Woody Allen sexual assault allegation

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In August 1992, the American film director Woody Allen was accused by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, then seven years old, of having sexually assaulted her in the home of her adoptive mother, the actress Mia Farrow, in Bridgewater, Connecticut.[1] Allen has repeatedly denied the allegation.[2][3]

When the allegation was made, Mia Farrow and Allen had been in a 12-year relationship and had three children together: two adopted children, Dylan and Moses, and one biological son, Satchel (now known as Ronan Farrow).[1] The assault is alleged to have taken place eight months after Farrow learned that Allen had been having an affair with another of her adoptive daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, who married Allen in 1997; Previn was a first-year undergraduate and 21 years old when Farrow found out about the relationship.[4] Allen alleged that the affair prompted Mia Farrow to concoct the assault allegation as an act of vengeance.[3] The Connecticut State's Attorney investigated the allegation but did not press charges,[5] and the New York Department of Social Services found "no credible evidence" to support it.[6] In response to the allegation, Allen sued Farrow for sole custody of Dylan, Satchel and Moses.[7] He lost the case in June 1993; the judge concluded that the allegation of sexual abuse had not been proven.[8] Visitations with Dylan were suspended for six months until the girl recovered from what she had suffered so far,[9] gave him limited, supervised visitation with Satchel, and allowed Moses, a teenager, to decide for himself.[10][11] The decision was upheld on appeal in 1994[12] and 1995.[13]

Dylan Farrow has repeated the allegation several times as an adult, although with important modifications with respect to the original narration of 1992 as it was described by Mia Farrow.[14][15] Her first public comment was in an interview with Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in 2013,[16] followed by an open letter in the New York Times in 2014,[17] and a Los Angeles Times op-ed in December 2017.[18] Woody Allen has also spoken publicly about the allegations, in an interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning in a New York Times op-ed[3] and in 2018 with a statement to CBS, denying the allegation in both.[19]

Background[edit]

Allen and Farrow[edit]

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow began a 12-year relationship in 1980, during which Farrow starred in 13 of Allen's films.[16] They maintained separate apartments in Manhattan throughout the relationship—Farrow on Central Park West[20] and Allen on Fifth Avenue—and did not marry; they had both been married twice.[21]

When the relationship began, Farrow had seven children: three biological sons from her marriage to composer André Previn; three adopted girls (two Vietnamese and one Korean, Soon-Yi Previn); and one adopted Korean boy, Moses.[21][22] In July 1985 she adopted a baby girl, Dylan, from Texas. Allen was not involved in the adoption, but when Dylan arrived he assumed a parental role toward her and began spending more time in Farrow's home. He and Farrow went on holiday to Europe several times with the Farrow–Previn children between 1987 and 1989, although the judicial investigation concluded that "He remained aloof from Ms. Farrow's other children except for Moses, to whom he was cordial."[23] In December 1987 Farrow gave birth to Allen's biological son, Satchel (later known as Ronan Farrow).[24] Farrow wanted to adopt another child in 1991; Allen said he would not take "a lousy attitude toward it" so long as she agreed to his adoption of Dylan and Moses,[23] and in October that year she adopted another Vietnamese child.[a] Allen's adoption of Dylan and Moses was finalized on December 17, 1991.[23]

External images
On holiday, Leningrad, 1987
Left to right: Ronan, Lark, Woody Allen, Dylan, Fletcher, Daisy, Soon-Yi Previn, Moses, and Mia Farrow.
Allen, Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn, c. 1987.

According to her testimony during the custody trial, Farrow became concerned about Allen's behavior around Dylan in 1987–1988. She reportedly told Allen that he was paying too much attention to Dylan and failing to give her "breathing room". He had allegedly read to Dylan while in his underwear, allowed her to suck his thumb, and would sit on her bed in the morning waiting for her to wake up.[23][25][1] Farrow would later testify that she found Allen's relationship with Dylan at this time "relentless and overpowering" and said it had "a wooing quality",[26] However, in 1990 Mia Farrow changed her will so that in the event of her death the care and custody of her minor children (Dylan, Satchel and Moses) would be left to Allen [27] and in 1991 she made an affidavit to the judge to promote the adoption of Dylan and Moses by Allen praising especially the qualities of Allen as Dylan's father: "Mr. Allen is a loving, caring, attentive parent to Dylan and she can only benefit from having him as an adoptive father".[28] Farrow also told her therapist that she feared Woody "would abuse Satchel", and that she also worried that Allen had a sexual relationship "with another man".[26] On one occasion, Dylan allegedly locked herself in the bathroom for four hours when he arrived; Allen had an employee pick the lock with a coat hanger.[25] The family psychologist, Dr. Susan Coates, witnessed some of Allen's behavior and testified during the custody trial in 1993 that she did not see it as sexual, but as "inappropriately intense because it excluded everybody else".[4][29] Allen said later that he had paid extra attention to Dylan to compensate for the time Farrow was spending with the newborn, Satchel.[12] According to Maureen Orth, he agreed in 1990 to discuss the issue in therapy sessions,[1] however, the therapist Dr. Coates, stated at the trial that Woody Allen was not in therapy with her and that both parents were part of the children's therapy. Woody Allen wanted to improve as a father, but he was not in therapy for inappropriate behaviors with Dylan.[30]

