Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week's most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: The Patron Dick of Lady Problems, Woody Allen, was profiled in The Guardian late last week, and the piece is predictably puffy. Straight outta the gate, we get this deranged dek: “The prolific director returns next month with Café Society and a TV series. Here, he talks exclusively about sex, antisemitism, the impact of that abuse allegation — and his dream of racing Usain Bolt.” I don't know who to blame for this — the writer? The entire Guardian? The entire continent of Europe? Satan? — but can we, as an international journalistic community, agree not to shove a child-molesting allegation next to “sex” and “a dumb thing about the Olympics meant to humanize an alleged child-molester?” Cool, cool.
Here are some choice pull-quotes from the interview, each of which is horrifying in its own special way.
• “He doesn’t think other towns are more fuelled by, say, sex or money or art? He twiddles his hearing aid to check he’s heard right. ‘Sex is the ultimate end. The ambition is so that they can fulfil their sexual drives; that’s what everybody is going for. This is what animals are. People are in a kind of meaningless jumble to recreate, and nobody knows why. The same woman who says, ‘People are terrible, life is awful, it’s sad, it’s short, nasty and meaningless’ still wants to have a couple of children. It defies any intellect. It’s strictly emotional.”
• “He twinkles through the specs, left eye a little awry these days, like a Woody Allen action doll that’s been dropped. He’s tiny. Some stars are shorter than you expect; he seems, literally, still inside the TV.”
• “I don’t believe in the Nietzschean notion that what doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger. You see these soldiers come back with PTSD; they’ve been to war and seen death and experienced these existential crises one after the other. There are traumas in life that weaken us for the future. And that’s what’s happened to me. The various slings and arrows of life have not strengthened me. I think I’m weaker. I think there are things I couldn’t take now that I would have been able to take when I was younger.”
• Regarding Dylan and Ronan's accusations: “I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity. That situation had been thoroughly, thoroughly investigated up and down the line by New York social services in a 14-month investigation. It had been investigated by Yale and conclusions were clear and I have no interest in that whole situation. I get harassed all the time on it. But it doesn’t affect me and I just have no interest in it.”
• “You can count on [your kids] until adolescence. You’re king in the house and you’re much needed and much loved and depended on. Once they start to come into their adulthood they start to feel their oats, then, all of a sudden, it’s a different story.”
• "Late-stage Woody Allen, then, is a man who gets through by playing ball, even if the sport is stacked against him. By disregarding the results and declining to dwell. ‘You’re probably happier in life if you can forget things,’ he advises.”
The Solution: The solution is, as always, to stop interviewing Woody Allen and hope that he shuffles off his mortal coil real fuckin' quick. Or to go back in time and try to make Woody Allen not born. Failing that, if you're going to interview Woody Allen — promote his work, help him make more money with which to help reeducate Soon-Yi and empower Blake Lively — you don't get the privilege of throwing him softball questions and gently skipping over the allegations of child molestation like they're little puddles of poo on an otherwise beautiful path. Sorry. It's not fun, and it's not pleasant, but you gotta throw a grenade at ol' Woody, blowing up future Woody Allen access (he's old as fuck anyway, so it's fine) in the name of refusing to be a cog in the Woody Allen machine that is slowly eating Miley Cyrus's soul. Relatedly, you really should not:
• Ask him about sex, just in general, for obvious reasons.
• Quote him at length about fulfilling his sexual drives — what in the actual fuck?
• Attempt to endear us to him by describing him as a “Woody Allen Action doll,” Jesus Christ.
• Let him describe how HE has responded, over time, to the difficulty of being accused of molesting a child. How is Dylan Farrow doing, over time, BTW? Should we check on her — oh wait.
• Quote him waxing rhapsodic without follow-up questions about how kids suck once they become adolescents.
• Spend a solid four paragraphs making him seem real cute because he likes some sports but not other sports and he really wants to race Usain Bolt isn't that adorable because he's old aw Woody what a cute li'l old guy.
• What is this shit about “getting through by playing ball even though the odds are stacked against him?” Girl, what?!
Again, the root Lady Problem is Woody Allen, but we certainly do not help matters by continuing to treat him like any other rickety 80-year-old. It's our responsibility as writers to make sure nobody forgets that he is a (alleged, blahblah) monster. Which is why I keep writing about him here, even though I never want to think about his twisted ass ever again.
The Lady Problem: Allow us to return to yet another recurring character in the Lady Problems canon, the nearly one-handed Johnny Depp. A few weeks ago, Depp and Amber Heard “resolved” the terms of their divorce settlement, with Depp agreeing to pay Heard $7 million and Heard promptly announcing that she'd donate that $7 million to charity, partly by way of proving to Depp's cacophonous MRA supporters that she didn't accuse Depp of abuse for the money. “As reported in the media, the amount received in the divorce was $7 million and $7 million is being donated,” said Heard in a statement. “This is over and above any funds that I have given away in the past and will continue to give away in the future. The donation will be divided equally between the ACLU, with a particular focus to stop violence against women, and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where I have worked as a volunteer for the past 10 years alongside organisations like the Art of Elysium.”
Because he is a petty cartoon pirate, Depp saw Heard's Generous Charitable Act/Tragically Necessary Image Rehabilitator and raised her one Underhanded Act of Spite. Instead of giving the money to Heard, Depp sent the cash straight to the charities. His rep told People, “Johnny Depp has sent the first of multiple installments of those monies to each charity in the name of Amber Heard, which when completed will honor the full amount of Ms. Heard's pledge. Ms. Heard's generosity in giving to these wonderful causes is deeply respected.”
Why does this matter, you ask? Because, as Heard's reps pointed out to The Daily Mail, this means Depp gets half the money back in tax breaks — and Heard gets exactly nothing. “If Johnny wishes to change the settlement agreement, we must insist that he honor the full amount by donating $14 million to charity, which after accounting for his tax deduction, is equal to his $7 million payment obligation to Amber,” said one of Heard's lawyers. They added that “not doing so would be a ‘transparent’ attempt by his legal team to relieve the financial burden on Depp.”
The Solution: To use an analogy that cuddly koala bear Woody Allen would understand, Depp is currently winning the Pettiness Olympics. Not only that, but he's somehow come out on top — financially and publicity-wise — in a situation that began and ended with photographic and video evidence of him being physically and emotionally abusive. Amber Heard, who did a brave and extremely difficult thing by reporting the alleged abuse, is poorer and drowning in Depp's endless ocean of bullshit as a result.
Both of this week's Lady Problems indicate the same thing: Powerful, famous, rich white men cannot be brought down, not really. The System — Hollywood, the judicial system, pick any system, really — is designed to make sure of this. We can throw sticks and stones at them for as long as we want, but we'll never, ever break their boners. That's not to say we shouldn't keep throwing, or stop urging each other to throw even when our arms get tired as hell (I'm looking at you, The Guardian)! Really, it's just to say: