Woody Allen denies abuse claims in open letter

WOODY Allen has defended himself against reports that he abused his adoptive daughter, accusing his ex-partner Mia Farrow of “coaching” her to make the allegation against him.

Director Woody Allen has denied sexual abuse allegations. Picture: AP
Director Woody Allen has denied sexual abuse allegations. Picture: AP
Director Woody Allen has denied sexual abuse allegations. Picture: AP

In a strongly worded letter published online by the New York Times, the 78-year-old filmmaker said Dylan Farrow’s account, published by the same newspaper last week, had added “creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year estrangement”.

Accusing his former partner of being “vindictive”, “spiteful” and “malevolent”, Allen said Dylan’s letter “advanced her mother’s shabby agenda”.

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In her letter last week, Dylan Farrow said that in 1992 at the family’s Connecticut home, 
Allen led her to a “dim, closet-like attic” and “then he sexually assaulted me.”

The director was investigated for the alleged molestation at the time, but was never charged. A team of child abuse specialists from the Yale-New Haven Hospital, brought into the case by prosecutors and police, concluded that Dylan Farrow had not been molested.

“Of course, I did not molest Dylan,” Allen said. “I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s wellbeing.”

Farrow accused Allen of molesting Dylan at the time of the breakup of their 12-year relationship more than two decades ago. Allen has consistently denied the abuse allegation. Their split followed the discovery of an affair between Allen and the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, Soon-Yi Previn, when Previn was 19 or 21 – her date of birth is uncertain. Allen and Previn married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters.

In this latest denial, Allen said: “Now it’s 21 years later and Dylan has come forward with the accusations that the Yale experts investigated and found false. I still loved [Dylan] deeply, and felt guilty that by falling in love with Soon-Yi I had put her in the position of being used as a pawn for revenge.”

Allen again claims in his open letter that seven-year-old Dylan was coached by Mia Farrow. “Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of seven a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root?” he said.

Allen claimed Farrow had concocted the details of the allegation after being inspired by the song “With My Daddy in the Attic”, which was performed by Dory Previn.

“Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda?” Allen said.

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In his letter, Allen recounts several anecdotes to call Mia Farrow’s integrity into question. He also addressed the claim by Mia Farrow that her ex-husband Frank Sinatra could be the father of son Ronan Farrow, not Allen.

“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,” said Allen. “Not to mention all the money I paid for child support.”

The 28-year-old Dylan Farrow, now married, currently lives in Florida under another name. Her letter caused an uproar, reawakening a case more than two decades after it made headlines.

In a statement made to the Hollywood Reporter yesterday, Dylan Farrow called Allen’s letter “the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has levelled at me for the past 20 years.”

She said that Mia Farrow was not the one who brought criminal charges – “in fact, it was a paediatrician who reported the incident to the police based on my first-hand account.”

She also stated that the prosecutor found probable cause to prosecute Allen, but decided against it to protect what they called “the child victim”.

“For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me,” she said.

Some have challenged Dylan Farrow’s account, most notably her 36-year-old brother, Moses Farrow. He told People magazine this week that “of course” Allen didn’t molest his sister. Allen said his open letter “will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party”.

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He ended the letter by saying: “Enough people have been hurt.”