If you need something else to be mad about this week, I have just the thing. Woody Allen’s controversial memoir Apropos of Nothing has arrived, and honestly, it’s the memoir nobody asked for, but here we are. While I prefer to spend my time dissecting juicy tell-alls from iconic female celebs like Jessica Simpson or Demi Moore, sometimes we have to talk about gross old men too. So how is the book? In their review, the New York Post called it “disgusting, tone-deaf, ridiculous,” and while I don’t plan on reading the full thing, based on the excerpts I’ve seen, that sounds about right.
Originally, Apropos of Nothing was set to be published next month by Hachette Book Group, but those plans quickly went south. Upon hearing of Hachette’s deal to publish the book, their employees staged a walkout in protest, and the publisher soon announced that they were dropping the project. Luckily for Allen, his book was subsequently picked up by Arcade Publishing, an imprint whose parent company has also published projects from conspiracy theorists and Donald Trump fanboys. Tbh, this sounds like where Woody Allen belongs. Now that the book is here, let’s look at some of the sketchiest things we learned.
In the book, Allen shares many stories about his 13-year relationship with Mia Farrow, and he clearly has no warm feelings toward her. Specifically, he writes about how she had an obsession with adopting orphans, and says she treated them like “toys.” He alleges that she adopted and “sent back” two different children, adding that “If there were other kids she adopted and returned I have no idea—as I said, I lived on the other side of the park.” That last part is in reference to the fact that he and Mia never lived together in over a decade together—he was on the Upper East Side, while she lived on the Upper West.
Obviously, if there’s any truth to this, it’s incredibly f*cked up. Woody Allen is pretty much the world’s most unreliable narrator, but still. Farrow does have a famously prolific adoption record, adopting nine children between 1973 and 1994, but this seems like the first time she’s been accused of returning children. One of her sons, Moses, did accuse her of abuse in 2018, although nothing ever really came of those allegations.
In addition to her many adopted children, Mia Farrow also has four biological children, including journalist and author Ronan Farrow (whose name was Satchel at birth). Long assumed to be Woody Allen’s son, Farrow has said in recent years that Ronan could also be Frank Sinatra’s child, but no one knows for sure. In Apropos of Nothing, Allen admits he doesn’t know if Ronan is his child (do these people know about DNA tests?), but he is also critical of how Mia parented Ronan, saying she was “unnaturally obsessed” with him from the moment he was born. Allen writes that the baby sitter reported “seeing Mia sometimes sleeping in the nude with Satchel (now Ronan) a number of times till he was eleven years old. I don’t know what the anthropologists would say about that, but I can imagine what the guys in the poolroom would say.”
In recent years, Ronan Farrow has taken his mother’s side and spoken out publicly against Allen, and it’s clear that there’s no relationship between the two of them. In sharing this intimate information, it seems like Woody Allen is trying to get some revenge against the Farrows, and the pettiness really isn’t a good look. His life must really be sad if he has nothing better to do than talk sh*t about his ex’s parenting choices from 30 years ago.
Moving down the list of skeezy controversies, Woody Allen also takes this opportunity to address the drama surrounding his relationship with his wife, Soon-Yi Previn. If you’re unfamiliar, Soon-Yi happens to be one of Mia Farrow’s adopted children. She and Allen began an affair in 1991, when he was still in a relationship with Mia Farrow (again, Soon-Yi’s mom). Obviously, Mia peaced the f*ck out when she found out, and Woody and Soon-Yi have been together ever since. In his book, Allen says that the controversy “was worth every second of it,” and that he would “do it again in a heartbeat.” Imagine sleeping with your partner’s child, and then looking back 30 years later and being like “Nope, nothing wrong there.” I can’t.
Just to make things extra weird, Allen also writes about his and Soon-Yi’s relationship when she was a kid (AKA when he was dating her mom!!!), saying “Soon-Yi and I had no interest in knowing about each other. I thought she was a quiet, boring kid, and she thought I was her mom’s patsy.” Okay, so I’m glad he supposedly wasn’t interested in her when she was a child, but it’s still suuuuper creepy that he was dating her mom the entire time she was a teenager. Again, ew at all of this.
