The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

A look back at a two-decade saga: The allegations against Woody Allen

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - "Cries and Whispers: The Ugly Explosion of an Unconventional Family," announced the Aug. 31, 1992, cover of Time magazine, which bore Woody Allen's bespectacled face. The sordid saga involving Allen and erstwhile romantic partner Mia Farrow had indeed exploded into the public consciousness days earlier. The most sensational part: an allegation that the celebrated director had taken their adopted daughter Dylan, 7, into an attic-like space at Farrow's Connecticut home and molested her.

Allen vigorously denied the allegation and was never arrested or charged with a crime. Despite predictions by some that his career would falter, it hasn't. At age 78 he still puts out a movie a year, won his fourth Oscar in 2012 for "Midnight in Paris," and is nominated again this year — his 24th nod — for the "Blue Jasmine" screenplay. The two movies were his biggest commercial hits in years.

Indeed, it's his continued success that likely brought the abuse claim back into the spotlight. Allen was given a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes in January that included a glowing televised tribute. That prompted critical comments from Mia Farrow and her son Ronan Farrow. (Ronan, an emerging TV personality, is presumed to be Allen's biological son though Mia recently said he might be Frank Sinatra's son.)

Then this past weekend, Dylan Farrow, now 28, married and living in Florida, penned an emotional open letter, accusing Hollywood of callously lionizing her tormentor. The letter revived in stunning detail an allegation more than two decades old, the details of which many had forgotten. Here is a look back at key moments and players of a story that, whichever side you believe, is one of the more disturbing celebrity sagas in memory:

___

DECEMBER 1991:

Allen formally adopts two of Farrow's previously adopted children, Dylan, 7, and Moses, 13, after Farrow tells a court he's an excellent father. The couple has been together for more than a decade, though they live separately on opposite sides of Central Park.

___

JANUARY 1992:

Visiting Allen's apartment, Farrow discovers a set of nude, explicit photos Allen has taken of her 21-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (her father is Farrow's ex-husband, Andre Previn). The discovery precipitates their split.

___

FEBRUARY 1992:

Farrow gives Allen a Valentine with a photograph of her and some of her children; a steak knife is stuck into Farrow's heart, covered with a photo of Soon-Yi, and meat skewers are stuck in the chests of the children. (The card will be displayed on CBS' "60 Minutes.")

___

AUGUST 1992:

Amidst lengthy and bitter custody negotiations, Allen visits Farrow's Connecticut home Aug. 4. There, it will be alleged, Allen takes Dylan to an attic-like space and molests her. Farrow videotapes Dylan accusing Allen of the molestation. On Aug. 13, Allen sues Farrow in New York state court for custody of Dylan, Moses and Satchel (now Ronan). A few days later, Connecticut police confirm they're investigating the abuse allegations. On Aug. 18, Allen makes an unusual public appearance to deny them.

___

NOVEMBER 1992:

In Vanity Fair magazine, author Maureen Orth presents Mia Farrow's side of the story. Dylan, she reports, told her mother that Allen told her during the episode that "if she stayed very still he would put her in his movie and take her to Paris. He touched her 'private part.'" Allen appears on "60 Minutes," describing violent rages by Farrow — and threats to kill him — over his affair with Soon-Yi. He also says Farrow told him weeks before the abuse allegations: "I have something very nasty planned for you."

___

MARCH 1993:

After a seven-month probe, a team of child-abuse specialists at Yale-New Haven Hospital concludes Dylan has not been molested. The doctor leading the probe, John M. Leventhal, will later say in a sworn statement, reported by The New York Times, that he theorized Dylan either invented the story or had it planted in her mind by her mother. A day later the custody trial opens in New York. Allen testifies he is a "wonderful father."

___

MAY 1993:

The seven-week trial winds down. Among its many revelations: Moses wrote Allen a letter saying he hoped his father would kill himself. Farrow acknowledges lashing out physically at Soon-Yi. Allen's lawyers suggest Farrow tried to blackmail Allen for millions of dollars. A psychologist testifies that Farrow threatened to stab Allen's eyes out.

___

JUNE 1993:

Allen loses his custody battle. State Supreme Court Acting Justice Elliott Wilk denounces him as an inadequate, irresponsible and self-absorbed father. The judge says he doesn't know if the molestation happened, but bars Allen from seeing Dylan for at least six months and limits visits with other children. He also criticizes the Connecticut investigation that found no abuse.

___

SEPTEMBER 1993:

In Litchfield, Conn., State's Attorney Frank Maco says there was "probable cause" to charge Allen with molesting Dylan and that police had drawn up an arrest warrant, but that he decided not to pursue the case, in part because it would traumatize Dylan. At his own news conference, Allen lashes out at Farrow, police and Maco. The director, who hasn't seen Dylan in 14 months, reads her a message: "I'm sorry I missed your eighth birthday ... I love you, and I miss you, and don't worry — the dark forces will not prevail."

___

MAY 1994:

Allen's appeal of the custody ruling is denied.

___

DECEMBER 1996:

A judge denies Allen's request for better visitation terms, and says Allen still doesn't understand how he's made the children suffer.

___

JUNE 1997:

Allen loses his bid for disciplinary action against Maco when a state panel rules that the prosecutor was acting within his rights when he announced he had evidence Allen had abused Dylan. Allen had charged that Maco's statement essentially convicted him of child abuse and prejudiced his custody fight.

___

DECEMBER 1997:

Allen marries Soon-Yi in Venice, Italy. The couple continues on to France, where the newspaper Le Monde describes the American reaction to Farrow's charges as "the outrage of a certain America, family-oriented and puritanical, against a man that didn't conform enough..." Allen and Soon-Yi will go on to adopt two daughters, Bechet and Manzie.

___

FEBRUARY 2012:

Allen wins his fourth Oscar for "Midnight in Paris."

___

OCTOBER 2013:

In Vanity Fair, Dylan Farrow gives author Orth her first comments on the record, saying in part: "I have never been asked to testify. If I could talk to the seven-year-old Dylan, I would tell her to be brave, to testify."

___

JANUARY 2014:

Allen gets the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes; as is his practice, he doesn't attend. Ronan Farrow tweets: "Did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?" Mia Farrow tweets the next day: "A woman has publicly detailed Woody Allen's molestation of her at age 7. Golden Globe tribute showed contempt for her & all abuse survivors." (Robert Weide, director and producer of a PBS documentary about Allen, notes in a widely circulated article on The Daily Beast that Farrow had specifically agreed to the use of her "Purple Rose of Cairo" clip in the Globe montage.)

___

FEBRUARY 2014:

Dylan Farrow pens her open letter, which appears on the blog of New York Times columnist and Mia Farrow friend Nicholas Kristof. "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse," she writes. Allen's publicist responds: "Mr. Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful." Two days later Mia Farrow tweets: "I love my daughter. I will always protect her. A lot of ugliness is going to be aimed at me. But this is not about me, it's about her truth."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google