Relationship with Previn[edit]

In or around 1991 Allen began an affair with Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. According to Allen, it began in late December 1991.[31] In August 1992 Mia Farrow told her lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, that Soon Yi had acknowledged by talking to her that the relationship between Allen and Soon Yi had begun on December 1, 1991.[32] Later she said it began while Previn was in her final year of high school, which ended in June 1991. She alleged that Dylan saw Allen and Previn on the bed together in the summer or autumn of 1991.[25] The appeal Court Ruling found that the sexual relationship between Allen and Soon Yi began in December 1991.[33] One point of contention has been how old Previn was at the time. When Farrow and André Previn adopted her from Seoul in 1977, the Seoul family court gave her a "presumptive birth date" of October 8, 1970; she had been abandoned and was living in that city's St. Paul's Orphanage.[b] According to Farrow, the family regarded her date of birth as October 8, 1972,[4] although the first reaction of the nanny Kristi Groteke when in May 1992 Mia Farrow told her that Woody Allen had had a relationship with Soon Yi was to remember that she was a 21-year-old woman.[36] The timing of the affair became an issue in part because Farrow attempted, unsuccessfully, to have Allen's adoption of Dylan and Moses declared void after the molestation allegation, on the grounds that his affair with Previn had begun before the adoptions were finalized on December 17, 1991.[37]

During her final year of high school, Previn told Allen that she wanted to be a model; he advised her how to dress and arranged for professional photographs to be taken.[1] She reportedly asked if she could accompany him to a basketball game, and after attending several together, they became closer.[38][23] Their affair came to light on January 13, 1992, when Farrow found nude Polaroid photographs of Previn on the mantel in Allen's home.[4][39] Previn was by then in her first year at Drew University in New Jersey.[1] Allen, then 56, told Farrow that he had taken the photographs the day before, and that he and Previn had first had sex in the last week of December 1991.[31][37] Allen told the custody trial in 1993 that he regarded the images as erotic, but not pornographic; the appellate court said that it did not "share Mr. Allen's characterization" of the photographs.[12]

Although the discovery shocked the family, Farrow did not stop Allen from visiting her home,[16] and she completed her work on Husbands and Wives (1992), the last film of his in which she appeared.[40][41][42] According to Farrow, Allen said his relationship with Previn was over;[16] she alleged that Allen asked her to issue a joint press release, in response to rumors about the relationship, in which she would confirm there was nothing between Allen and Previn, but she refused to do it.[43] She was hurt and angry,[29] but nevertheless adopted two more children that month: Tam, a blind Vietnamese girl, and Isaiah Justus, an African-American baby boy.[1]

Allen and Previn remained in contact; in July 1992 she lost her job as a summer-camp counselor in Maine after spending too much time on the telephone with a "Mr. Simon", who turned out to be Allen.[23] Allen says that when he visited Connecticut to celebrate Dylan's birthday, Farrow left a note on a door in which she called him a "child molester".[44] On 1 August 1992, according to the testimony of Dr. Susan Coates, Farrow telephoned Dr. Coates to say she had learned that Previn and Allen were still in a relationship; Farrow was distressed and told Coates that, just a week earlier, she and Allen had talked about getting married; "Ms. Farrow described Mr. Allen as "satanic and evil," Dr. Coates said, adding that Ms. Farrow pleaded with her to "find a way to stop him.".[29] Allen publicly announced his relationship with Previn on 17 August 1992. Soon Yi said later that month that Woody Allen had never been a father figure to her, and that they had become friendly only after his romance with Mia Farrow had ended.[45] As Allen and Mia Farrow had never gotten married, and as Allen had never adopted Soon-Yi, their relationship was not illegal.[46] Previn and Allen's relationship did continue, and they were married in Venice on December 23, 1997.[47]

Allegation[edit]

On August 4, 1992, Allen visited his children at Farrow's country home in Bridgewater, Connecticut, while Farrow and a friend went shopping with the two most recently adopted children, Tam and Isaiah.[1] Farrow and Allen had been due on August 6 to sign an agreement that Allen would pay $6,000 a month for the support of Dylan, Satchel and Moses,[1] although Martin Weltz, lawyer of Mia Farrow, said that on August 4 Mia Farrow called him on the phone, suspending the processing of the agreement.[48]

