All over social media Woody Allen is being demonized and denounced as a pedophile after a letter by Dylan (now known as Malone) Farrow appeared in the New York Times. In that letter, Dylan claims that when she was seven, Allen abused her, some 21 years ago
It disturbs me that so many people have made a rush to judgment without bothering to verify the facts. Two days ago a Daily Beast article by Robert Weide The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast appeared that casts a different light upon recent post-Golden Globe awards tweets by Mia and her son Ronan Farrow. In fact, Weide’s article directly challenges Maureen Orth‘s November 1992 Vanity Fair piece about the incident and the investigation that followed. It should be noted that Maureen Orth has a history of cherry picking the facts and lying by omission and has had other stories widely discredited on several occasions.
It’s surprising how readily people are to believe stories that have clear credibility issues, almost as if they want these terrible, salacious accusations to be true. Now, I would never want to create an atmosphere where victims would be discouraged from speaking out, but we need to consider cases such as the McMartin Preschool ritual abuse trial and the Michael Jackson trial, both of which had allegations of animal sacrifice, filmed drug fueled pederastic orgies along with other demonstrably false allegations. The danger of such allegations is that they can easily result in people allowing their basest instincts and emotions sully their constitutions, leading to injustice or even vigilantism in the extreme. The McMartin case especially demonstrates the dangers and difficulty of using children’s testimony.
I think that the Woody Allen case could easily fall into the same category as the McMartin case, if Farrow did indeed fabricate the whole thing (as the independent panel who investigated her child’s case concluded she had done). I am not saying that Dylan is lying – I’m saying that perhaps she is confused.
As Weide’s article points out, an independent panel of child abuse experts and social workers interviewed all parties for months and formally determined that: a) no sexual abuse occurred; b) Farrow manipulated her daughter, filmed herself and Dylan talking about the alleged incident and asked her leading questions to get her to accuse Allen; after c) Allen dumped her for a grown woman (Soon-Yi) whom he did not raise and never treated as a daughter.
Let’s examine Woody’s relationship with Soon-Yi. Soon-Yi is not Allen’s daughter she is the daughter of Andre Previn. Woody Allen and Mia Farrow lived separately during their relationship, and Soon-Yi was usually away at boarding school, college, or her dad’s house (Previn) during the majority of Allen’s relationship with Farrow. Soon-Yi was physically abused by Farrow—they both admit it—so she didn’t stay at Farrow’s house much.
Woody Allen and Soon-Yi did not consider themselves family before they became a couple, when she was 20. Some may consider this May-December relationship unhealthy or worse, but it is a long, long way from pedophilia as Farrow would have us believe – especially when you consider that Farrow did the exact same thing 25 yrs earlier with Frank Sinatra. Mia Farrow was 19 years old when she married Frank Sinatra, who was 51. She maintains to this day that Frank was the love of her life.
I agree with Robert Weide when he says “I know I’m treading a delicate path here, and opening myself up to accusations of ‘blaming the victim.’ However, I’m merely floating scenarios to consider, and you can think what you will. But if Mia’s account is true, it means that in the middle of custody and support negotiations, during which Woody needed to be on his best behavior, in a house belonging to his furious ex-girlfriend, and filled with people seething mad at him, Woody, who is a well-known claustrophobic, decided this would be the ideal time and place to take his daughter into an attic and molest her, quickly, before a house full of children and nannies noticed they were both missing.” Doesn’t make sense to me…
So why does the adult Dylan claim it happened? I think she believes it did. And maybe her brother Ronan believes it happened and if so, good for him for standing by his sister. But why wouldn’t they think it true? They both grew up in a household where this scenario has been accepted as the irrefutable truth.
In Allen’s defense, he has never been heard to say a single bad word about any of Mia’s 14 children, despite the horrible things said about him. He leads a fairly quiet life (if not necessarily normal life) with Soon-Yi, his wife of 20 years, while Mia Farrow continues to be a train wreck. Meanwhile, Dylan (for whom I feel a great sadness, so no victim blaming here) admits she has virtually no memory of what she admits was an isolated incident.
And what about Mia Farrow’s brother, John Charles Villiers-Farrow, who was sentenced four months ago to 10 years in prison for abusing an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old boy for a period of eight years. The brother even apologized to the now-adult victims at the sentencing! A convicted child molester who had regular access to the children? Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t Woody that Dylan ‘remembered’ from so long ago…
And Farrow remains friends with Roman Polanski, her Rosemary’s Baby director, in spite of him being an admitted child molester. And what about Ronan who little resemblances Woody, his supposed biological father? Of course, everybody knows about the legendary affair between Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra and during an extensive interview in 2013, Mia dropped a bombshell by suggesting that Ronan might actually be Frank’s son, not Woody’s (even though she was ‘with’ Woody when Ronan was conceived)? Check out the photos…what say you?
Now, Mia Farrow has done some good and noble things – she has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is an activist for humanitarian aid and political change in Sudan. She has adopted many children. And I’m not saying Dylan Farrow is lying, or I don’t sympathize with her pain. I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. But, according to Roger Freeman (who criticizes Farrow for using longtime CLOSE friend Nicholas Kristof to help Dylan break her ‘letter’), “it appears that Mia Farrow has very carefully conducted a campaign against Woody Allen since she realized “Blue Jasmine” would do well at the box office and get Oscar nominations. She went nuts when the Golden Globes decided to honor him with a Lifetime Achievement Award”.
Mia fully expected to continue to star in Allen’s films, even after the accusations, and is angry that she was replaced. She sees the May-December romance bloom between Woody and Soon Yi and probably compares it against her own with failed relationship with Frank Sinatra, whom she still claims was the love of her life.
To me, the vitriol from Mia and Ronan is just too much. This matter has been fought and put to rest by the courts back in the early 90’s. What new event has occurred that justifies this renewed verbal assault? Both Mia and Ronan are using these allegations not to bring Allen to some sort of ‘justice’ but rather as a bludgeon to beat him with. There’s a note of trivialization in how Mia and Ronan are deploying their statements. Allen, no matter you think about the guy, has been “classy” about it. He’s not waging a Twitter war or running to the media to tell ‘his’ side of the story.I think it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that Allen “deserves” what he’s getting here, but we should remember that, as unconventional as his relationship and marriage to Soon-Yi is, that’s really the only “bad thing” that has been proven about Woody Allen. People have chosen to assume that all the rest must be true, not knowing the truth, merely because his current marriage had a strange, highly uncommon origin.
Make your own decision, but Weide’s piece strikes me as a thorough, intelligent, and fair-minded evaluation of the whole unfortunate megillah.
By the way – If I were Woody Allen, I’d sue Vanity Fair, because even a high school journalist could check court records and see the many errors in the fluff pieces published for Farrow. But he doesn’t sue, because he doesn’t want to put the children through that.
So I ask you, who’s the dignified one? Woody who wants to protect the kids or Mia for tweeting rape jokes?!