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In the wake of the presentation of the Cecil B. Demille award to actor/director Woody Allen at this year’s Golden Globes, his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow has written an open letter to the New York Times in which she details the sexual abuse she allegedly suffered at Allen’s hands.
Farrow was adopted by Allen and his then girlfriend, actress Mia Farrow, in the 1980s. The couple broke up after it came to light that Allen was having an affair with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, then 19, whom he later married and has two adopted children with. During the subsequent custody battle in the early nineties, Mia Farrow filed charges that Allen had molested their adopted daughter Dylan. Allen was never prosecuted, but neither Mia nor Dylan have ever withdrawn their allegations.
Farrow’s open letter, which is the first time she has publicly commented on her alleged abuse, features a preface by columnist Nicholas Kristof, who justifies the publication of the letter:
‘…why publish an account of an old case on my blog? Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn’t celebrity but sex abuse. And partly because countless people on all sides have written passionately about these events, but we haven’t fully heard from the young woman who was at the heart of them.’
Farrow writes candidly about her alleged abuse, making a direct appeal to fans of Woody Allen and his films:
‘What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? 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.’
She also takes aim at Hollywood, blaming the continued accolades that have been heaped on Allen over the years for much of the stress and suffering she has endured:
‘Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up…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. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.’
Farrow even goes so far as to name and appeal to specific supporters and colleagues of her alleged abuser:
‘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?’
Cate Blanchett, who is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Allen’s Blue Jasmine, was questioned about Farrow’s renewal of her allegations while she was attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year award. As she was on her way into the after party for the awards, Blanchett commented:
‘It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some resolution and peace.’
It not yet clear what effect Farrow’s latest allegations will have upon Woody Allen or his career, although some have speculated that any connection to Allen might prove detrimental for those hoping to take home an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards, which are to take place on March 2nd.
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