The adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow published a New York Times piece on Saturday titled “An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow,” in which she describes being sexually abused by Allen when she was 7.
“What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?” she begins.
“Before you answer, you should know: 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.”
She continues to describe in detail some of the inappropriate behavior she remembers from Allen:
I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.
The article comes a week after a friend of Allen’s, Robert B. Weide, wrote an article in The Daily Beast defending the director’s past, and three weeks after the Golden Globes honored Woody Allen with a lifetime achievement award.
At the Golden Globes, Emma Stone and Diane Keaton spoke about Allen, with Keaton claiming that he had a four-decade career of writing strong female characters.
“One hundred seventy-nine of the most captivating actresses have appeared in Woody’s films, because they wanted to,” she said.
Farrow addressed those who have stood up for and worked with Allen directly in the New York Times, writing:
What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
“The message that Hollywood sends matter,” Farrow writes. “Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.”
Updated — Feb. 2, 6:00 p.m ET:
Allen’s attorney Elkan Abramowitz sent Mother Jones the following statement on Sunday afternoon:
It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces after it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities. The one to blame for Dylan’s distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen.
Sony Pictures Classics, Allen’s longtime U.S. distributor who released his last several movies including the Academy Award-nominated films Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, said Sunday in a statement:
We have had a long, productive and rewarding relationship with Mr. Allen. This is a very complicated situation and a tragedy for everyone involved. Mr. Allen has never been charged in relationship to any of this, and therefore deserves our presumption of innocence.
A representative for Allen, Leslee Dart, said:
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.
Cate Blanchett also commented on Dylan’s open letter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The star of Allen’s Academy Award-nominated film Blue Jasmine stated: “It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some resolution and peace.”
Dylan’s brother Ronan Farrow tweeted his support for her shortly after Allen’s representative released a statement.
Update — Feb. 4, 11:00 p.m.: Mia Farrow tweeted in support of her daughter’s open letter.
Update 2/5, 1:08 p.m. ET: Dylan Farrow’s brother Moses has spoken out against her allegations in this week’s People magazine, siding with Woody Allen, who he was formerly estranged from.
“My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister,” he said. “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.”
Dylan Farrow also responded to her brother’s comments in the issue, which she said felt like a “betrayal.”
“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.’”
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