Is Woody Allen Obsessed with Teen Girls?

After the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the allegation that Woody Allen is fixated on teen-age females is getting new attention.

That Woody Allen is constantly writing about older men obsessing over young women, including teens, seems more potentially consequential in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations. After all, Weinstein used his leverage in unethical ways to pressure women to do things for him. Woody Allen has been accused of misbehavior though it never went to trial and he denied it.

Thus, Richard Morgan writes in the Washington Post, “I read decades of Woody Allen’s private notes. He’s obsessed with teenage girls.

According to the staff at Firestone Library’s rare-books wing, I’m the first person to read Allen’s collection — the Woody Papers — from cover to cover, and from the very beginning to the very end, Allen, quite simply, drips with repetitious misogyny.

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[…]

Allen’s work is flatly boorish. Running through all of the boxes is an insistent, vivid obsession with young women and girls: There’s the “wealthy, educated, respected” male character in one short story (“By Destiny Denied: Incident at Entwhistle’s”) who lives with a 21-year-old “Indian” woman. First, Allen’s revisions reduce her to 18, then doubles down, literally, and turn her into two 18-year-olds. There’s the 16-year-old in an unmade television pitch […]

Another of Allen’s male characters, in a draft of a 1977 New Yorker story called “The Kugelmass Episode,” is a 45-year-old fascinated by “coeds” at City College of New York. In the margin next to this character’s dialogue, Allen wrote, then crossed out, “c’est moi” — it’s me.

[…]

Reclusive by nature, Allen did lodge a complaint about the Weinstein moment, warning the BBC about “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer.” He seems to believe that coworkers wink at each other all the time.

[…]

In this #MeToo era, a hackneyed moral argument has calcified for loving the art while hating the artist, and dancing around Walter Benjamin’s idea that “at the base of every major work of art is a pile of barbarism.” Allen looms large in those conversations, given the tragic inception of his current marriage, which began when he started a sexual relationship with his then-girlfriend’s teenage daughter (now his wife of two decades). As he later described the affair: “I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me.”

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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