May 29, 2024
The once revered filmmaker has been back in the news lately because of his struggles to promote his latest film, 'Coup de Chance.'

While engaging in a podcast chat about the #MeToo movement, alleged predatory men in the media and so-called cancel culture, Bill Maher and Katie Couric focused a bit on Woody Allen.

The once revered filmmaker has been back in the news lately because of his struggles to promote his latest film, “Coup de Chance.” The 88-year-old director of “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan” became a pariah in the American film industry during a #MeToo-era reconsideration of his career and the long-roiling sexual assault allegations made against him by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.

On his “Club Random” podcast this week, Maher said he never believed Allen molested Dylan in 1992 when she was 7 years old, and he buys the view that Allen’s ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow coached Dylan to say he had touched her inappropriately during a bitter custody dispute. Seven months before Dylan Farrow says Allen molested her, Mia Farrow discovered that her then-57-year-old boyfriend was having an affair with another of her adopted children, Soon-Yi Previn, then a 21-year-old college freshman.

Dylan Farrow sits down with “CBS This Morning” to talk about allegedly being sexually assaulted by Woody Allen in 1992. (CBS) 

“I just flat out believe him,” Maher said. “I believe a 57-year -old man didn’t suddenly become a child molester in the middle of …. a custody battle in a house full of adults in broad daylight.”

Maher is referring to Dylan Farrow’s claim that the molestation occurred when Allen was doing a court-sanctioned visit with her and her brother Ronan Farrow at their mother’s Connecticut country home. Other children and Dylan Farrow’s baby sitter reportedly were present at the property.

As Dylan recounted in the explosive 2021 HBO documentary, “Allen vs Farrow,” her father took her to an attic crawl space, instructed her to lay on her stomach and play with her brother’s toy train set. “And as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted,” Dylan Farrow said.

Allen has long denied assaulting his daughter, and he has his defenders, including Maher, who told Couric: “It’s a very improbable crime that they’re accusing him of. Plainly, the other party had motivation and was vindictive.”

Regarding the HBO documentary, Couric said she thought it made other “damning” points about Allen’s behavior over the years that were “pretty sketchy.” The film suggested that Allen’s relationship with Soon-Yi starting when she was a teenager, and Couric said the series also described another relationship the Oscar-winning director had with a high-school student.

Couric said she thought the documentary raised “legitimate questions.”

Allen’s name came up as she and Maher were talking about other men, such as former CBS honcho Les Moonves and comedian Louis C.K., whose once powerful careers were derailed by sexual misconduct allegations. Couric said she recently read a piece about Allen that asked whether audiences could separate the art from the artist.

In the midst of the #MeToo movement, Amazon Studios ended its multimillion-dollar movie deal with Allen, and stars like Timothée Chalamet, Kate Winslet, Mira Sorvino, Colin Firth and Greta Gerwig publicly expressed regret at having worked with him.

Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow stroll up New York’s 8th Avenue in this Jan. 1984 photo. Farrow says she hasn’t spoken to her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn since 1992, when her ex-husband Woody Allen admitted having an affair with the young woman. “As sure as death, Soon-Yi was gone from our lives,” Farrow writes in her new book, “What Falls Away,” published Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1997. (AP Photo/Frankie Ziths,File) 

Allens’s most recent films were barely shown shown in the U.S., said Justin Chang, the film critic for the New Yorker and NPR, who added that “once upon a time,” the arrival of a new Woody Allen movie in theaters would qualify as some kind of event. “Coup de Chance,” Allen’s 50th film, was shot in France and in the French language. It has only received a “muted” release in some 13 theaters in the U.S., the New York Times reported. 

Maher used a vulgar term to describe the stars who no longer want to work with Allen and  argued that the director and writer also was investigated on the assault allegations but never charged with a crime. There indeed was investigation by a team of investigators at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, commissioned by Connecticut law enforcement.

Allen’s lawyers said the investigation “cleared” him of the assault allegations, Esquire reported. Frank Maco, the Connecticut state attorney leading the investigation into the assault allegations, did announce at the time that he would not press charges against Allen. However, he said he believed Dylan had been assaulted and would not press charges because he wished to spare Dylan the trauma of taking the stand as the lead witness at a high-profile trial.

In response to Maher’s strong defense of Allen, Couric acknowledged, “Listen, I don’t know.” She said, “We don’t know” what happened between Allen and his daughter.

Maher admitted, “I don’t know either.” But he also said, “We both keep saying, ‘I don’t know.’ I think your I don’t know is like a 50-50 and mine is like a 90-10.”