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Woody Allen
via Plataforma Feminista d'Asturies

The women campaigning to pull down Spain’s Woody Allen statue

Inspired by #MeToo and Dylan Farrow’s story, the Asturias Feminist Organisation are rejecting any shrine to the alleged sexual abuser

A bronze statue of Woody Allen stands in Oviedo, northwestern Spain – the town where the director filmed some of his movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Women in the region are now demanding that the statue of the alleged abuser be removed.

“This person doesn’t deserve a statue,” Eva Irazu Pantiga of feminist organisation Plataforma Feminista d’Asturies tells Dazed. “He has been accused of paedophilia. He’s undoubtedly a genius in his profession. But we think the genius can’t be more important than the person.”

The group’s campaign began back in November on International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, with a #YoTambien (#MeToo) march through Oviedo. The city is known for its multiple statues of notable people – many on the day had signs hung from their necks detailing others’ experiences of harassment and abuse.

“If we continue paying homage to Woody Allen and other men like him, we will be their partners in crime,” she adds. “We will be sending the message that their words are more credible and that the women’s testimonies are not.”

“If we don’t remove the statue, we’re saying to women and girls we don’t believe them. We’re saying that their denouncements are useless. Nobody will believe them, and nobody will help them. Their reputation will be exposed and destroyed.”

The statue was designed by Vicente Menéndez Santarúa, and has stood on the Calle Milicias Nacionales street since 2003. The group set up a petition that demands the statue that honours an “abuser and pervert” be removed, sent to the city’s recently developed equality committee. Authorities in Oviedo confirmed it would be discussed it an upcoming meeting.

Pantiga references Dylan Farrow’s activism and testimony about Allen – for years, Farrow has been an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, and detailed claims of assault perpetuated by her stepdaughter. Farrow, with the support of her mother Mia and brother Ronan, have been telling her account for decades. In 2014, she outlined the extent of the alleged abuse from the age of 7 in an open letter in the New York Times.

“We believe Dylan Farrow’s testimony,” Pantiga asserts. “Times are changing.”

As this happens, actors like Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Hall have announced that they will donate their salaries from Allen’s upcoming film A Rainy Day in New York to the Time’s Up initiative. Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig recently spoke out about never working with Allen again.

“A society that believes in equality can’t tolerate abuses under the excuses or the reputation of the aggressor – the tourist attraction, or the cost of removing an statue,” Pantiga adds. She says that “small gestures” and “investments” like the removal of the statue will break down systemic abuse and inequality.

If you wish to contribute to grassroots organisations working with survivors of sexual violence and abuse you can donate to RAINNRefuge or Women’s Aid