HBO and HBO Max both premiered the first episode in the four-part documentary series Allen v. Farrow last weekend. In the series, filmmakers Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy dive into the accusations of sexual abuse against filmmaker Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with actress Mia Farrow, the custody trial that followed, and the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter Soon-Yi and the controversy that came with it. Since the series is quite the indictment of Woody Allen, HBO Max is taking heat for continuing to stream six of the director’s films.
After the first episode of Allen v. Farrow debuted on HBO and HBO Max this past Sunday, there was outcry on social media about the streaming service still providing access to Allen’s films. As Ernest Media Empire journalist Ernest Owens pointed out on Twitter, it seems rather hypocritical of HBO Max to keep streaming Woody Allen movies while simultaneously airing a documentary about his alleged sexual abuse. He wrote: “He’s collecting a check, while simultaneously getting exposed on the same platform. Gross.”
For their part, HBO Max released this brief statement addressing the situation (via The Wrap):
“These titles will remain available in the library to allow viewers to make their own informed decisions about screening the work.”
The six Woody Allen movies being referred to are Scoop, Broadway Danny Rose, Shadows and Fog, Radio Days, Another Woman, and September. Coincidentally enough, five of those six films in question happen to star Mia Farrow, which only stoked the flames of public outcry even more.
This kind of issue has been a complicated one for Hollywood to address. On one hand, you don’t want to support any names who have been accused of sexual harassment, abuse, assault, or misconduct. But at the same time, these projects are collaborative, and making them unavailable hurts more than just the fallen talent. There are countless professional artists who make movies and TV shows, and to hide their work based on the transgressions of a single person simply isn’t fair. It’s a tricky issue, and one that’s upsetting to think about and parse.
Thankfully, this complex issue is something that the filmmakers behind Allen v. Farrow will be addressing in the final episode of the series. In an interview with Variety, the trio was asked about this complicated issue, and Amy Ziering said:
“We talk about that in Episode 4; we go into depth about the decisions people have to make about consuming product. It is something that many people talk about struggling with. And that’s also why we want people to think and reflect on that. I think there’s a lot of art out there with complicated biographical backgrounds. We invite people to make their own decisions.”
Allen v. Farrow will continue to air the remaining three episodes on Sunday nights at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT, and the first episode is available to stream on HBO Max right now.