The word you’re looking for is, “enabler.”
In a recent interview with the L.A. Times, Vanessa Hudgens opened up about a number of topics, including her hopes for her career.
When asked who she would like to work with in the future director-wise, Vanessa gave a long list of famous men, including Woody Allen.
“I love Woody Allen films. Vicky Christina Barcelona is one of my favorite movies.”
“I don’t know him. I’ve never met him. I only know what I’ve heard. And the fact is, I love his films and I love the romantic worlds that are created within [them].”
Wow. Let’s break this down for a second.
Vanessa’s defense when asked why she included Allen despite the sexual abuse he committed against daughter Dylan Farrow was, “I don’t know him. I’ve never met him. I only know what I’ve heard.”
Yes, yes you do. You know what you’ve heard. You know very well that in 1992, Woody notoriously sexually abused his daughter Dylan. And that 27 years later, he’s never had to pay a day for his crimes.
So, essentially what Vanessa is saying is that she either doesn’t believe Dylan, or she just doesn’t care.
Perhaps Vanessa doesn’t want to think too much about it. After all, a Woody Allen film would certainly help her career.
But that’s exactly how enabling works. When people don’t want to have to choose a side, to take a stand, they allow people like Woody to continue living in the spotlight, making millions.
Because despite Dylan never wavering from her story, despite a babysitter testifying to seeing some shady shit, Woody has basically gone unscathed. He’s continued working with A-list actors and making hit movies.
It’s because of actresses, producers, and most of all, audiences, that Woody can continue to live his life unaffected.
And while yes, Vanessa is still earning her stripes as a dramatic actress and yes, it would be so much easier to turn a blind eye to a predator who could potentially skyrocket her career, there are plenty of extremely talented visionaries out there, many of whom haven’t sexually abused a 7-year-old girl, that she could work with instead.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical as Vanessa hasn’t actually been offered a role to work with Woody. But the sheer act of her saying that she would, that what Woody did to Dylan doesn’t matter, she’s sending a message to him and everyone else watching. She’s saying that sexual abusers get a free pass, that as long as you’re talented, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you’ve hurt.
Vanessa’s words are not so far off from what other actresses have said, particularly Scarlett Johansson, who has actually worked with Woody a number of times. It was only recently that Scarlett told Vanity Fair,
“I don’t know more than any other person knows. I only have a close proximity with Woody … He’s a friend of mine. But I have no other insight than my own relationship with him.”
It’s these wishy-washy responses, these non-answer answers, that allow people like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby to get away with what they did for decades. It’s when people willingly turn a blind eye that we not only allow but encourage this kind of behavior to continue.
Many like to claim that #MeToo was a reckoning but, in reality, it was just a whimper. Statements like Vanessa Hudgens’ and Scarlett Johansson’s prove that we are still so very, very far from where we need to be.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.