Why Scarlett Johansson Still Supports Notorious Director Woody Allen

Scarlett Johansson makes waves all the time, whether it’s through her performances or her sometimes controversial interviews. The latter has come into play again with the actress coming to the defense of director Woody Allen.

Defending the notorious director whom many believe molested his daughter is, as some say, not a good look. However, Johansson stands by her comments, saying it is possible to stick up for Allen while still supporting the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Johansson has worked with Allen three times

Although defending Woody Allen would seem ill-advised in a climate with a heightened awareness of sexual misconduct, Johansson has shown repeatedly that she’s not afraid to ruffle feathers.

She’s also in a different position than most, in that she considers Allen a friend, having worked with him three times, on the movies Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Christina Barcelona. She has often been referred to as Allen’s muse, the same way Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow once were. 

Having a friend or family member accused of a crime can be a tremendous burden.  When comedian Louis CK admitted that he masturbated in front of several women, his friend Sarah Silverman said, “I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it—and also sad, because he’s my friend.”

There is a major difference between Louis CK and Woody Allen, however. Louis CK admitted his misdeeds, while Woody Allen has for decades steadfastly denied molesting his daughter, and Johansson still supports him. She told The Hollywood Reporter, ” “I love Woody. I believe him, and I would work with him anytime.”

How the Woody Allen controversy started 

The controversy swirling around the acclaimed director stems from the acrimonious breakup with his former partner Mia Farrow in the early 1990s. Farrow, who had been in a relationship with Allen for several years, was outraged when Allen began a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, Farrow’s adopted daughter from a previous marriage. Farrow accused Allen of sexually assaulting their adopted daughter Dylan when she was 7. 

State agencies in Connecticut and New York investigated the case, and both concluded there was no evidence to support criminal charges. The controversy died down but resurfaced when Dylan published a letter in the New York Times, calling out several people, including Johansson, who had worked with her father. 

However, Allen and Mia Farrow’s older son Moses disputed Dylan’s claim in a blog post. Moses, who is a therapist, said that Dylan is not lying and believes the assault really happened. However, Moses contends their mother brainwashed Dylan into believing the assault took place to spite Allen and Previn, who remain married to this day. Moses, who said Mia abused him as well, addressed his sister: 

“I have broken my silence about the abuse inflicted by our mother. My healing began only after getting away from her. And what she has done to you is unbearable. I wish you peace, and the wisdom to understand that devoting your life to helping our mother destroy our father’s reputation is unlikely to bring you closure in any kind of lasting way.”

Johansson said of Allen, “I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about it. I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him.” 

Will the controversy hurt Johansson? 

Dylan Farrow maintains that Woody Allen molested her and responded to Johansson’s comments by saying, “if we’ve learned anything from the past two years it’s that you definitely should believe male predators who ‘maintain their innocence’ without question.”

However, Johansson is well aware that her remarks would stoke criticism. She said, “Things needed to be stirred up, and so people have a lot of passion and a lot of strong feelings and are angry, and rightfully so. It’s an intense time.” She noted that she got involved in Time’s Up thanks to Natalie Portman. Portman also worked with Allen, in the 1996 musical Everyone Says I Love You, although Portman has said she believes Dylan.

However intense people’s feelings are on either side, it is unlikely to have any kind of lasting impact on the Johansson’s career, especially with her being part of the seemingly bulletproof Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

She has caused controversy before by insisting that she should be able to play a trans person if she wants, but she has also walked back those statements. Meanwhile, she has garnered Oscar buzz for her performances in Jojo Rabbit, a comedy about Adolf Hitler, and Marriage Story, about the strain of a marriage falling apart. That’s nothing if not ironic.