecil B. DeMille Award. She still sings Allen’s praises to this day and credits him entirely for her wanting to be an actress.)

● If we are to take her claims at face value (and I see no inherent reason why one shouldn’t, though some question her story based on her strong embrace of paranormal beliefs), Babi Christina Engelhardt reportedly began a sexual affair with Allen in 1976, shortly after she had turned 17 (which is the legal age of consent in the state of New York where it occurred). Allen was 41 at the time. The timeline would overlap with Allen’s subsequent affair with then-17-year-old Stacey Nelkin (discussed above).

(Gary Baum of the Hollywood Reporter, who was the first to write about Englehardt’s account, is vague about the timeline, falsely suggesting that Englehardt may have only been 16 at the time.

However, CNN reports that she was 17 at the time of her affair with Allen, and thus was perfectly legal. Baum insisted to me that she told him she was 16, and has thus far refused comment when I pointed out the important discrepancy between his own reporting and that of CNN.

I spoke directly with a CNN spokesperson as well as one of the CNN reporters of the Englehardt story, and they confirmed to me that they stand by all aspects of their reporting of it.

Englehardt has subsequently confirmed to me directly that she was 17 and of legal age during her first sexual liaison with Allen, discrediting Baum’s false claim.

Therefore, both CNN and Englehardt herself have directly contradicted Baum’s claim.

It also important to also note that people within Mia Farrow’s circle previously attempted to get Stacey Nelkin to lie and claim that she was underage when she began her romance with Allen. It follows a curious pattern of parties deliberately trying to create misinformation with regards to Allen, as seems to be the case with Baum’s reporting above.

These discrepancies are more than a trivial matter, since one describes the crime of statutory rape while the other describes an affair between two consenting people of legal age.)

Englehardt also claims to have engaged in a threesome with Allen and other ladies, including Mia Farrow.

As with Nelkin, Englehardt does not regret her relationship with Allen and still speaks fondly of him. (She stated, “I’m not attacking Woody. This is not ‘bring down this man.’ I’m talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets.”)

● (Most also know of the allegations that Allen molested Dylan Farrow which came concurrently with the revelation that he was leaving Mia Farrow for Soon-Yi Previn, but both the specific timeline and a wealth of evidence casts active doubt on this claim.

Essayist Kyle Smith put it aptly: “Allen stands guilty of running away with his girlfriend’s daughter, of lusting after young women, and of making Whatever Works. But he is innocent of child molesting.”)

Ignoring A Larger Context When Making Moral Judgements

For some, the notion that Allen may have committed statutory rape in the 1970s or sought to date barely-legal women is enough to denounce him and boycott all of his works.

For others, the fact that he fell in love with his ex-girlfriend’s adopted daughter when she was 20 and he was in his mid-50s is also enough reason alone to denounce him.

The fact that he has been happily and faithfully married to his wife for over 20 years without so much as a hint of rumor concerning abuse, scandal or unfaithfulness in the marriage does not seem to alleviate the rage of Allen’s critics (an admitted rarity among marriages involving high-profile celebrities).

Nor does the fact that Allen has never been accused of using the “casting couch” for his actresses, has never required even partial nudity for any his actresses, has never even been the subject of a rumor concerning on-set sexual harassment and has continually written some of the most substantive roles for middle-aged actresses in Hollywood (all reasons why so many high-profile actresses have wanted to work with him throughout the years, and why Allen has justifiably said the he should be the “poster boy” for the “MeToo” movement due to his continuing respect for the way he his treated his actresses in comparison to many of his Hollywood contemporaries).

Nor does the fact that the two daughters he has actively raised have continued to defend him as a loving father, nor the fact that both Moses Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn praise him for extracting them both from an abusive household.

Nor does the fact that none of his past, teen-aged girlfriends regret their relationships with him, continue to defend him, and even argue that their lives were enriched by the experience despite the complications they also acknowledge stemmed from it.

None of these facts seem to mitigate any of the rage or enmity that Allen’s social critics have towards him. Among Allen’s critics, the bigger picture does not matter.

