Stephen King Tweeted the Most Offensive Thing Possible About Dylan Farrow

Stephen King Tweeted the Most Offensive Thing Possible About Dylan Farrow

Updated: Feb. 5, 1:45 pm

When deciding how to craft the perfect Twitter reaction to public accusations of child abuse, a good rule of thumb is not to suggest that the alleged survivor is a bitch. 

Nevertheless, on Monday author Stephen King did just that when he weighed in on Dylan Farrow's harrowing New York Times essay, in which she chronicles her alleged sexual abuse by her father Woody Allen.


The tweet has since been deleted. King quickly proceeded to say he "probably used the wrong word" (no shit) and to ask for mercy — which is ironic, given that this is exactly what he failed to show towards Farrow.

King again copped to his error, which is a good thing. But his tweet is part of a much larger issue in how our culture has handled this situation and others like it. Women who come forward with allegations of abuse are frequently painted as unstable deviants whose accounts of assault are more often attacked than understood.

Think about what King was saying. Regardless of whether you believe that Allen is guilty or that Mia Farrow had a hand in encouraging false memories in the mind of her then 7-year-old daughter, the phrase "palpable bitchery" signifies that this woman spoke up for herself out of maliciousness and spite, rather than out of a desire for justice and healing. Dylan Farrow must live with these memories every day. So how can a vague, gendered notion of "bitchery" be used to undermine her words?

The exact language we use when approaching cases of alleged sexual abuse is incredibly important. Speaking out after sexual assault can be very, very painful. Frankly, it can be mortifying. And the messages society sends about how survivors will be perceived after the fact matter — especially considering that an average of 60% of rapes aren't even reported to the police. And of those that are reported, only 3% of rapists will go to jail for their crime.


Image Credit: RAINN

King is a superstar author with 300K Twitter followers. Dylan Farrow doesn't have a Twitter account. In fact, she doesn't even go by the name Dylan Farrow anymore. When it comes to the balance of power, both King — and Allen — have far more clout than does Farrow, before even taking into account the additional privileges surrounding credibility and rationality that their gender affords.

This is why we need to treat her with respect, even if we can't take what she says as irrefutable fact. Her story deserves to be heard and considered just as much as the many pieces that have been written defending Allen. Charges aren't being pressed, and this will likely fade again from public consciousness as Allen continues to make movies (and money). The fact that he was just honored with the lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes and had a film nominated for yet another Oscar this year (his 24th nomination) only goes to show that we've been willing to dismiss this woman for far too long.

But if her story is true, that means she's writing it for other survivors to take comfort in the fact that she did not stay silent, even when going against a beloved public figure that just as many have rushed to defend as have rushed to demonize. We owe it to her to listen — and at the very, very least, not to call her a bitch for telling her side of the story.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Julianne Ross

Julianne is the Opinion Editor at Mic. Her writing has also appeared in places like TheAtlantic.com, Boston.com, Everyday Feminism and Role Reboot.

MORE FROM

Everything means nothing to Arcade Fire on their cynical new album

On 'Everything Now,' the rock heavyweights joylessly wrestle with life on the internet.

In defense of Euron Greyjoy, the ‘Game of Thrones’ character you should love to hate

Euron's a different breed of villain for 'Game of Thrones': the unrelenting douche. And everyone's in on the joke.

What to watch when you’re not watching ‘Game of Thrones’

There's some good shows out there you might be missing, and also CBS's 'Zoo'.

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.

Everything means nothing to Arcade Fire on their cynical new album

On 'Everything Now,' the rock heavyweights joylessly wrestle with life on the internet.

In defense of Euron Greyjoy, the ‘Game of Thrones’ character you should love to hate

Euron's a different breed of villain for 'Game of Thrones': the unrelenting douche. And everyone's in on the joke.

What to watch when you’re not watching ‘Game of Thrones’

There's some good shows out there you might be missing, and also CBS's 'Zoo'.

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.