The Keaton Sisters
I expected all the f*cked up stuff about the extended Farrow family, but my true inspiration to write this article was when I saw a Page Six headline claiming that “Woody Allen dated both of Diane Keaton’s sisters.” Um, ew? At first, I was like, wait, didn’t Woody Allen date Diane Keaton? The answer, of course, is yes. The pair met in 1969 and dated for a couple years. But after that, Woody Allen ALSO dated both of her sisters. He writes “I dated her beautiful sister, Robin, and we had a brief romance. After that I dated her other beautiful sister, Dory, and we had a little fling. The three Keaton sisters were all beautiful, wonderful women.” Um, F*CKING EW!
This is like some gross 1970s Little Women fan fiction, except all of a sudden Laurie is like, a predator. Even if there’s nothing technically wrong here, that sentence about “the three Keaton sisters” is going to haunt me. Brb, I have to go wash my mouth out with soap because I read it out loud. Normally, I would make some joke about the Keaton sisters breaking girl code, but considering how sketchy Woody Allen is, I feel like they were probably manipulated into thinking this situation was normal. Hard pass, thanks!
The Publishing Drama
In a postscript that’s been added to the book, Allen makes his thoughts known about Hachette’s decision to drop his book. He says that Hachette loved the book, and that “despite me being a toxic pariah and menace to society, they vowed to stand firm should things hit the fan.” But when the controversy poured in, Allen says that Hachette decided “that perhaps courage was not the virtue it was cracked up to be and there was a lot to be said for cowering.” Wow, we love delusion. Woody, this isn’t about courage, it’s about the fact that Hachette made a really bad call in the first place, and they actually did the right thing and course-corrected when their employees voiced their concerns. Sucks to suck!
So yeah, if you really want to read Apropos of Nothing, you can buy it now, or you could save that money, and instead donate it to a charity of your choice. I recommend RAINN (Rape, Incest & Abuse National Network), but whatever you’re in the mood for is great. And if you’re looking for something to watch while you’re stuck at home, I suggest this list of Netflix recommendations, which is blissfully free of any Woody Allen movies.
Images: Andrea Ruffin / Shutterstock; Lev Radin / Shutterstock; Rena Schild / Shutterstock; Tinseltown / Shutterstock
Trigger Warning: this article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and rape
It’s been nearly two years since Matt Lauer was fired from his position at NBC News, and we’re now getting more details about the shocking circumstances that led to his departure. In his new book, journalist Ronan Farrow alleges that Lauer raped an NBC News colleague at the Winter Olympics in 2014.
In November 2017, Savannah Guthrie shared the news of Lauer’s firing on Today, reading a statement from the Chairman of NBC News, Andrew Lack. In the statement, Lack said that they had received a detailed complaint the night before, in which Matt Lauer was accused of sexual misconduct. Lauer was fired immediately, and though Lack and Guthrie promised transparency, we’ve never before had specific details around the complaint against Lauer.
Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, lifts the veil on what really happened, and the details are incredibly disturbing. He identifies former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils as the person who filed the complaint, as she comes forward publicly for the first time. Nevils spoke to Farrow about exactly what happened that led her to file the complaint. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she says that she was at the hotel bar with Today cohost Meredith Vieira, when Matt Lauer joined them. After that, she states that she went to Lauer’s hotel room two times, once to retrieve her press credential, which she says he took as a joke, and the second time when he invited her.
In the room, she says that he pushed her against the wall and kissed her, and then forcibly had anal sex with her, despite her declining several times. She also says that no matter what had happened, she was too drunk to consent anyway. Of this incident, Nevils says that “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” and “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
According to Nevils, they had multiple sexual encounters after that, but Nevils was always uncomfortable around Lauer. In Farrow’s book, Nevils says she “blames herself” for her relationship with Lauer, and that she was “terrified of the control Lauer had over her career.”
In the wake of the #MeToo movement that took off in late 2017, this situation sounds all too familiar, and while incredibly disgusting, it’s sadly not surprising that a man in Lauer’s position used his power to take advantage of a woman.
