Today on NYTimes.com, Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, has penned an open letter about the abuse she alleges she endured as a child at the hands of Woody Allen. These abuse allegations first came to light in 1993, during the bitter custody battle between her mother and father. Allen was never prosecuted and has denied any wrongdoing. The allegations regained interest in the last few months, following a Vanity Fair profile in which Dylan was quoted discussing the abuse, and the fact that Allen received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes. During the ceremony, Dylan’s brother Ronan tweeted, “”Missed the Woody Allen tribute. Did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?” A recent piece on The Daily Beast, written by a man who did a documentary on Woody Allen, attempted to poke holes in the allegations. Dylan Farrow’s piece in The New York Times is the first time she has spoken or written publicly about the alleged abuse, in her own words. Among other things, she writes:
…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. 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. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.
For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. 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. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.
Farrow also calls out her father’s many supporters, both the famous — like Diane Keaton, who accepted Allen’s Golden Globe on his behalf — and his fans. She writes:
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? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.
Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?
The piece is stunningly brave and deeply upsetting. Read it in full at the link. As a fan of some of Allen’s films — most recently, “Blue Jasmine” — I find myself wondering if I will ever be able to watch (let alone enjoy) another again. [NY TImes]