In the mind of Allen’s critics, the fact that he is admittedly guilty of the actions listed above represents de facto proof that he must have also molested his adopted daughter Dylan, despite a slew of evidence suggesting that he has been falsely accused in retaliation for leaving Mia Farrow and following in love with Soon-Yi Previn.

For the few that are even willing to concede the existence of reasonable doubt on the accusation concerning Dylan, his transgressions regarding Soon-Yi, Nelkin and Englehardt are enough to condemn him and inspire an all-encompassing boycott against him and his works.

To them, he is likely guilty of a past crime, and thus deserves the full force of their moral condemnation (even if the women in question still support him and refuse to condemn him themselves).

Double Standards In Social Outrage: Rooted In Anti-Semitism

But let us concede that Allen is likely “guilty” of having been attracted to barely-legal, adult teens who have no regrets about their experiences to this day.

Should this, and his subsequent, successful marriage to Soon-Yi Previn be a reason to morally condemn Allen to the point of boycotting his works and shaming those who find enjoyment in them and still wish to work with Allen?

This is naturally a question of pure opinion, personal preferences and personal moral judgements. However, a disturbing question remains for the moral puritans who willingly condemn Allen based on what we know him to be guilty of: Why is there not the same level of moral condemnation for the likes of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Aerosmith, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley, Iggy Pop, and any number of other rock stars or celebrities who achieved fame before the current era?

Are Bowie fans who condemn Woody Allen ready to burn all of their Bowie albums, T-shirts, posters and videos since their idol is likely guilty of similar, or even worse transgressions that Allen engaged in?

The current cultural landscape is littered with countless rockstars and actors who have had sexual trysts with underage girls who were close (but often still shy of) to the age of consent (unlike Allen, who waited until they were adults in the eyes of the law). Yet they have managed to somehow escape the wrath America’s current Cultural Revolution that is carried on by social media mobs. Why is that?

Sometimes, a tragic or untimely death will prevent people from asking uncomfortable questions. But in other cases, the reason seems to simply be a blatant double standard at work. Even bringing up uncomfortable facts will often cause the fickle mobs to pounce — insisting that we close close our eyes instead.

Why the blatant double standard in how Woody Allen is treated compared to other celebrities who engaged in similar actions? Even a cursory look at the following images will make the answer intuitively obvious:

David Bowie
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler
Don Henley of The Eagles
Paul Walker
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
Elvis Presley

And finally…

The reason for the blatant double standard is obvious to anyone with the courage to admit it — Woody Allen is a Jew.

What’s more is that he looks like a Jew (at least in terms of what Jews are “supposed” to look like in much of the public imagination).

Charismatic WASP rock stars sleeping with underage and barely legal teens? That’s just what those rock stars are supposed to do — or at least that was the accepted norm throughout the 70s and early 80s. They used their music and work to seduce the groupies. We accept that.

But a Jew who uses his film work, intellect and wit to achieve the same ends during that period?? No. “Those people” shouldn’t be allowed to do such things. His glasses. His nose. His hair. He doesn’t look sexy with his shirt off. Ugh!

Woody Allen proved that a Jewish intellect and wit in film could attract groupies just as charismatic, goy rock stars could. This reality is unacceptable to society, hence they have condemned Allen and falsely branded him a “pedophile” and sexual predator while sparing the likes of Bowie, Jagger, Page, etc. etc.

Let’s call this what it is — blatant Anti-Semitism; A naked double standard against Jews for daring to engage in the same behavior that gentile culture routinely accepts.

If there is somehow a credible, alternative theory for this double standard, I’d be open to hearing it. But thus far, there has been only silence (save for the stereos that continue to play the music of various rock legends of the 70s and 80s).

To be clear, I am not advocating for boycotts against any of the music or acting figures listed above, whose work I all enjoy and will continue to enjoy without guilt.

I am merely asking that people begin to recognize that issues of sexual scandal, shifting mores and the relationship between art and the artist are far more complex and nuanced than the social media mob wants to acknowledge.

But when the social media mob not only countenances blatant double standards against the most “Jewish looking” offender of the bunch, but has to rely on blatant photographic lies to try and buttress its case, its time to call them out for the racist and Anti-Semitic underpinnings that they rely on.