Woody Allen has directed 46 films over the course of his career.
He has been nominated for 24 Academy Awards, and won four times.
He has been called a treasure of the cinema and was recently recognised with a lifetime achievement award.
And according to his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, he is also a child molester.
[W]hen 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. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.
In 1992, Dylan’s adoptive parents Mia Farrow and Woody Allen split. Their divorce happened in the wake of an affair between Allen and Soon-Yi Previn (Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter with composer Andre Previn).
At the same time, Farrow accused Allen of abusing Dylan. According to the Times, Acting Justice Elliott Wilk of State Supreme Court said then that, “it was unlikely that Mr. Allen could be prosecuted for sexual abuse based on the evidence,” and he was never charged with a crime. The newspaper continued, “While a team of experts concluded that Dylan was not abused, the judge said he found the evidence inconclusive.”
The controversy filled column inches upon column inches – but this open letter is the first time that Dylan herself has written about the accusations of abuse.
It’s the first time the story has been told in her own words. And it is shocking from beginning to end. Dylan continues:
For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. 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.
Once she told her mother, Mia Farrow, Dylan explains that a “firestorm” followed. She recalls being made to tell her story again and again to doctors involved in the legal battle between her parents; remembers people accusing her mother of “planting the abuse” in her head.
Dylan also makes reference to Woody Allen using “his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me”.
Dylan’s open letter has been published on the same day as the Writers Gild Awards, where Allen was nominated for best screenplay for Blue Jasmine (starring Australia’s Cate Blanchett). Blue Jasmine has also been nominated for three Oscar awards – and it seems to be this, which motivated Dylan’s letter.