Actresses working with Woody Allen face scrutiny (again) in wake of sexual misconduct scandals

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Kate Winslet, left, and Selena Gomez dance around the Woody Allen topic. (Photo: Getty Images)

Woody Allen is back in the news for his latest film Wonder Wheel, and the timing certainly is interesting given the sexual harassment avalanche overtaking the entertainment industry.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker first made headlines in 1993 for allegedly abusing his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. In 2014, she publicly addressed the topic for the first time in a piece for the New York Times, accusing Allen of sexually assaulting her when she was 7 years old. Allen has denied this and any wrongdoing. Public scrutiny is something the director is familiar with given his controversial marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former partner, Mia Farrow.

Still, Allen has worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and continues to do so, despite the abuse accusation. This allegation comes up every few years, whenever Allen releases a film, but now the discussion is primed to be stronger than ever. While actors like Alec Baldwin have had to defend their decision to star in his films, a spotlight seems to be shining bright on actresses who have done the same, given the current climate.

Here are the women who have spoken out about their decisions to work with Woody Allen:

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet — who condemned Harvey Weinstein — is Allen’s latest muse in Wonder Wheel and she has awkwardly tried to sidestep discussing the topic on her recent press tour. “Um. It’s just a difficult discussion. I’d rather respectfully not enter it today,” the actress said in an interview with Variety. This, just months after she was slammed for her explanation about working with the director.

When asked by the New York Times in September whether the allegations gave her pause, Winslet said, “of course one thinks about it.” She continued, “But at the same time, I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”

Selena Gomez
The singer recently worked with Allen on his upcoming film, A Rainy Day in New York, and was asked by Billboard if his past was something she thought about before signing on. “To be honest, I’m not sure how to answer — not because I’m trying to back away from it,” she said. “[The Weinstein allegations] actually happened right after I had started [on the movie]. They popped up in the midst of it. And that’s something, yes, I had to face and discuss. I stepped back and thought, ‘Wow, the universe works in interesting ways.’”

Miley Cyrus (Photo: Getty Images)

Miley Cyrus
After starring in Allen’s Amazon series Crisis in Six Scenes, The Voice coach and activist had to answer questions surrounding her choice. “Until I know someone and I know their story, I never really judge anyone,” Cyrus told Variety. “I never saw him be anything but an incredible person and a really great dad. People might slam me for saying that. I’m sure it was a hard time for that family. My family has been through hard things, and I think everyone’s suffering is different.”

Kristen Stewart (Photo: Getty Images)

Kristen Stewart
The actress admitted to having concerns about working with Allen, but ended up starring in Café Society anyway. Stewart explained she talked it over with co-star, Jesse Eisenberg. “I was like, ‘What do you think? We don’t know any of these people involved. I can personalize situations, which would be very wrong,’” she told Variety. “At the end of the day, Jesse and I talked about this. If we were persecuted for the amount of s*** that’s been said about us that’s not true, our lives would be over. The experience of making the movie was so outside of that, it was fruitful for the two of us to go on with it.”

Blake Lively (Photo: Raymond Hall/GC Images)

Blake Lively
The Café Society actress claimed to the Los Angeles Times that news surrounding Allen’s personal life didn’t register with her while she was making the movie. “It’s very dangerous to factor in things you don’t know anything about,” she said. “I could [only] know my experience. And my experience with Woody is he’s empowering to women.” She added, “It’s amazing what Woody has written for women.”

Cate Blanchett (Photo: Getty Images)

Cate Blanchett
The Oscar-winning actress has the Blue Jasmine director to thank for her second gold statue and she did just that during her acceptance speech. However, she avoided talking about the accusations as much as possible during her awards season campaign in 2013. “It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some resolution and peace,” she said.

Diane Keaton (Photo: Getty Images)

Diane Keaton
The Annie Hall star — who was romantically involved with Allen — is matter of fact in her support of Allen. When asked about the accusations by the Guardian she said, “I have nothing to say about that. Except: I believe my friend.”

Scarlett Johansson (Photo: Getty Images)

Scarlett Johansson
Johansson has appeared in three of Allen’s films (Match Point, Scoop, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and was one of the many stars called out for working with the filmmaker in Farrow’s open letter. “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,” she told the Guardian in 2014.

When pressed on backlash, the actress said, “I’m unaware that there’s been a backlash. 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.”

As for her relationship with Allen, she said nothing has changed: “It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other.”

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