Thankfully, NBC News took Nevils’ complaint seriously and fired him on the spot, but the damage was done. In the NBC News statement about his termination, Lack said that they had “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” and there’s no telling how many women were targeted by Matt Lauer during his 23-year tenure at Today.
Here’s how Today anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie responded to the new allegations on the show this morning.
.@savannahguthrie and @hodakotb respond to new allegations about Matt Lauer pic.twitter.com/HsngSZd1NA
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 9, 2019
UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Matt Lauer issued a statement to Variety vehemently denying the new allegations of sexual assault. He acknowledges that he “had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014,” but claims that “each act was mutual and completely consensual.” He confirms that the incident the Sochi Olympics was their first sexual encounter, but accuses Nevils of fabricating “false details intended only to create the impression that this was an abusive encounter.”
In addition to denying the rape allegations, Lauer goes one step further, saying that “Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made. All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book.” Ah yes, the classic “she’s making up rape accusations for fame/money” excuse.
In his lengthy statement, Lauer repeatedly attempts to undermine Nevils’ credibility, citing specific encounters that she initiated during their relationship. He says that Nevils “was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner, “ and that “She also went out of her way to see me several times in my dressing room at work.” Nevils does not deny that she and Lauer had other sexual encounters aside from the alleged rape, but classifies them as “completely transactional” because of their power dynamics. In his letter, Lauer distances himself from Nevils professionally, saying that she “worked in a completely different part of the network,” and that he “had no role in reviewing Brooke’s work.”
In addition to denying the more disturbing details included in Ronan Farrow’s book, Lauer addresses his silence in the two years since his firing. He explains that he’s remained quiet in an effort to reduce the negative attention on his family, but he now feels that his silence “has been a mistake.” But while he says that his silence was a mistake, he apparently sees Nevils’ silence as something much more calculated. He accuses her of “making outrageous and false accusations to help sell a different book and stepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can.”
In the letter, Lauer goes into more details of the affair, and basically claims that Nevils is making up the assault in part because he ended their affair by way of ghosting. Again, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a woman was accused of making a false rape claim as revenge, and unfortunately I don’t think it will be the last. While it’s not surprising that Matt Lauer is denying the allegations, because every man always denies their rape allegations, it remains to be seen how this will play out in the #MeToo era. Read the full statement provided to Variety.
If you need help dealing with sexual assault or misconduct, go to RAINN.org, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE.
Images: Shutterstock; Todayshow / Twitter
And another sh*tty abuser bites the dust. CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves is leaving CBS after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Bye bitch!
Moonves (a.k.a. Harvey Weinstein Jr.) ran CBS for two decades, and was so powerful that it was a whole plot point in 30 Rock. (If you don’t remember the plot point, that’s as good an excuse as any to go rewatch all of 30 Rock immediately.) But back in August, Ronan Farrow (a.k.a. Journalist BAE) first published an exposé on Moonves in The New Yorker, in which multiple women accused the executive of unwanted touching and kissing. Since that apparently wasn’t enough to get people to do all that much about it, Farrow went ahead and dropped another bombshell exposé over the weekend, in which six new women came forward with even more serious allegations.
6 women raise new, more serious claims of sexual assault or harassment against Les Moonves and say the CBS board failed to hold him to account. Some board members were aware of an LAPD investigation into one claim of violent, forced oral sex since January: https://t.co/4JgM7OV6cw
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 9, 2018
In the new New Yorker story, multiple women allege that Moonves harassed them, exposed himself, and tried to ruin their careers if they turned down his advances. And one woman alleges that Moonves violently forced her to give him oral sex.
Moonves gave a statement to Variety, saying, “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. Effective immediately I will no longer be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS. I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company.”
As if all this wasn’t enough, another new report alleges that Moonves actively tried to ruin Janet Jackson’s career after her Super Bowl performance, so he can go to hell twice.
CBS announced that Moonves would not receive exit compensation, pending investigation, and said that it would give $20 million from any severance payments due to Moonves to organizations supporting the Me Too movement instead.
Naturally, everyone’s wondering what powerful man Ronan Farrow will take down next. *cough*THE PRESIDENT*cough*
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