Reconsidering television true crime and gendered authority in Allen v. Farrow
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 19:15 authored by Tanya Horeck, Diane Negra
This essay examines how the 2021 HBO docu-series Allen v. Farrow destabilizes a “he said/she said” framing of historic child sex abuse accusations against Hollywood auteur Woody Allen. Joining a number of other recent docu-series on celebrity sexual abuse cases, Allen v. Farrow repurposes the long-form true crime structure to focus sustained investigative attention on sexual violence as a crime that demands social justice. Refuting charges that the piece is “biased” against Allen, the essay argues that Kirby Dick’s and Amy Ziering’s four-part true crime investigative series is in fact designed to interrogate the notion of “communicative injustice”. In its support of Dylan and Mia Farrow’s voices, the docu-series challenges the cultural logics of “bothsidesism” and reveals how a misogynistic media culture enabled a gendered cultural narrative that silenced Dylan and painted her mother as a scorned and vengeful woman. As part of a wider cultural turn toward re-evaluating gender roles of the 1990s, Allen v.Farrow invites reflection on the gendered cultural logic that saw a child-exploiting midlife female vendetta as a more intelligible cultural script than male child sexual abuse.
Publication titleFeminist Media Studies
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- Accepted version