Present in the house, once Farrow had left, were Dylan and Satchel; Farrow's babysitter, Kristie Groteke; the children's French tutor, Sophie Berge; Farrow's friend's three children; and Farrow's friend's babysitter, Alison Stickland. When Mia Farrow left the house, Moses was "off by himself taking a walk", according to her, but he says he was already in the house when Allen arrived.[49][50] The day after the visit, Stickland told her employer that she had seen Allen kneel on the floor in front of Dylan, then aged seven, with his face in her lap turned toward Dylan's body; she testified to that effect during the custody trial.[51] (The judge, after hearing the full testimony of Alison Stickland, did not believe that she was describing any kind of abuse or inappropriate behavior) [11] Farrow asked Dylan about it, Dylan allegedly described what had happened and said she had not liked it; Farrow telephoned her attorney for guidance and was advised to take Dylan to her local pediatrician. Farrow took Dylan to Dr. Vadakkekara Kavirajan, the regular paediatrician for Farrow's children, where the girl did not make any allegation of abuse. Prior to the next visit, Farrow videotaped Dylan's answers to her questions "in fits and starts" and in a way that "set a tone for a child about how to answer" according to the expert hired by Farrow herself,[52] and[53] Dylan told Farrow that she had been with Mr. Allen in the attic and that he had touched her private parts.[54][23][1] Day 6 they returned to the pediatrician where Dylan repeated the allegation; Dr. Kavirajan then informed authorities, although he said he found no physical evidence of sexual assault.[55][56][57] Dr. Kavirajan would later tell an interviewer that he was "required by state law" to report any allegations of child abuse.[57] Dr. Susan Coates informed Allen of the allegation during one of the sessions in which he participated in Satchel's therapy; he responded "I'm completely flabbergasted," repeating it several times.[29]

Legal action[edit]

Custody proceedings, statements[edit]

On August 13, 1992, a week after being told about the allegation, Allen began proceedings in New York Supreme Court for sole custody of Dylan, Moses, and his and Farrow's biological son, Satchel.[7] Farrow's mother, the actor Maureen O'Sullivan, issued a statement on August 15 that was critical of Allen and said that Farrow had retained Alan Dershowitz.[58] Two days later, Allen released his first public comment about his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn: "Regarding my love for Soon-Yi: It's real and happily all true. She's a lovely, intelligent, sensitive woman who has and continues to turn around my life in a wonderfully positive way."[59][60]

On August 18 Allen held a news conference at the Plaza Hotel. Calling the molestation allegation "an unconscionable and gruesomely damaging manipulation of innocent children for vindictive and self-serving motives," he alleged that, during a meeting on August 13, Farrow's lawyers had demanded $5–8 million hush money.[61][62] Dershowitz responded that the lawyers had suggested Allen pay a lump sum in child support, rather than a monthly one, to reduce Allen's interaction with Farrow. It would be $17.000 a month until each child reach the age of 21, $900.000 for College tuition and $ 2,500,000 for Mia Farrow herself as compensation for her loss of income for the next 10 years. Allen's lawyers declared that Farrow's proposal was that in exchange for the money she would drop the charges of sexual abuse, Dershowitz flatly denied this possibility and noted that he was trying to reach an agreement that would allow the matter not to be made public and convince the Connecticut police that it was best not to intervene and "decriminalize" the case, but that the proposal was completely separate and independent of the economic proposal. [63][64][65] On August 20 Allen's publicist announced that Allen had passed a lie detector test.[41] The following day, Allen gave an interview to Walter Isaacson of Time magazine, describing the nude photographs of Previn as a "lark of a moment". Of the affair, he said: "I didn't feel that just because she was Mia's daughter, there was any great moral dilemma. It was a fact, but not one with any great import."[38][66]

On the weekends of the fall of 1992, the police interviewed Dylan with anatomical dolls. The last of the interviews took place on December 30, 1992, and in the course of the same Dylan inserted the penis of the male doll in the vagina of the female doll. When the police asked her why she knew that the dolls fit like that, she narrated that during the summer her brother Satchel and she had witnessed how Woody Allen introduced his penis into Soon Yi's vagina. "Daddies do not do this," she told police, according to the statement. "Daddies are not supposed to act like boyfriends."[67][68][69]

This disclosure was made by Eleanor Alter in the course of the court hearing in which they treated the right of visits in favor of Woody Allen that would govern during the processing of the procedure. The session was suspended due to the seriousness of the allegation.

The Yale New Haven team had finished interviewing Dylan on November 13[70] and one of the aspects they had explored was the relationship between boyfriends and girlfriends. In November 1992 that relationship consisted for Dylan in "kisses and hugs."[71] The judicial investigation concluded that the sexual relationship between Soon Yi and Allen began in December 1991.[12] Allen declared that the allegation was not true because it was months before his relationship with Soon Yi started[69] and "I think that when Mia needs something, she takes our daughter and makes her say it."[72]

Allen and Farrow reached an agreement through which Allen resigned to begin visits with Dylan immediately in exchange for Mia Farrow providing a therapist to the child.[73]

Yale–New Haven Hospital team[edit]

