Woody Allen denies abuse allegations

Filmmaker publishes letter rebutting Dylan Farrow claims and painting Mia Farrow as ‘raging adversary’ who made them up

Woody Allen has struck back against allegations he molested Dylan Farrow in a blistering reply that accuses Mia Farrow of spite, deceit and hatefulness.

The film director cast himself in a New York Times article as the persecuted victim of his former partner, denouncing her as a “raging adversary” who destroyed their family and coached their daughter to invent stories of sexual abuse.

“Of course, I did not molest Dylan. 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.

“Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi [Allen’s wife] and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us.”

The 2,000-word column, which Allen, 78, vowed would be his “final word” on the subject, was published on Friday in response to an open letter from Dylan a week earlier in which she repeated the longstanding accusations against her father.

Allen said he did not doubt Dylan, 21, believed she had 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?”

The story erupted in 1992 during an acrimonious split between Allen and Farrow, who had starred in several of his films. Dylan, then aged seven, alleged her father abused her in the attic of the family home in Connecticut.

A panel of experts investigated the claims and found no evidence of abuse. No charges were filed. Allen claimed Farrow concocted the story to punish him for an affair with her adopted teenage daughter, Soon-Yi, now his wife.

“Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realised I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out.”

Despite Allen’s repeated denials over the years, suspicion has endured, tainting his reputation even amid critical acclaim with recent films such as Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris.

The row flared anew last month when Ronan Farrow, 26, who has always sided with his mother, revived the accusation in response to Allen winning a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award. His sister followed up with the open letter.

Allen said the accusation stemmed from “great enmity” during a bitter end to his 12-year relationship with Farrow. “The self-serving transparency of her malevolence seemed so obvious I didn’t even hire a lawyer to defend myself.”

He took a lie detector and passed, Allen said, but Mia Farrow declined to do so. She tried to persuade one of Allen’s former girlfriends, Stacey Nelkin, to falsely tell authorities she had been underage when their relationship began.

The director accused Farrow of duplicity over her relationship with Frank Sinatra, whom she recently suggested may be the father of Ronan. “Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? 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.”

Allen lamented that his former partner isolated him from Ronan and Dylan, saying he felt guilty that the latter was used as a pawn for revenge. “Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness.”

He quoted the couple’s other son, Moses, now a 36-year-old family therapist, who has protested Allen’s innocence.

He concluded: “No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing.” There was no immediate response from Farrow.

The controversy is likely to hang over next month’s Oscars, where Blue Jasmine is up for three awards.

• This article was amended on 8 February 2014. It originally stated that “Allen claimed Farrow concocted the [abuse] story to punish him for an affair with their adopted teenage daughter, Soon-Yi, now his wife”. Soon-Yi is the adopted daughter of Farrow and André Previn, not Allen. This has been corrected.


Rory Carroll in Los Angeles

The GuardianTramp

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