Kate Winslet almost — almost! — denounced filmmaker Woody Allen in a speech this weekend at the London Critics Circle film awards. Winslet, who worked with Allen on the 2017 film Wonder Wheel, told the crowd that she had "bitter regrets" over working with certain powerful men. She did not name names. During her speech, Winslet alluded to celebrated "directors, producers, and men of power" with whom she'd worked during her career.
"It has become clear to me that by not saying anything, I might be adding to the anguish of many courageous women and men. Sexual abuse is a crime," Winslet said, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
Winslet's comments, despite their vagueness, mirror similar statements actors have made about Allen. The director was accused of sexual assault in the mid-nineties by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow. Farrow maintains that Allen is guilty; Allen actively denies the allegations. In 2017, spurred by the #MeToo movement, Farrow wrote an essay for the LA Times begging Hollywood to support her. In the essay, Farrow mentions Winslet specifically, highlighting an interview in October during which she declined to wade into the contentious Allen discussion.
"Of course one thinks about it," Winslet said at the time. "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." Winslet added that Allen was an "incredible director," which was a good enough reason for her to work with him.
At the same time, Winslet actively denounced disgraced film titan Harvey Weinstein. After the New York Times published its exposé on the producer's history of sexual assault and misconduct, Winslet revealed that she deliberately left Weinstein out of her 2009 Oscars thank you speech.
"I remember being told. ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win,'" she told the LA Times in October. "And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No I won’t. No, I won’t.’ And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren’t well-behaved, why would I thank him?" She added that he was a "bully."
That Winslet was so quick to reject Weinstein but so hesitant to comment on Allen speaks to the broader culture of silence surrounding sexual harassment and assault. After the Times and the New Yorker published dual exposés on Weinstein, the invisible embargo on the producer's behaviour elapsed, and it was suddenly okay to talk about it. The same has yet to happen for Allen, although we're getting closer every day. Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Winslet's change of tune comes just as the Allen conversation appeared to reach a boiling point. In the past month, Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino, Rebecca Hall, David Krumholtz, Timothée Chalamet, and Colin Firth have rejected Allen publicly. Some, like Hall, Chalamet, and Krumholtz, donated their salaries from Allen films to charity. Others pledged never to work with him again. The conversation might even affect the immediate future of Allen's work: Amazon is reportedly reconsidering distributing Allen's movie A Rainy Day in New York.
Winslet's comments also arrive on the heels of Alec Baldwin's misguided Twitter rant. Baldwin, who has always been an Allen supporter, compared Farrow to the character Mayella from To Kill a Mockingbird. In the novel, Mayella falsely accuses Tom Robinson of rape. However, Baldwin missed a crucial detail: In the novel, Mayella is also sexually assaulted by her own father.
In response to Baldwin's bum-steer criticism, Farrow released a pointed statement to THR: "Considering that Mr. Baldwin confidently invoked Mayella Ewell to make his point while forgetting that it’s been hotly debated that she was, in fact, raped by her father, demonstrates that perhaps Baldwin is just not a stickler for details."
It's not clear yet whether Winslet's remarks will suffice — so many other celebrities have made harsher statements. (Most of them have also, erm, used Allen's name.) But we also don't know whether Winslet, who worked with Allen fairly recently, is under a non-disclosure agreement. Her comments, though vague, communicate the most important thing: She regrets her decision to work with this "powerful man." The first step of Time's Up is acknowledgement. Moving forward, it's not likely Winslet will work with Allen again.
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