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A few days ago, Dylan Farrow accused Woody Allen of sexually assaulting her as a seven-year old, calling out Hollywood stars for standing by the director in the process.

Since then, reaction has been swift and scattered.

Barbara Walters is defending Allen… Alec Baldwin is saying this is no one’s business… Lena Dunham is standing up for all sexual abuse victims.

Stephen King, meanwhile, is backtracking from a confusing, seemingly insulting Tweet.

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Asked for his thoughts on the situation, King wrote on Twitter last night night:


“Boy, I’m stumped on that one. I don’t like to think it’s true, and there’s an element of palpable bitchery there, but…”

Palpable bitchery? Was King shaming either Dylan Farrow or her mother, Mia? His initial response didn’t quiet the critics.

“Have no opinion on the accusations; hope they’re not true. Probably used the wrong word,” he wrote. “Still learning my way around this thing. Mercy, please.”

So, finally, after a day of being lambasted online, King took to Facebook and posted a far longer explanation of what he wrote and what he meant by it:

Those of you who follow Twitter will know that recently I managed to put my foot in my mouth and halfway down my throat. A good many people came away from my tweet about the Woody Allen controversy with the idea that I had called Dylan Farrow or Mia Farrow (or both) a bitch.

That wasn’t my intention, but the conclusion on the part of some readers is understandable. I used the wrong word to describe not Ms. Farrow—either Ms. Farrow—but a sad and painful mess. Some people seem to believe that writers never use the wrong word, but any editor can tell you that’s not true.

Those of you who have read my work—Carrie, Dolores Claiborne, Rose Madder, and Lisey’s Story, to name four—will know that I have plenty of respect for women, and care about the problems and life-situations they face. My single-mom mother faced plenty, believe me. And I have no sympathy whatever for those who abuse children. I wrote about such abuse—and its ultimate cost to the victim—in Gerald’s Game.

The maximum number of letters in a Tweet is 140. I think the following would fit: I apologize for screwing up.

Just know my heart is where it’s always been: in the right place