On August 17 the Connecticut State Police announced that they were investigating the assault allegation.[59][60] In September Dylan was referred to the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of Yale-New Haven Hospital. The referral was made by the Connecticut State Police and the main questions were: "Is Dylan telling the truth, and did we think that she was sexually abused?"[70][8] Maco, the Connecticut State's Attorney for the Litchfield district, declared in 1997 that he asked the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of Yale–New Haven Hospital to evaluate whether Dylan would make a viable witness.[74][16] The professionals of the Clinic met with the police and the prosecutor, Frank Maco, for preliminary information. They collected more information from one of the detectives, John Mucherino, to handle all the data that the police had. Between September 18 and November 13, they conducted a total of nine separate interviews with Dylan and her mother, Mia Farrow. On October 14, they interviewed Dylan's nanny Kristi Groteke and between November 17 and January 7 they had three interviews with Woody Allen. Finally, they met with Mia Farrow to review the recording she had made of Dylan between August 5 and 6. Sophie Berge, the other nanny present on August 4 was also interviewed, and the two psychotherapists treating the children, Dr. Coates and Dr. Stcuhtz.[75][76] Leventhal signed the team's report, while Dylan was interviewed by the social workers.[76][16] Completed in March 1993, the report concluded: "It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen."[c] The team proposed the study as an attempt to corroborate or falsify some of these basic hypotheses:

  1. That the Dylan allegations were true and Allen had sexually abused her.
  2. That the manifestations of Dylan were not true and had been made by an emotionally vulnerable minor trapped in a disturbed family situation and who responded to stress
  3. That she had been taught or influenced by her mother.

The Team members were the medical director of the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic since its foundation, Dr. Johm M. Leventhal,[77] Dr. Julia Hamilton, who was also social worker and co-director of the Yale Medical Center Child Abuse Program,[78] and Social Worker Ms. Sawyer, who had a masters in Social Work and ten years of experience. The social workers met Dylan in Yale New Haven every Friday for an hour or so. Kristi Groteke was interviewed for three hours.[79] Maureen Orth stated that Its conclusion was based, in part, on the view that Dylan had difficulty telling a consistent story and suffered from "thought disturbances,"[56] according to the report itself, the important inconsistencies in Dylan's statement, the lack of spontaneity and the impression of repeating something learned are the main reason for the conclusions.[70] The report also stressed that Dylan felt that she had to solve her mother's problems[79] and indicated that the relationship between Mia Farrow and Dylan and Satchel was very disturbed and required immediate intensive psychotherapy.[71] The team destroyed the original notes at the time of incorporating its content into the report.[56][75] The report was immediately sent to the state police who had commissioned it, who informed Mia Farrow the same and two days before Woody Allen was informed.[80] Maco told a reporter in 1997 that Yale "took the case and ran away with it."[74]

Custody trial[edit]

Testimony[edit]

The custody hearings began on March 19, 1993, in State Supreme Court in Manhattan,[39] and ended on May 4.[81] Journalists were allowed in court but not with television cameras or microphones.[82] Taking the stand on the first day, Allen said the allegation was Farrow's vengeance for his affair with Soon Yi-Previn, which he had not intended to be "anything but a private thing"; he had hoped Farrow would not find out about it. He described her anger when she did.[39]

New York State Supreme Courthouse

Kristie Groteke,[83] Farrow's babysitter, testified in April that for about 15–20 minutes on the afternoon in question, she had not been able to find Dylan or Allen in the house; she had assumed they were outside with the other children.[23] Allen said he had gone to the bathroom during the disputed period.[51] The children's French tutor, Sophie Berge, testified that she had noticed Dylan had been wearing no underwear under her dress that day.[23][76][4] Another Farrow-household nanny, Monica Thompson, who was not present in the house on that day, told Allen's lawyers in two affidavits in February 1993 that she had felt pressured by Farrow to support the allegation.[84][85] Thompson said that Groteke had also had reservations; according to Thompson, Groteke told her, days after the allegation was made, that she "did not have Dylan out of her sight for longer than five minutes. She did not remember Dylan being without her underwear."[84][4] Groteke acknowledged that she had had that conversation, although she only admitted to telling Thompson that she did not remember having lost sight of Dylan.[86] Ms. Thomson, who was Dylan's nanny since the girl was two months old, also stated that the charges against Woody Allen brought by Farrow were 'not true'.[87] Mavis Smith, the housekeeper of Mia Farrow for thirteen years, said she thought Woody Allen was a good father and in a telephone conversation said that in the thirteen years she had never seen Allen doing something sexual with Dylan or with Satchel.[88]

