Saturday, February 23, 2019

Woody Allen Yet Again, A Sidebar Comment

First this:

Then me:

....I agree with you that Allen’s films ought be separable from the allegations against him of child abuse. For some that will require the passage of more time on the idea that “time heals all wounds,” (well, not all but for sure most of them.)

But I do want to quarrel just a little with your careful evenhandedness over the allegations. I say that on this score more boldness is in order. 

The test in most civil litigation is the balance of probabilities, or more likely than not, which at a mimimim numerically is 51 out of 100. A civil court finding of no liability means that for it, having seen and assessed all the probative evidence, it is more likely than not that Allen didn’t do anything wrong, which is to say, the balance of probabilities weighs in his favour. 

It’s trite and is an epistemic truism that ultimately we can never know what happened: but that’s true of nearly every “he said/she said” type of allegation where no “smoking gun” exists. So what’s the point of trotting it out yet again? Why not better say something like, “The judge of all evidence adduced in court found it more likely than not that Allen was falsely accused.” Btw, that evidence included this—you’ll forgive me for quoting Wikipedia:

....On August 17 the Connecticut State Police announced that they were investigating the assault allegation.[44][45] Frank Maco, the Connecticut State's Attorney for the Litchfield district, asked the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of Yale–New Haven Hospital to evaluate whether Dylan would make a viable witness.[51][12] Consisting of two social workers, a nurse and Dr. John M. Leventhal, a pediatrician, the Yale–New Haven team interviewed Dylan, Dylan's psychologist, Allen, Farrow, their domestic staff, and others.[52][53] Leventhal signed the team's report, while Dylan was interviewed by the social workers.[53][12] Completed in March 1993, the report went beyond its brief, concluding: "It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen".[c]Its conclusion was based, in part, on the view that Dylan had difficulty telling a consistent story and suffered from "thought disturbances".[52][54][d] ...

So, again, my point on what is admittedly a side bar to your core argument is that we needn’t be so delicately even handed in mincing around the issue of Allen’s culpability. Again, we can say something like, “According to the most assiduous and disinterested assessment of all the relevant evidence, the probability is that Allen never did anything wrong.”...

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