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Dylan Farrow open letter: Woody Allen sexually molested me and you abetted it.

Dylan Farrow open letter
Has Hollywood abetted a leading film maker and should we care?

The world is a wonder after Woody Allen‘s daughter Dylan Farrow penned an open letter Saturday on a New York Times blog publicly accusing the film make of sexually assaulting her when she was seven years old,

Dylan Farrow’s first person account which made its way on Nicholas Kritoff’s blog, marks the first time that Dylan Farrow, the daughter of actress Mia Farrow, has directly addressed the alleged sex abuse.

Woody Allen rebuffs Dylan Farrow claims.

Sparing the reader no detail, the now happily married woman (so she tells us) describes how the director purportedly abused her and how that came to vehemently affect her, and lead to years of self hate, inability to trust, feel intimacy, an eating disorder, cutting herself and a deep shame.

The letter tells it all began with Woody Allen leading the then seven year old girl into a secluded attic where he proceeded to place his hands in places where it was inappropriate. She reflects that it felt alien and dehumanizing, even as a seven year old girl she felt that it was something violently wrong and something that her adoptive father ought to not be doing but nevertheless she trusted him. Until that is her adoptive father shattered his daughter’s trust as she sought back then to begin to come to terms with the strange awkward and wildly intrusive actions that Woody Allen, her father of all people, had perpetrated on her.

Preceding Farrow’s letter, Nicholas Kristof writes a preamble where he reminds readers that this is not the first time the issue of Woody Allen purportedly sexually molesting Dylan Farrow first came to the fore. That in fact investigators were called in at the behest of Mia Farrow, that prosecutors at the time (1993) declined pursuing the case (apparently because they feared the effect what a court case would mean on the psyche of the then young Dylan Farrow) and how Woody Allen adamantly denied any wrongdoing.

Kristoff tells us he decided to publish Dylan Farrow’s letter after a debate was ignited upon the legendary film maker being celebrated for a recent Golden Globe lifetime achievement which saw a volley of tweets from Mia Farrow and her son Ronan publicly condemning Woody Allen’s award by Hollywood (who Dylan Farrow goes on to single out by name in her letter below as abetting despite Allen’s transgressions) and calling into question whether Hollywood had actually come to recognize the ‘real’ man that they were honoring.

Whilst most of us can agree that accusations of Woody Allen sexually molesting his adoptive daughter raises questions of moral and legal culpability perhaps the greater question is whether we should care that sometimes a great film maker can be just as distorted and purportedly devoid of moral acumen as the subject matter of the films he so often specializes in. Which is probably why the films are so good in the first place, cause no one knows blood and gore better than an axe murderer, metaphorically speaking….

Which raises the ultimate question, should we as an audience veto a filmmaker because of his purported moral and legal behavior? Or at the very least decline to celebrate him with honorary awards….and the further denunciation of women?

Tasteless? Ronan Farrow twitter shit storm on Woody Allen.

Begins Dylan  letter:

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. 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.

When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I honestly did not know the answer. I also didn’t know the firestorm it would trigger. I didn’t know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me. I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing to attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. 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.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.

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?



  1. Police will back Allen because he is famous. When you’re famous you can get away with anything…are you related to Allen?? I lived in La La land and saw too many of these celebrities, sick and into sexual activities.

  2. Where’s Dylan’s proof? Because Mia Farrow said so? I don’t believe a word she says. And neither did the doctors who examined her or the police investigators who came to the conclusion that Allen was innocent.

  3. Children are brainwashed all the time by vengeful, overbearing parents, administrators and even social workers into manufacturing false accusations out of fear. Day care centers like Elizabeth McMartin’s in the 1980’s were closed in a witch hunt that targeted the woman operating it with child abuse. She was completely innocent and later exonerated when the children revealed that they were coached and pressured to lie for investigators about non-existent abuse. By then it was too late and McMartin had been sent to prison and had her life destroyed. I’m proud that Allen was exonerated by the investigation that found him completely innocent of the false molestation charges. They were planted in Dylan’s brain by Mia Farrow who pressured and intimidated the 7 year old into lying. Moses, the brother now realizes this and sides with Allen. Mia Farrow was a very young girl when she married Frank Sinatra. What does that tell you??? She was the same age as Soon-Yi. A consenting adult. Mia Farrow later stole Dory Previn’s husband Andre, wrecking their marriage. Soon-Yi never did that.

  4. I was in a similar situation when I was 7 years old…no one can brainwash you when the real thing happened. I believe Dylan. I’m proud that she came forward….if anything good comes out of this it will never happen to another child again because people will be looking out more carefully. Hollywood is weird….I know because I’ve seen it at the parties I was invited to, and left when I saw it happening. Allen married a very young girl…what does that tell you???

  5. That is a raw story. My suggestion would be that Dylan and others in same position would share their story with members of American Ex-Prisoners of War. Although age when subject to torment would be different the outcome would be the same.


  7. What a brave woman for writing this. I hope this helps others who have suffered to speak out. I hope those who supported this man are ashamed of themselves

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