As Kate Winslet spoke about Woody Allen, Margot Robbie's face said everything.

“Woody Allen is an extraordinary writer.” These were actress Kate Winslet’s first words speaking on ‘The Envelope’ with the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. It was at this point that Margot Robbie’s face froze.

The 42-year-old British star was talking about her latest film, Wonder Wheel, written and directed by Allen, and her enthusiasm for his work was palpable.

“He’s obviously known for having created extraordinary roles, very very powerful and complicated roles for women, for many many years.”

She said working with him was a “privilege” and a “responsibility”, and that Allen himself was particularly excited about this project.

“Woody was very, very excited about this film. It’s set in Coney Island it’s where he’s from,” Winslet told the roundtable.

“I mean literally we were shooting on streets where he used to skip around and get ice cream as a little boy. And so I think his effervescence and enthusiasm really was quite infectious for everyone.”

Her calling him ‘Woody’ and sharing snapshots of his childhood worked to paint a glowing picture of the 82-year-old director. She couldn’t stop waxing lyrical about his expertise as an artist.

Margot Robbie Kate Winslet. Image via YouTube/LA Times.

It was a character assessment not one other person on the panel was willing to add to or buy into.


Fellow actresses Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Jessica Chastain looked on stony-faced. Robbie would eventually crack a smile, but only after Winslet's lengthy praise of Allen. For the most part, the 27-year-old Australian actress stared at Winslet with an emotionless air of skepticism - a skepticism we can all relate to.

Not skeptism of Winslet - don't be mistaken, Winslet is not the problem here - but simply because the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against Woody Allen are anything but 'glowing'. They also seem particularly potent in the current moment of Weinstein-triggered allegations.

Dylan Farrow, Allen's adopted daughter with actress Mia Farrow, in 1992 said her father was sexually assaulting her. She was seven at the time.

It was in the midst of a nasty custody battle and, after interviews and more interviews and psychology sessions and court appearances, the state's attorney in Connecticut finally said though there was "probable cause" to prosecute Allen on child sexual assault, they didn't want to traumatise Dylan further, The New York Times reports.

He never went to trial and, in 2014, when Allen received a Golden Globe award for lifetime achievement, Dylan spoke publicly about the pain she says her father caused her.

"When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house," Dylan wrote for The New York Times. "He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies."

"I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out."

LISTEN: The Mamamia Out Loud team unpack Salma Hayek's honest recount of her experiences with Harvey Weinstein. Post continues after audio. 

Dylan's allegations seem validated, in part, when you consider Allen went onto marry her sister Soon-Yi Previn - who Mia Farrow adopted with a former husband.

Allen was conducting the affair with Soon-Yi while he was still in a relationship with Farrow, who discovered what was happening when she found nude images of her then 21-year-old daughter in Allen's belongings in 1992. This led to the pair divorcing and also to Dylan's own revelations. Allen is 36 years Soon-Yi's senior.


Decades later, Dylan's brother Ronan Farrow would write a bombshell report for The New Yorker that would help end Weinstein's reign on Hollywood - and bring out more allegations against others.

So today, as Kate Winslet is sat snugly on a plush couch as part of a panel filled with women, her comments on Allen can't go unchecked.

And viewers certainly noticed.


This isn't the first time Winslet has defended the director, either. Speaking to the Times in September, she said she doesn't know if he's guilty of child molestation but: "Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. "

As allegations of sexual misconduct are continuing to emerge against heavyweights in Hollywood, separating the art from the artist is becoming increasingly difficult. And so it should be so.

For too long disgraced powerful men - like producer Harvey Weinstein; comedian Louis CK; filmmaker Brett Ratner; the list goes on - have used their 'art' as a way to not only hide their abuse, but enable it.

Yes, Winslet can admire Allen's characters, his work if she wishes. She is not the villain here. But context is important, for both holding abusers accountable and creating a safe, open space for the victims of sexual assault to come forward. Winslet has had countless opportunities to show herself as an ally to victims, and yet she has missed each one.

Propping powerful men up with praises and no questions is one of the ways we entered into this mess. The way we talk - and are expected to talk - about men in these positions needs to change. They have gotten away with hiding dangerous behaviour behind a dazzling control of the narrative for way, way too long.