Dr. Susan Coates, a Farrow family therapist, testified that Farrow had been so angry with Allen when she discovered the affair with Previn that Coates had feared for Allen's safety.[29] Farrow's lawyer accused Coates of gullibility for having accepted Allen's version of events.[89] Therapist Dr. Nancy Schultz was hired by Farrow and Allen in April 1991 because the child "lived in her own fantasy wold".[90] Dr. Schultz testified that Dylan has become "absorbed in what the fantasy is (and) that it became real".[91] One of Allen's lawyers alleged that Farrow's lawyers had suggested "the charges could be made to go away" if Allen agreed to pay around $7 million. Alan Dershowitz, representing Farrow, said there had been an "exploratory" session to attempt mediation. "To have this described as an extortionate meeting is ridiculous," he said. He added that Allen's lawyers were "trying to set a trap, the trap failed and now they testify as if the trap succeeded". One of Allen's lawyers acknowledged when cross-examined that the discussion about money related mostly to the children's education and medical care, as well as money owed for Farrow's film work for Allen.[51] Levett, Mia Farrow's lawyer, acknowledged that he suggested various amounts to reach an agreement "For child support, including household help: $17,000 a month until the youngest of the children turned 21, roughly $2.5 million factoring in inflation and interest. For tuition, assuming all three went to college: $800,000 to $900,000. Plus unspecified medical and, yes, psychiatric expenses. There might be a damage claim for Dylan, who had accused her father of molesting her. And some compensation for Mia Farrow, who'd earned $300,000 a year for her roles in Allen's annual films and was entitled to that sum for five to 10 years now that she was out of a job."[92] "Mr. Dershowitz echoed Mr. Levett's testimony. But he acknowledged that a proposal was made to intercede in the child-abuse investigation in favor of a private settlement. He added that the offer "was not premised on any payments."[66] In the program of Charlie Rose on October 14, 1992, Dershowitz stated about it: "I don't think it ever had to come out. If he (Woody Allen) had not filed that suit, I don't think anybody would know the story today and I think it would be resolved quietly behind the scenes."[93]

John Leventhal of the Yale–New Haven Child Sexual Abuse Clinic testified by deposition on 20 April. Citing inconsistencies in Dylan's account, he said that once it was discarded the hypothesis that Dylan's narrative corresponded to events that actually happened the Yale–New Haven team "had two hypotheses: one, that these were statements that were made by an emotionally disturbed child and then became fixed in her mind. And the other hypothesis was that she was coached or influenced by her mother. We did not come to a firm conclusion. We think that it was probably a combination."[94] Farrow and Allen both hired experts to discuss the report.[75] Anne Meltzer, a forensic psychologist, testified for Allen that the report had "reached conclusions that were supported well by the data they collected." She said the tape of Dylan making the allegation was "flawed" because it had been filmed by one side and not by a professional.[75][95][96] Stephen Herman, a child psychiatrist, testified for Farrow that the report was "seriously flawed", and that he could find no evidence of a thought disorder in Dylan's statements,[75][95] however, Dr. Herman expressly stated that the report was not biased[97][98] and that he himself, in the light of the evidence, could not reach any conclusion regarding the allegation of abuse.[99] That could have happened, or it could not have happened.[100] That the evidence was inconclusive.[11] To Charles Patrick Ewing and Joseph McCann, the most damaging criticism of the report was that the team had destroyed its notes from the interviews it conducted, which meant the court could not test the validity of the report's conclusions; they write that forensic experts have an obligation to retain their notes for review. Another criticism was that the team was unwilling to testify in court, except via Leventhal's deposition.[101] Dr. Herman also recognized the tape of Dylan making the allegation was flawed because it was made in a way that "set a tone for a child about how to answer".[102] He also concluded that there was no point in passing another forensic evaluation to Dylan on the allegation.[11]

All the psychiatric experts who declared in the trial agreed that Allen was able to fulfill a positive role in Dylan's therapy.[12][11]

Decision[edit]

In his 33-page decision in June 1993,[11] Justice Elliott Wilk rejected Allen's bid for custody of the three children and rejected the allegation of sexual abuse, denied Allen immediate visitation rights with Dylan, saying of Allen's behavior toward Dylan that it was "grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her".[11][10][103] His criticism of Allen's parenting was harsh.[104][23] Rejecting Allen's portrayal of Farrow as a "woman scorned", Wilk said there was no credible evidence that she had coached Dylan, and he criticized Allen for his "trial strategy" of turning family members and employees against one another. The Yale–New Haven team's unwillingness to testify in court, except through Leventhal's deposition, together with the destruction of its notes, had rendered its report, he wrote, "sanitized and, therefore, less credible".[101][23][11][10] Wilk called the case "frivolous" and ordered Allen to pay Farrow's costs,[10][103] Regarding the allegation of abuse, Wilk concluded that the evidence did not support that it had occurred, although he was not sure that the evidence demonstrated conclusively that it had not happened.[8]

Criminal inquiry, social services[edit]

The police interviewed Allen in Litchfield in January 1993 for over three hours. He said he had never been in the attic crawl space; when the police said they had taken fingerprints in there, he said it was possible that his prints were there. The forensic specialist chief of Connecticut’s state crime laboratory, Dr.Henry Lee, said that what police has found in the crawl space was hair fibers and that the evidence could not place Allen in the attic. On September 20 that year, Frank Maco, the State's Attorney, accompanied by a female police detective, talked to Dylan; Maco told a reporter in 1997: "I saw complete withdrawal any time I tried to discuss the incident."[74][16]

