Selena Gomez meets #MeToo

Singer and actress Selena Gomez, is at the center of backlash for partaking in “A Rainy Day in New York”, a film directed by Woody Allen, a Hollywood director with a history of sexual abuse allegations by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow.

Gomez, who was named Billboard’s “Woman of the Year” in 2017, auditioned for her role on the film a total of five times. However, one may ask, how could a woman with such a large platform, who time and time again denounces sexism and advocates for female empowerment, work with alleged abuser Woody Allen?

Not only is Selena soaring on the charts, but she continuously inspires young women everywhere to be authentic, give back and to not be afraid to use their voice,” said John Amato, president of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group. “She is never afraid to speak her mind and has used her platform to advocate for the needs of others.”

In 1993, Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against Allen filled headlines.

In an open letter published by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, Farrow recounted the times her father sexually abused her. She wrote the following of one of her earliest memories:

“…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. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”

“13 Reasons Why”, a Netflix show that Gomez co-produced alongside her mother, was centered around a girl who was sexually abused and ultimately ended her life. Making it very hypocritical for her to be working with an alleged sexual abuser.

Mandy Teefey, Gomez’s mother, even advised the actress not to work with Allen. However, she was unsuccessful in her attempt to deter her daughter from acting in the movie.

After much criticism from Gomez’s fans and others on Instagram, Teefey responded, “Sorry, no one can make Selena do anything she doesn’t want to do.”

In addition to this comment, Teefey came out publicly and admitted that she had a long talk with her daughter about “appearing in Allen’s projects.”

“Her [Selena’s] team are amazing people.” Teefey said. “There is no fall person here. No one controls her. She makes all her own decisions. No matter how hard you try to advise. It falls on deaf ears.”

Gomez’s co-stars Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Hall pledged to donate their salaries from “A Rainy Day in New York” to the Time’s Up movement and other charities in solidarity.

Gomez has yet to take a public stand against Allen. However, a close source told PEOPLE magazine that she made a “significant donation anonymously that far exceeded her salary for the film”.

On the day of the donation to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, Gomez expressed her support for the movement on Instagram.

She captioned her post, “It’s time to shift the balance in the workplace, from representing the few to representing us all.”

The backlash against Gomez was, and is, justified. As someone who empowers women, co-produced a show centered around abuse and suicide, and was Billboard’s “Woman of the Year”, I think people expect more from her to be an ally and advocate, not work with an alleged sexual abuser.