Woody and Mia: Considering the sources

© 2014 by H.B. Koplowitz

Nobody knows whether Woody Allen molested his and Mia Farrow’s 7-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan, 22 years ago. Either Allen crossed the line from doting parent to pedophile, or Farrow falsely accused him of child molestation, and further, the alleged victim either lied or has false memories. With all the conflicting media reports, it’s helpful to consider the sources, starting with this source: I don’t know what happened and I feel for Farrow and her children, especially Dylan, but I don’t believe Allen molested his adopted daughter.

The scandal began Jan. 13, 1992, when Farrow, then 47, discovered that her long-time companion Allen, then 56, was having an affair with one of her adopted daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, who was about 20 years old. Uncontested is the fact that Farrow was righteously pissed. That August, she accused the filmmaker of molesting Dylan, sparking investigations, litigation and media madness. Allen was never charged and has always maintained his innocence, but his reputation was forever tarnished and he lost custody of their children.

The molestation allegations resurfaced last November, as Allen’s latest movie, “Blue Jasmine,” was getting Oscar buzz. Vanity Fair published a profile of Farrow by journalist Maureen Orth, in which the long-silent Dylan, now 28, talked about her creepy memories of Allen, and Farrow said Allen’s biological son, Ronan, 26, may have been fathered by Frank Sinatra.

In 1992, Orth had written another article for Vanity Fair, called “Mia’s Story,” that was sympathetic to Farrow and unsparing in its description of Allen’s alleged inappropriate behavior with Dylan. Orth has denied claims she made a “deal” with “long-time friend” Farrow, “guaranteeing that the sexual-abuse allegation against Woody Allen would be revisited” or to “place” the story in Vanity Fair “as part of an effort to help launch Ronan Farrow’s media career.” “Ronan Farrow Daily” begins Feb. 24 on MSNBC.

The flames were fanned Jan. 12, when Allen received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. 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?'” Farrow sent another provocative tweet: “Is he a pedophile ?” with a link to Orth’s Vanity Fair article.

On Feb. 1, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof used his blog on The Times website to publish an “open letter” from Dylan, in which she asserted Allen not only molested but “sexually assaulted” her. In his related column, Kristof disclosed he is a “friend of [Dylan’s] mother, Mia, and brother Ronan, and that’s how Dylan got in touch with me.”

The next day, The Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, opined that even though Kristof had asked Allen for a response, she was “troubled” by the newspaper being used as a platform for one-sided attacks and to advocate for “personal friends.” The Times and Los Angeles Times had turned down Dylan’s letter, and The Times soon published a response from Allen, who again denied molesting Dylan and lashed out at Farrow for turning their children against him.

Dylan shot back in the Hollywood Reporter, calling Allen’s op-ed “the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years.”

However, Dylan’s adopted brother Moses, 36, defended Allen, telling People magazine, “My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister. And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.”

One of the strongest stories defending Allen — and trashing Farrow — was written by producer/director Robert Weide and published in The Daily Beast. Titled “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast,” Weide wrote, “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.”

Weide noted that those who think Allen is a dirty old man should remember that when Farrow married Frank Sinatra, she was 21 and he was 51, and in 1969, when she was 24, she became pregnant by musician/composer André Previn, 40, who was then married to singer/songwriter Dory Previn. He also noted Farrow’s support for her director in “Rosemary’s Baby,” Roman Polanski, who in 1977 sodomized a 13-year-old girl, and that Farrow’s 67-year-old brother was recently sentenced for sexually abusing two 10-year-old boys who were his neighbors in 2002 – “a topic she’s been unusually quiet about, considering her penchant for calling out alleged (let alone, convicted) molesters to whom she’s exposed her children.”

Weide also cannot be considered a neutral source. Known for his work on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he supervised the Golden Globes video tribute to Allen and also produced and directed the two-part PBS special, “Woody Allen: A Documentary.”

Allen called his Times op-ed, “my final word on this entire matter,” and I am also giving him the last word: “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 well-being … 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.”

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