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Why so many women are disappointed in Kate Winslet and J.K. Rowling right now.

At the end of November, journalist Jenny Cooney Carrillo asked Kate Winslet about the nature of working for Woody Allen.

“I think on some level Woody is a woman,” Winslet replied, as published in The Sydney Morning Herald. “I just think he’s very in touch with that side of himself. He understands the female characters he creates exceptionally well. His female characters are always so rich and large and honest in terms of how they’re feeling and he just knows how to write dialogue for them to communicate all that.”

As far as accidental media storms go, this was a shit-show. Of course, insinuating Woody Allen knows women better than anyone else is an interesting point to go public with, given the allegations of sexual assault that shroud his reputation.

More specifically, Winslet’s comments sit uncomfortably beside accusations that the director sexually abused his then step-daughter Dylan Farrow when she was just seven years old. Allen denies the claims.

Some months earlier, in September, she was also asked about working with Allen on Wonder Wheel.

“Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person… Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”

Polanski, it should be noted, was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1978, but never faced trial after fleeing the US.

While Winslet was on her press tour for a film that was punctuated by raised eyebrows and questions of complicity, J.K. Rowling found herself the centre of an equally as passionate PR disaster.

Why did the author keep accused domestic abuser Johnny Depp – of which there is footage detailing the extent of some of the abuse his ex Amber Heard experienced – in the role of Grindelwald for the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sequel? Why wasn’t he re-cast?

“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role,” Rowling responded on Twitter to the furore.

“However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.

“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting.

“I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee.

Images: Getty.
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"Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing."

In the curious cases of the complicit women, why was the 'right' thing also the wildly controversial thing to do? Why was the right thing standing on the side of a man?

Of course, in a climate where sexual harassment is being taken seriously, but where court of public opinion has very real limitations, there are undercurrents of concern: How can we believe all women, when all women might not be telling the truth?

For Winslet, Allen was never found guilty. For Rowling, well, she did 'think' about re-casting him. Isn't that enough?

But for centuries we've given men the benefit of the doubt, and not afforded the same right to women. For a long time we've chosen to maintain the status quo and protect men's positions because it's easier.

At the crux of the current, revolutionary wave of believing women is the decision to turn the tables, just for a little while, to encourage other women to come forward with their experiences. Come forward, we're telling them, because we will believe you. We won't ignore you. We won't dismiss you. We won't go on pretending like nothing happened.

So today, as their names dominate the news cycle, some women are furious at Winslet and Rowling - two women who have so much power.

Because we don't want enablers, we want allies.

Then again, as disappointing as it is, we tend to direct a disproportionate share of our emotions towards women. Even if Winslet and Rowling are 'protecting' abusive men, why is our anger not more strongly aimed at those men? Why is it a woman's job to police the behaviour of the men around her?

We question the women in Woody Allen's orbit, but what about the men? We question J.K. Rowling about Depp's role in Fantastic Beasts, but why not the director, David Yates?

Yes, it's silence from men and women which keeps predatory or abusive men confident in their ability to plead innocence.

Confident in their claims of never doing anything wrong.

2017 is the year we lost all patience for the complicit. But in doing so, did we lose perspective of where the wrongdoing really lies?

Listen: Why the world is starting to stand up to sexual harassment at the hands of some very powerful men.