On September 24, 1993, Maco held a news conference to say that he would not pursue the molestation allegation, despite having probable cause, citing a desire not to traumatize Dylan.[74][5][105] In the official Statement of decision of the prosecution, Frank Maco acknowledged that even in the case of custody and with a more favorable standard of proof for the accusation that "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" it had been impossible to reach the conclusion that the abuse had occurred. He also acknowledged that the nature of the evidence was a fertile ground for the defense and “would not have the same probative as it did in the New York Supreme Court custody case”; so he considered his duty “to avoid the unjustifiable risk of exposing a child to the rigors and uncertainties of a questionable prosecution.”[106]

In a letter to the New York Department of Social Services, Allen's psychotherapist Kathryn Prescott stated that Allen's psychological profile "was definitely not that of a sexual offender" and also stated “There has never been any suggestion that Mr. Allen was suffering from a sexual perversion / deviant sexual behavior."[107] The New York Department of Social Services closed its own 14-month investigation in October 1993; its letter to Allen stated: "No credible evidence was found that the child named in this report has been abused or maltreated. This report has, therefore, been considered unfounded."[6]

Allen filed complaints with the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission and the statewide bar counsel over Maco's statement about probable cause.[108] The former dismissed the complaint in November 1993.[109] In February 1994 the statewide Grievance Committee ruled that, while Maco had not violated the state's code of conduct for lawyers, his statement was a cause of "grave concern." In addition, Maco had sent a copy of his statement to the judge who was deciding whether to overturn Allen's adoption of Dylan and Moses. That act was "inappropriate, unsolicited and potentially prejudicial," the panel ruled.[110]

Allen's appeals, other legal action[edit]

In December 1992 Farrow began legal action, which was ultimately unsuccessful, to have Allen's adoption of Dylan and Moses declared void. Her position was based, in part, on her view that Allen's affair with Soon-Yi Previn had begun before the adoption was finalized on December 17, 1991.[37][23] Allen stated that the sexual relationship had started in the last week of 1991.[37] Allen offered not to appeal the custody ruling if Farrow would drop her attempt to have his adoption of Dylan and Moses declared void, but she refused.[37]

In January 1994 Allen appealed Wilk's decision.[111] Of the assault allegation, the appellate court concluded "the evidence in support of the allegations remains inconclusive," stated that its "review of the record militates against a finding that Ms. Farrow fabricated the allegations without any basis" and explicitly corrected Justice Wilk by stating that the Yale–New Haven team's view that Dylan had a tendency to "withdraw into a fantasy," and that she had offered inconsistent accounts, had to be taken into account. As elements suggesting that the abuse could have occurred but not being sufficient for this conclusion to be more likely than the contrary the court list "the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan's behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse." The court was critical of Allen's parenting skills and relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. The appeal failed, although two of the five judges said the visitation rights regarding Satchel were too restrictive.[12] Allen appealed again, and in July 1995 the New York Court of Appeals upheld the original decision.[13]

Later statements, reception[edit]

What Falls Away[edit]

In Mia Farrow's 1997 memoir, What Falls Away, Farrow repeated the accusation that Allen had sexually abused Dylan Farrow.[112] Farrow's abuse allegation was mentioned in several of the book's reviews.[113][114]

Siblings, open letter[edit]

When Allen won the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in January 2014, Mia Farrow and Satchel (now going under the name Ronan Farrow and working as a journalist) tweeted objections.[115] Dylan Farrow, by then 28, repeated the assault allegation the following month in an open letter in The New York Times blog of Nicholas Kristof, a family friend. Writing that Allen had made her feel uncomfortable "for as long as [she] could remember", she alleged, for example, that he would get into bed with her in his underwear and that she would hide to avoid him.[17] Allen called the allegations "untrue and disgraceful"[116] and responded with an op-ed in The New York Times.[3][117] The newspaper allowed Dylan's open letter 936 words within Kristof's blog, Ronan wrote, while Allen's op-ed was given twice the length and published in the print edition.[118]

Ronan, aged four in 1992, has been critical of Allen for several years; in 2011 he tweeted: "He's my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression."[119] In The Hollywood Reporter in May 2016, he wrote that, following the publication of Dylan's open letter, his colleagues had forwarded him the daily emails "blasted out by Allen's powerful publicist", with an open cc list, offering talking points for reporters and the names of friends, therapists and lawyers willing to be interviewed. He wrote: "Reporters on the receiving end of this kind of PR blitz have to wonder if deviating from the talking points might jeopardize their access to all the other A-list clients."[118]

