Film director Woody Allen defended himself on Friday from newly published accusations by his now-adult adopted daughter that he molested her as a child, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and the product of a bitter custody battle with his former partner, actress Mia Farrow.
An advance copy of an Allen op-ed piece to be published in the Sunday edition of the New York Times was posted online five days after Dylan Farrow, 28, revived and elaborated on the decades-old accusation in an open letter on the Times website. Allen was never arrested or prosecuted after the allegations of sexual abuse against him surfaced in 1993 and were investigated by state police in Connecticut, where Mia Farrow and her children lived.
He said the accusations originally struck him as “so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought”. And he quoted findings from a review of the case by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, which he said concluded: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr Allen.”
He said he agreed with the clinic’s findings that Dylan’s account was likely to be the product of “an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family” and was “coached or influenced by her mother”.
“Of course, I did not molest Dylan,” Allen wrote. “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.”
Dylan Farrow stood by her allegations in a statement published on the ABC News website on Friday. “Woody Allen has an arsenal of lawyers and publicists but the one thing he does not have on his side is the truth,” she said. “I won’t let the truth be buried and I won’t be silenced.”
Reuters was not able immediately to reach representatives for Mia and Dylan Farrow for comment. Mia Farrow, now 68, who appeared in more than a dozen of Allen’s films, ended a 12-year relationship with the director in 1992 amid revelations that he had an affair with her then-22-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, whom Allen later married.
Allen has long asserted that Farrow fabricated the molestation claims against him and planted them in Dylan’s mind as a ploy to damage him in the custody battle that ensued. The sex abuse claim against the prolific four-time Oscar winner, famed for such films as “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan”, was first revisited by Dylan Farrow and her mother in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine last year.