What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?
This is the question that Dylan Farrow posed in her editorial in the New York Times in 2014 when she wrote about the sexual abuse she faced at the hands of her stepfather, Woody Allen. Allen has always claimed innocence, which gives Hollywood celebrities an easy out when it comes to ignoring these allegations or even going so far as to villainize Farrow for daring to speak out about the molestation she faced at his hands.
However, though the Time’s Up movement has not ostracized Woody Allen in the fashion of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey’s swift exits from public life, more actors and actresses that worked with Allen are tentatively speaking out against him and saying that they would not work with him again, such as Ellen Page, Mira Sorvino, and more recently, Greta Gerwig.
However, men who worked with Woody Allen have remained largely silent on the issue, much as how men have remained largely silent when it comes to the Time’s Up movement in general. Though men will say they support the cause when asked directly, we’ve yet to see any real contributions from the men in Hollywood when it comes to combating sexual assault.
And what should men’s role be? It’s a question we need to think about as we move forward on the issue of sexual assault in Hollywood. Clearly women need a greater voice and respect in the business of Hollywood, but how should well-meaning men interact with this reckoning on sexual assault without overtaking the conversation?
When Timothée Chalamet spoke out against Woody Allen, it set an example for what men can bring to this conversation.
Timothée Chalamet is a twenty-two-year-old American actor who rose to fame this year by starring in films like Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name, for which he is an Oscar nominee for Best Lead Actor. He is also starring in Allen’s upcoming movie A Rainy Day in New York. Though Chalamet is not the first man to say he will no longer work with Allen, he is the first lead actor in one of Allen’s modern productions to not only denounce him, but to donate his salary from the movie to charity.
Chalamet stated that, “I don’t want to profit from my work on the film, and to that end, I am going to donate my entire salary to three charities: TIME’S UP, The LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN. I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
This is a powerful statement, and one that has much more positive effects than simply men wearing black to the Golden Globes – which they do every year – and attach Time’s Up pins to their black suit jackets. That’s not real solidarity; that’s doing what’s trendy and necessary to stay popular.
It’s especially clear how important men speaking out about sexual assault is when looking at Chalamet’s Oscars competition this year. Gary Oldman, nominated for his leading role in Darkest Hour, has been accused of assaulting his wife in front of their children.
What Chalamet and other actors do when they donate their salaries is not just prove that they’re serious about sexual assault victims and genuinely want to help them beyond just a hashtag on Twitter, but create a different culture. In this culture, the Gary Oldmans and especially the Woody Allens of the world, are both outliers and intolerable in comparison.
This can be the contribution of men to the Time’s Up movement: if they’re serious about stopping the sexual assault of their female co-stars, they will both stop working with sexual predators and donate their money and time to charities that can do real, positive work when it comes to sexual assault at personal cost to themselves.
Time’s Up goes beyond just a hashtag or a social trend, and men in Hollywood need to start acting like it. This may be a “women’s issue” but actors like Timothée Chalamet remind us that men have a role in this too, and their voices are often more powerful. They should use their voices, resources, and power to help the women who do not have the ability to help themselves.
They should also renounce Woody Allen and men like him who are escaping consequences for sexual assault, and remember that just because someone is a powerful staple of Hollywood society doesn’t mean they are a good person. We’ve seen Harvey Weinstein fall, and it’s perfectly possible that Woody Allen could follow if more men take Chalamet’s example and refuse to tolerate his presence in Hollywood.