From left: Ronan Farrow, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow.
It's an odd piece of writing: At one point in the 1,858-word essay, he refers to himself rhetorically — and confusingly — as "Mr. Allen." It's both an intensely emotional op-ed, the primary emotion being anger, and also an attempt to poke logical holes in his ex-partner Mia Farrow's version of the events of their ugly breakup. He also writes about the course of the legal case, and tries to use some of the same arguments that his documentary collaborator Robert Weide did in a recent, controversial Daily Beast story. For instance, Allen wonders, "Would a mother who thought her 7-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a molester (a pretty horrific crime), give consent for a film clip of her to be used to honor the molester at the Golden Globes?"
Surely people will compare Allen's version of events with Vanity Fair contributor Maureen Orth's "10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation," also posted Friday. Update: And now Dylan Farrow has issued a statement, calling Allen's column a "rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years."
In Allen's op-ed, he also calls into question the integrity of the New York Times and its columnist Nicholas Kristof, who posted Dylan Farrow's letter last Saturday and gave her a byline: "One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother?" And then: "There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan."
Here, though, is the oddest part to me. When writing about his estranged relationship with his and Mia Farrow's son Ronan, he inserts this paragraph:
"I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra's? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank's, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank's son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that."
Orth's Vanity Fair story last fall made headlines in part because Mia Farrow said that Ronan might not be Allen's biological son. She wrote, "I asked Mia point-blank if Ronan was the son of Frank Sinatra. 'Possibly,' she answered."
It's a detail that's both fascinating and scandalous. And I cannot for the life of me figure out what it has to do with Dylan Farrow's accusations toward her father or his defense of himself. Conducts her life…like what? Is Woody Allen really defending himself here by slut-shaming Mia Farrow? In the infidelity wars in this mess, no one is going to come out the winner — Allen cheated on Farrow with her daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
Allen's publicist, Leslee Dart, had her assistant email the New York Times link to media contacts. I have emailed her back asking for a comment about the relevance of Allen's point here and have not yet gotten a response.
What is clear is that this situation has reached its lowest ebb. Or at least we can hope it has.