Nolte: History will Damn Hollywood's Silence as Amazon Blacklists Woody Allen
Using lies to cover up lies, Amazon is blacklisting director Woody Allen, effectively destroying his career, and history will not look kindly on Hollywood’s refusal to stand up for him.
Hollywood loves to produce movies condemning the 1950s backlist. Even though those movies mostly tanked at the box office, they keep right on coming because Hollywood loves to thump its sanctimonious chest and scream “Never again!”
You see, in each of those movies you can sense today’s entertainment industry collectively wishing they had been around back then, because unlike their cowardly 1950s counterparts, THEY would have stood on the right side of history.
In fact, while watching any one of those mostly bad movies, what you sense above all is an industry desperate for the opportunity to prove itself, to fight a real cause, an important cause that would require as much sacrifice as bravery.
Well, be careful what you wish for because now that that same opportunity has indeed presented itself, where the hell are all of you?
Writer, director, multiple-Oscar winner Woody Allen — the filmmaker behind countless classics, an icon, a genius — is not only being blacklisted by the film industry, we also have a mega-corporate sponsor (Amazon) blacklisting Allen and his latest film, A Rainy Day in New York, which the company refuses to release.
Using lies, rumors, social blackmail, and a moral panic, an artist and his art are being disappeared.
Does any of this sound familiar?
In the 1950s there were some actual communists in the entertainment business, just as there are some actual sexual predators in today’s entertainment business.
In the 1950s, private corporations (movie and television studios) chose not to hire those tainted with the stink of communism, just as today’s private corporations are choosing not to hire those accused of a #MeToo offense.
In the 1950s, private individuals (directors, producers, actors) chose not to work with those tainted with the stink of communism, just as today’s directors, producers, and actors are choosing not to work with those tainted by a #MeToo allegation.
In the 1950s, sponsors (companies who made it possible to put a TV show on the air) refused to sponsor anyone tainted with communism, just like Amazon and #MeToo today.
But let’s not forget that today we rightfully look back on the 1950s witch hunt with shame, as the abomination it was, because innocent people were destroyed, not just over their political beliefs, but with lies — lies told by liars with axes to grind.
So now that this is exactly what is happening to Woody Allen, where the hell are they?
Where’s all that talent behind all of those self-righteous blacklisting movies? Where’s Robert De Niro, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., Jim Carrey, Bryan Cranston, Jay Roach, and Martin Scorsese…?
Where the hell’s Sean Penn? Meryl Streep?
Woody Allen is being blacklisted, not because anyone believes he molested his daughter some 30 years ago (two states not only found no evidence of this crime, they found him innocent of the allegation), he is being blacklisted only because we are living through yet-another witch hunt filled with moral cowards.
By accusing him of a #MeToo crime during a moral panic filled with the kind of false and spurious allegations that have already consumed Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush and comedian Aziz Ansari, those with personal axes to grind are pointing at Woody Allen and screaming today’s equivalent of COMMUNIST!
And it’s a lie. I’m sorry, but if you believe in the rule of law and common sense, if you believe in the presumption of innocence, evidence, facts, and the Constitution, it’s a big, fat proven lie. An un-American smear.
And Amazon knows it’s a lie so now these corporate blacklisters are hiding behind an even more absurd lie, a lie that should engender even more outrage, because Amazon is admitting it’s blacklisting Allen over his personal opinions and beliefs, for being “insensitive.”
This is objectively obscene to anyone who believes in artistic freedom, fairness, and the concept of free expression — but look at what we have on our hands again; a Hollywood that doesn’t have the moral courage to stand up, that once again refuses to do the right thing if it means risking a backlash in the industry or alienating a potential sponsor-employer like Amazon.
Yes, once again we have a Hollywood full of sniveling, selfish cowards no better than their 1950s counterparts. In fact, they’re worse because in movie after movie after movie they promised they would not allow it to happen again.
Actually, there is one decent movie about the 1950s blacklist, a great movie in fact, and ironically it stars Woody Allen.
In The Front (1976), Allen plays Howard Prince, a cashier and bookie in 1953 New York who fronts as a writer for a handful of blacklisted screenwriters. The witch hunt ends up being a huge blessing for the amoral Howard, and he revels in it. Suddenly all the trappings of fame, all the glamour and money are placed at his feet. The apolitical, mercenary coward is living the high life … until he’s accused of being a communist.
But if he plays along with the blacklisters, if he refuses to rock the boat, if he compromises a bit, if he sells out, if he goes along to get along, he’ll be allowed to return to his life of easy money and fame.
Instead, though, in a wonderful moment, Howard Prince finds his courage and tells the committee to “go fuck yourselves” before being hauled away in handcuffs.
Well, look at Hollywood today… Instead of every famous face in the industry picketing Amazon, they cower behind gilded gates.
History will, however, as it always does, sort this out and there’s no question the verdict will sound exactly like Howard Prince’s famous last words.
Shame on all of them.