Jayme Deerwester, USA Today
Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and her then-partner, filmmaker Woody Allen, has written an open letter published by the New York Times website detailing a 1992 incident in which she says Allen molested her.
the case made headlines back in 1993 and her mother and brother Ronan
have discussed the case before, this is the first time Dylan has spoken
publicly on the subject.
Dylan, now 28, was adopted by Farrow and
Allen in 1987 when she was 2. Five years later, she writes that Allen
led her by the hand to a room in their house where "he told me to lie on
my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he
sexually assaulted me."
She goes on to say that "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."
The incident in the attic was not the first time Allen touched her,
she said, though she does not give a time frame for how long the alleged
abuse went on. She only goes as far as saying that, "for as long as I
could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I did not
like. ... 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."
At that point, she told Farrow, who left Allen that same year after the news broke of his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the 19-year-old daughter she had adopted with husband Andre Previn. (Allen and Soon-Yi married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters, Bechet and Menzie.)
custody battle over their adopted children ensued and Allen's attorneys
alleged that her mother encouraged her to make up the abuse
In September 1993, Connecticut state attorney Frank
Maco declined to prosecute Allen, saying that while he had probable
cause, he did not wish to inflict any further anguish on Dylan by making
her testify. Farrow won custody of their adopted children and Allen was
denied visitation rights.
"That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,"
Dylan writes. "I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be
near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I
developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was
made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a
blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, 'who
can say what happened,' to pretend that nothing was wrong. ... For so
long, Woody Allen's acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal
rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up
and go away."
But this award season, Dylan says she felt
differently. "This time, I refuse to fall apart. ... Today, I consider
myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing
brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of
fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our
Why is all of this coming back up now? The Farrow family's
feelings toward Allen have been stirred up by the award season attention
being paid to him, including the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement
award at January's Golden Globes and his Oscar nomination for best original screenplay for Blue Jasmine.
your 7-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen," she
commands the reader. "Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea
at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her
She drives her point home by calling out the stars of his films. "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis C.K.? 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?"