Dylan's brother Moses Farrow, who was 14 in 1992, has taken a different view; he has reconciled with Allen and is now estranged from the Farrow family. When Dylan published her open letter, he said in an interview that several people had been in the house on the disputed day and that "no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces". He asserted that Mia Farrow had cultivated a climate in which he and his siblings had felt compelled to support her views, and that she had both physically and emotionally abused him.[120] He repeated the allegations in 2017 to Eric Lax, one of Allen's biographers.[121] Moses Farrow offered additional details defending Allen in a May 23, 2018, a blog post.[50] In that letter he accused Mia Farrow of child abuse and neglect, coupled with a white savior complex: "When Soon-Yi was young, Mia once threw a large porcelain centerpiece at her head. Luckily it missed, but the shattered pieces hit her legs. Years later, Mia beat her with a telephone receiver."[122][50] However, the most important part of Moses' testimony is related to Dylan's allegation of sexual abuse. Moses explains that on the afternoon of August 4 he was at home: "As the “man of the house” that day, I had promised to keep an eye out for any trouble, and I was doing just that. I remember where Woody sat in the TV room, and I can picture where Dylan and Satchel were. Not that everybody stayed glued to the same spot, but I deliberately made sure to note everyone's coming and going. I do remember that Woody would leave the room on occasion, but never with Dylan. He would wander into another room to make a phone call, read the paper, use the bathroom, or step outside to get some air and walk around the large pond on the property."[50] Moses also indicates that the memory that his sister keeps from having suffered abuse while focusing her attention on an electric train set is not possible: "It’s a precise and compelling narrative, but there’s a major problem: there was no electric train set in that attic. There was, in fact, no way for kids to play up there, even if we had wanted to. It was an unfinished crawl space, under a steeply-angled gabled roof, with exposed nails and floorboards, billows of fiberglass insulation, filled with mousetraps and droppings and stinking of mothballs, and crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes. The idea that the space could possibly have accommodated a functioning electric train set, circling around the attic, is ridiculous."[50]

Op-ed and interview[edit]

External image
Dylan Farrow (left) speaks to Gayle King, CBS This Morning, January 18, 2018.

In December 2017, following the Weinstein controversy, Dylan Farrow wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asking, "Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?"[18] She repeated the assault allegation in January 2018 in a television interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning.[105] Allen issued a statement in response:

[E]ven though the Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time's Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation, that doesn't make it any more true today than it was in the past. I never molested my daughter – as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago.[19]

Statue in Oviedo

After Dylan Farrow's 2014 open letter, several actors issued statements critical of Allen, including Rosie O'Donnell,[123] Lena Dunham,[124] Sarah Silverman,[125] and Susan Sarandon.[126]

The mood changed further as a result of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements and Dylan's op-ed. In November 2017 during a women's rally, a banner referring to the allegation was hung around the neck of Allen's statue in Oviedo, Spain, and a women's group later asked that the statue be removed.[127] From October 2017 statements supportive of Dylan, or expressing regret at having worked with Allen, were issued by Griffin Newman,[128] Ellen Page,[129][130] Evan Rachel Wood,[131][132] David Krumholtz,[133] Greta Gerwig,[134] Mira Sorvino,[135] Rebecca Hall,[136] Timothée Chalamet,[137] Rachel Brosnahan,[138] Natalie Portman,[139] Colin Firth,[140] Hayley Atwell,[141] Freida Pinto,[142] and John Turturro.[143] Newman, Hall, Chalamet and Fanning said they would donate their earnings from Allen's film A Rainy Day in New York (2018) to charities.[137]

In January 2018, the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut canceled its adaptation of Allen's film Bullets over Broadway (1994).[144] In February 2018, Circle Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan also canceled their adaptation of Bullets over Broadway.[145]

Elle Fanning stated that she regretted her decision "if it hurt anyone".[146] Joaquin Phoenix stated, "When I worked with Woody, I knew about the stuff that had come up years ago, I know his daughter ended up writing an open letter. I was not aware of that when we worked together."[147] When asked if he'd work with Allen, Peter Sarsgaard said "it's such a complicated question. I've already done a Woody Allen movie".[148] Chloe Sevigny stated “I have my own turmoil that I’m grappling with over that decision, would I work with him again? Probably not.”[149] Marion Cotillard when asked replied, "I have to say today, yeah, if he were to ask me again … I don’t think it would ever happen because the experience we had together was very odd. I admire some of his work but we had no connection on set.”[150]

