Spike Lee Apologizes for Defending Woody Allen from Backlash: 'My Words Were Wrong'

Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen's daughter who accused him of sexual abuse, later thanked Spike Lee for making the apology

Spike Lee, Woody Allen
Spike Lee and Woody Allen. Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty; Carlos Alvarez/Getty

Spike Lee is walking back his public support of Woody Allen.

Speaking with the WOR radio show In the Morning on Friday, the Da 5 Bloods director, 63, addressed industry backlash against Allen, 84, who was accused of sexual abuse by his daughter Dylan Farrow.

"I'd just like to say Woody Allen is a great, great filmmaker, and this cancel thing is not just Woody," said Lee. "When we look back on it, we are going to see that you can't just erase someone like they never existed."

Lee added: "He's a friend of mine and I know he's going through it right now."

After fans shared disappointment in Lee for defending the controversial Oscar winner, Lee issued a statement on Twitter, clarifying that he does not condone sexual harassment, assault or violence — but conspicuously failing to accuse Allen of any of those things.

"I Deeply Apologize. My Words Were WRONG. I Do Not And Will Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment, Assault Or Violence," he wrote. "Such Treatment Causes Real Damage That Can't Be Minimized.-Truly, Spike Lee."

Dylan soon retweeted the apology, thanking Lee for changing his stance.

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In 2017, Allen faced resurfaced allegations of abuse by his daughter Dylan, now 34, who claimed in a New York Times open letter in 2014 that Allen molested her as a child.

Allen has long denied the allegations, which were first reported during his explosive 1992 split from Mia Farrow, with whom he also shares sons Moses and Ronan. The director was not charged, though a Connecticut prosecutor said there was probable cause for a criminal case.

In an interview with The Guardian last month, Allen called out his Hollywood peers who spoke out about him and distanced themselves from him. The Midnight in Paris filmmaker said it became trendy to criticize him.

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"It’s silly. The actors have no idea of the facts and they latch on to some self-serving, public, safe position. Who in the world is not against child molestation?" he said. "That’s how actors and actresses are, and [denouncing me] became the fashionable thing to do, like everybody suddenly eating kale."

"I assume that for the rest of my life a large number of people will think I was a predator," Allen added. "... Anything I say sounds self-serving and defensive, so it’s best if I just go my way and work."

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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