It seems unlikely that people might not be aware of this, due to the recently blitz of media coverage, but Woody Allen was publicly accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992, when she was just seven years old. Woody of course denied it, while Mia Farrow stood behind her daughter, a decision that has torn the family apart from within in the two decades since the alleged abuse.
There was a great deal of coverage surrounding the accusations at the time, but in the twenty-two years that followed, the information has remained largely under the radar, returning to the surface only this year, when Woody was honored with a tribute and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes, spurring Mia’s son Ronan Farrow to tweet:
Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 13, 2014
This, among other things, brought the matter back to public attention, as members of the family who had previously maintained their silence refused to do so any longer in the face of Woody receiving a tribute like that, or, in the opposite case, of seeing estranged family members speaking out against their father figure.
Because as I said earlier, Dylan’s story about her adopted father’s alleged assault –a story that she retold in a recent open letter – really did draw a dividing line down the middle of their family. Especially in light of that letter, some family members, like Mia and Ronan, stood behind Dylan…
I love my daughter. I will always protect her. A lot of ugliness is going to be aimed at me. But this is not about me, it’s about her truth.
— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 4, 2014
…while others have sided with their father, firm in their belief that Dylan made the story up herself or was coached by Mia to defame Woody after she discovered his sexual relationship with another of her adopted daughters, Soon Yi Previn. Soon Yi of course sides with Woody, having been married to him since 1997, and she’s joined in condemning Dylan’s accusations by their adopted brother Moses Farrow, now thirty-six and estranged from most of his family, who told People.
“My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister. And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi. Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him. The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces. My mother was conveniently out shopping. I don’t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible.”
Subsequent to the release of that quote, Dylan has responded:
“This is such a betrayal to me and my whole family. My memories are the truth and they are mine and I will live with that for the rest of my life. My mother never coached me. She never planted false memories in my brain. My memories are mine. I remember them. She was distraught when I told her. When I came forward with my story she was hoping against hope that I had made it up. In one of the most heartbreaking conversations I have ever had, she sat me down and asked me if I was telling the truth. She said that Dad said he didn’t do anything. and I said, ‘He’s lying.’”
And with all this back and forth between family members both estranged and supportive, the one person who has stayed conspicuously silent is Woody Allen, who hasn’t spoken for himself, but released the following statement through his representative:
“Mr. Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful. He will be responding very soon. In the meantime, it is essential that your coverage make the following facts clear: at the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court appointed independent experts. The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation; that Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality; and that Dylan Farrow had likely been coached by her mother Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed.”
I don’t know what actually happened, and there are only two people on the planet who ever truly will. But if I’m being honest, the person who has my support in this is Dylan Farrow. I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to argue with you about it — that’s just my opinion based on the information I have, and my heart goes out to her and her family.
(Photo: Joseph Marzullo / WENN.com)