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No End in Sight for Woody Allen Scandal

Published February 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

Few filmmakers are more celebrated professionally than Woody Allen. His status as an auteur of neuroses is essentially nonpareil, a position highlighted by the sheer volume of accolades he’s accrued over his decades in the industry: Allen has four Oscars, nine BAFTA awards and two Golden Globes. Recently, however, the social media conversation surrounding him has had little to do with the films he’s helmed, and more to do with allegations of prior misdeeds.

Misdeeds, in fact, which predate the internet, presenting a unique glance at how scandals unfold differently in a post-social media age. One of the primary differences is in the way that news stories are covered these days. In the present, there’s a new level of meta-analaysis: media report on media reports, and the fact that something has become a talking point is fodder enough for still more coverage.

It’s in this storm that Allen finds himself, and which will likely cloud his legacy for years to come. Simon Dumenco, writing for Ad Age, described this kind of content.

“[It’s] content that regenerates itself, that spins one way or another based on whatever various commentators said in their last tweets, in their last posts, in their last soundbites. It’s a social-media-driven story that never ends, that offers no closure, or promise of closure, ever,” he explains.

What this means is that people have to more careful about their image forever, and much more savvy about how they navigate an increasingly treacherous digital landscape. Once scandalous grist finds its way into the news mill, the end product is unlikely to be anything except messy.

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