Those expressing support for Allen included Barbara Walters and Diane Keaton in 2014,[151] as well as Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Bill Maher, and Keaton again in January 2018.[152] [153][154][155] Robert B. Weide, who made a documentary film on Allen,[156] published his rebuttals to the Farrow allegations in an article The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast.[157] Cherry Jones, addressing the topic, said, "There are those who are comfortable in their certainty. I am not. I don't know the truth ... When we condemn by instinct our democracy is on a slippery slope."[158] Emily Mortimer, when asked about Allen in an interview, said "I believe in due process...I think these things really need to go through all the legal processes before anyone can judge. I don’t really have an answer to those questions."[159] Jeff Daniels, when asked if he would work with Allen again, responded: "I believe Dylan Farrow. Would I do another one with Woody? The difficult decision would be to turn him down, because of The Purple Rose of Cairo."[160][161] In February 2018, Savanah Lyon, a theater major at the University of California, San Diego, began organising an online petition to have a course teaching Allen's films removed from the UCSD syllabus. Lyon stated that because of the abuse allegations against him, the university should not have a class devoted to studying Allen's work. On February 16, the UCSD Academic Senate announced that they were going to retain the course on Allen's work, stating that the removal of courses featuring "controversial material, or even material widely regarded as morally problematic" would undermine the values of free inquiry and academic freedom.[162] Cate Blanchett, when asked about the allegations against Allen by Christiane Amanpour, replied "At the time, I said it’s a very painful and complicated situation for the family, which I hope they have the ability to resolve." Blanchett added: "If these allegations need to be re-examined which, in my understanding, they’ve been through court, then I’m a big believer in the justice system and setting legal precedents,....If the case needs to be reopened, I am absolutely, wholeheartedly in support of that."[163] Javier Bardem stated: "I am very shocked by this sudden treatment. Judgements in the states of New York and Connecticut found him innocent. The legal situation today is the same as in 2007. If there was evidence Woody Allen was guilty, then yes, I would have stopped working with him, but I have doubts."[164] Bardem in another interview stated: "“If the legal situation ever changes [regarding Allen], then I’d change my mind. But for now I don’t agree with the public lynching that he’s been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again, I’d be there tomorrow morning. He’s a genius.”[165] Alan Alda stated "I'd work with him again if he wanted me. I'm not qualified to judge him. I don't know all the facts. I don't know if he's guilty or innocent. But you can be uncertain — that's what I go on. I just don't have enough information to convince me I shouldn't work with him. And he's an enormously talented guy."[166] Michael Caine who initially expressed regret for working with Allen and said he would never work with him again, later stated: "If he had a trial and someone proved he had done something, I wouldn’t do it. No. But I didn’t read of him being on trial and being found guilty or fined or sent to prison or anything. This is all things that people say. You can’t go on hearsay the whole time."[167][168] Jeff Goldblum stated "I think there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, I also admire his body of work. So I would consider working with him again, until I learned something more.”[169]

Moses Farrow wrote an extensive blog post accusing Mia Farrow of emotionally abusing her children and driving some to suicide: "Most media sources claim my sister Tam died of 'heart failure' at the age of 21. In fact, Tam struggled with depression for much of her life, a situation exacerbated by my mother refusing to get her help, insisting that Tam was just 'moody.' One afternoon in 2000, after one final fight with Mia, which ended with my mother leaving the house, Tam committed suicide by overdosing on pills."[170][50] His sister Soon-Yi had written similarly in 1992, saying in a statement, "Mia was always very hot-tempered and given to rages which terrified all the kids. They can't speak freely because they're still dependent on her. But they could really tell stories and I'm sure one day will. It's true Mia was violent with me and I have conclusive proof, but I hope she and Woody can somehow head off a custody trial."[171]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Farrow found that the child was too disabled and needed more care than she could provide; she helped to find him another family.[20]
  2. ^ "Information concerning this case was obtained from Mr. and Mrs. André G. Previn ... The beneficiary, Soon Hee Oh, aka Soon Yi Oh, is a native and citizen of Korea with a presumptive birth date of October 8, 1970."[34] "Memorandum of information concerning H.R. 1352 for the relief of Oh Soon Hee submitted by the American Embassy at Seoul, Korea. The beneficiary is an abandoned child, who was found in Seoul, Korea on February 12, 1976. She was placed temporarily in the care of Maria's House, a local institution for abandoned children while an effort was made to identify and locate her parents and relatives. When this search failed, the beneficiary was transferred to the care of St. Paul's Orphanage ... in Seoul, where she currently lives. The Seoul Family Court established a Family Census Register (legal birth document) in her behalf on December 28, 1976, with a presumptive birth date of October 8, 1970. The beneficiary attends kindergarten classes held in the orphanage. Through the auspices of the Social Welfare Society, Inc., ... and the Friends of Children adoption agency in the United States, the child has been selected for adoption by Mr. and Mrs. André George Previn, of Martha's Vineyard, Mass. ...[35]
  3. ^ Yale–New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Clinic (1993): "It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen. Further, we believe that Dylan’s statements on videotape and her statements to us during our evaluation do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4th, 1992 ... In developing our opinion we considered three hypotheses to explain Dylan's statements. First, that Dylan’s statements were true and that Mr. Allen had sexually abused her; second, that Dylan’s statements were not true but were made up by an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family and who was responding to the stresses in the family; and third, that Dylan was coached or influenced by her mother, Ms. Farrow. While we can conclude that Dylan was not sexually abused, we can not be definite about whether the second formulation by itself or the third formulation by itself is true. We believe that it is more likely that a combination of these two formulations best explains Dylan’s allegations of sexual abuse."[3][75][76]

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