Woody Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow details allegations of his sexual abuse in open letter

By George Chidi
Saturday, February 1, 2014 19:42 EDT
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US film director Woody Allen performs on stage with the New Orleans jazz band on July 21, 2013 in Antibes, France. [AFP]
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“What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?” Dylan Farrow asks. “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.”

Thus begins the open letter that Farrow published at Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times blog. The letter details her allegations of sexual abuse by her father, two weeks after Allen received a lifetime achievement award from the Golden Globes.

A story detailing the award from the Los Angeles Times, noted his absence from the ceremony … and may be noteworthy for the absence of mention of Farrow’s longstanding allegations of abuse. Other outlets did not hesitate to describe the outrage of Allen’s children at the presentation of such an honor.

Actress Mia Farrow, Dylan’s mother, ended her 12-year relationship with Allen in 1992 when she learned he had been having an affair with her adopted daughter from another marriage, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen subsequently married Previn. Allegations of Allen’s abuse of his daughter emerged during the Allen-Farrow split.

But Dylan Farrow herself has remained silent in public about the matter, until now.

“I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out,” she said, writing in the letter posted in Nicholas Kristof’s online column. “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.”

Allen has never been charged with a crime in the matter. Dylan Farrow notes in her letter that her mother declined to press criminal charges after being granted custody, “due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the ‘child victim,’” she wrote.

Her letter takes actors who have worked with Allen over the years to task for their willingness to ignore the allegations. “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?” she wrote. “You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?” Keaton accepted Allen’s award earlier this month on his behalf.

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