Jayme Deerwester, USA Today
Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and her then-partner, filmmaker Woody Allen, has written an open letter published by the New York Times website detailing a 1992 incident in which she says Allen molested her.
Thoughthe case made headlines back in 1993 and her mother and brother Ronanhave discussed the case before, this is the first time Dylan has spokenpublicly on the subject.
Dylan, now 28, was adopted by Farrow andAllen in 1987 when she was 2. Five years later, she writes that Allenled her by the hand to a room in their house where "he told me to lie onmy stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then hesexually assaulted me."
She goes on to say that "he talked to mewhile he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was oursecret, promising that we'd go to Paris and I'd be a star in his movies."
The incident in the attic was not the first time Allen touched her,she said, though she does not give a time frame for how long the allegedabuse went on. She only goes as far as saying that, "for as long as Icould remember, my father had been doing things to me that I did notlike. ... These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfullyhidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that Ithought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on theirdaughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn'tkeep the secret anymore."
At that point, she told Farrow, who left Allen that same year after the news broke of his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the 19-year-old daughter she had adopted with husband Andre Previn. (Allen and Soon-Yi married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters, Bechet and Menzie.)
Acustody battle over their adopted children ensued and Allen's attorneysalleged that her mother encouraged her to make up the abuseallegations.
In September 1993, Connecticut state attorney FrankMaco declined to prosecute Allen, saying that while he had probablecause, he did not wish to inflict any further anguish on Dylan by makingher testify. Farrow won custody of their adopted children and Allen wasdenied visitation rights.
"That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,"Dylan writes. "I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to benear other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. Ideveloped an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment wasmade worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned ablind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, 'whocan say what happened,' to pretend that nothing was wrong. ... For solong, Woody Allen's acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personalrebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut upand go away."
But this award season, Dylan says she feltdifferently. "This time, I refuse to fall apart. ... Today, I considermyself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazingbrothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well offortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into ourhome."
Why is all of this coming back up now? The Farrow family'sfeelings toward Allen have been stirred up by the award season attentionbeing paid to him, including the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievementaward at January's Golden Globes and his Oscar nomination for best original screenplay for Blue Jasmine.
"Imagineyour 7-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen," shecommands the reader. "Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nauseaat the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates hertormentor."
She drives her point home by calling out the stars of his films. "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis C.K.? 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?"