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Woody Allen responds


Updated below


When I originally linked to Dylan Farrow’s NYT letter I did a little digging, and was surprised to discover that in all the back and forth regarding this matter there seemed to be no discussion of the potential significance of Dory Previn’s song “With My Daddy in the Attic.” The lyrics, written sometime between 1968, when Andre Previn’s and Mia Farrow’s affair broke up the Previns’ marriage, and 1970, when Dory Previn released an album featuring the song (along with the better-known “Beware of Young Girls,” which is about the Farrow-Previn affair), describe an incest fantasy. The protagonists are a young girl and her father — who, like Woody Allen, plays the clarinet. The scene of the trysts is an attic.

In his response, Allen addresses this issue:

Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, “With My Daddy in the Attic.” It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia’s betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, “Beware of Young Girls.” One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother? Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda? That is to hurt me with a smear. There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.

Now of course the song is not a completely unambiguous piece of evidence for the proposition that Mia Farrow coached her daughter to confabulate a false accusation against Allen. A zealous prosecutor could, one supposes, argue that Allen got the idea for his purported crime from the song. But it’s easy enough to see why no charges were brought against Allen.

What seems clear is that a terrible crime was committed against Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old. What will remain unclear is what that crime actually was.

Update: Dylan Farrow’s response to Allen’s op-ed is reproduced here.

Also, all this reminds me of what Newt Gingrich, family man, had to say at the time regarding a family tragedy:

“I call this the Woody Allen plank,“ said Gingrich, a fierce Republican conservative, of the Democratic Party platform. “Watch the Woody Allen case and measure:

“Woody Allen is not having incest with his non-daughter for whom he has been a non-father because they have a non-family,“ Gingrich said. “It`s a weird situation and it fits the Democrat Party platform perfectly.“

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  • Gary Glitter

    What seems clear is that a terrible crime was committed against Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old.

    Because an issue involves child abuse doesn’t change the need for real evidence. Someone coming forward years later when they’re 28 and making accusations does not do it for me.

    Is there anything else?

    • jackrabbitslim

      I think the point is that either she was raped, which is horrible, or she was manipulated into thinking she was raped, which is horrible.

      • I see either an SF story or a law-exam question here.

        Alice builds device that can implant her desired false memories in its target, and uses it to convince Bob that he was sexually molested as a child, complete w false details, sensations etc. The machine doesn’t work in reverse. Alice’s act is detected and she is arrested and charged with child molestation. Right result? Why or why not?

        • Just Dropping By

          Seems like the wrong result to me. I’m not aware of any laws relating to child molestation that depend on the victim’s subjective belief that they have been victimized. (Indeed, it’s not uncommon for people to be prosecuted for child molestation despite the victim’s subjective belief that they weren’t victimized.)

          • But if I deliberately *create* that subjective belief?

            I’m just playing with “I remember I was raped (because I was raped)” and “I remember I was raped (because someone instilled that memory in me)” – the latter is not self-evidently a better state of being than the former.

      • Njorl

        I was surprised to find that even in cases of false allegations in custody battles, it is usually a case of genuine mistaken belief, not maliciousness (by about a 4 to 1 ratio).

        It is not at all hard to believe that Allen would behave in a manner that would make Farrow suspicious. Given those suspicions, it is not hard to believe that Farrow would behave in a manner which would cause a child to confabulate abuse and believe it. It is evidently not a rare phenomenon.

        • Good point – maybe we needed a 4th thread after all!

        • GoDeep

          Maliciousness has been known to happen as well.

          Chaneya says the more she denied any abuse, the more irate her mother became – and even threatened her with a belt. According to Chaneya, her mother said, “If you don’t tell me the answer that I want to hear, I’m going to beat you.” To avoid a beating, says Chaneya, she told her mother that her father molested her even though it wasn’t true…

          After her father’s conviction, authorities removed Chaneya from her mother’s custody, citing Charade’s drug abuse, and she was sent to live with her grandmother, Pat Thomas, a Pentecostal minister. It was there – six months after her father’s conviction — that Chaneya told her grandmother that she was never raped, and that the story had been born out of fear of her mother…

          Today, Chaneya’s mom Charade says she’s been drug-free for many years. In a recent interview with NBC News, Charade confirmed that she threatened her daughter with a beating, and said she can’t remember why she was so determined to make Chaneya say she had been molested. She blames the incident on a drug binge. “I [had been] gone for three days. And I was really deep in the grip of my addiction.” When asked why she would threaten her daughter if she didn’t lie, Charade said, “I have no idea, I really don’t.”

          Between the tangle of conflicting motives and little forensics/evidence this unfortunately is a real, big human tragedy of epic proportions. And for all involved, child, parents, and justice system.

    • Anonymous

      There’s a subtle irony at work here, Gary Glitter.

    • cpinva

      “Someone coming forward years later when they’re 28 and making accusations does not do it for me.”

      she came forward when she was 7, not just 21 years later. it was investigated, with no charges being brought. that, by itself, doesn’t qualify as “nothing happened”, just that the investigation failed to find sufficient evidence that something happened, and who the responsible party was. something horrible happened to this girl, when she was 7, what that was, and who the perpetrator was, remains a mystery.

      • thebewilderness

        I don’t think people realize how often charges are not brought by prosecutors for the sake of the child, or so they often say. To spare the seven year old child from the traumatic adversarial court experience.
        It has been a stand by of prosecutors for at least sixty years that I know of.

        • postmodulator

          IANAL, but that is surprising to me given that “the adversarial court experience” is only experienced by about two percent of defendants last I heard.

          The scenario I would expect to be far more common from what I know of the American court system would be: padded indictment against accused child molester results in potential multiple life sentences, accused pleads down, draws fifteen-ish years and placement on sex offenders’ list. I mean, that’s what happens to drug offenders.

          (That, of course, would not work on Woody Allen because he’d figure he could get awesome lawyers and beat it. And probably he’d be right.)

          • Jay

            The drug offenders are typically unquestionably guilty, though. The government has the drugs in an evidence locker somewhere. Same with child p-rn offenses, which are typically prosecuted federally (evidence is on the seized hard drive). When you’re talking about contact offenses, it’s a whole other story. Plenty (against adults or children) get dropped for concerns about lack of evidence.

            • postmodulator

              In a strange way, I find that heartening. I honestly kind of thought that if prosecutors said “child molester!” to a jury, the jury would convict without leaving the box regardless of evidence or lack thereof.

              • thebewilderness

                Given how many cases are in the news where the judge determines that the 11 year old child was responsible for her own rape I must admit that your being heartened by the fact that step fathers are rarely charged with their crimes “for the sake of the child” creeps me right the hell out.

                • William Berry

                  Yeah, well, you should check out post m’s MRAish crap in the other Allen/ Farrow threads. Then, this one will make more sense.

                • postmodulator

                  I’m…I’m an MRA? I like hate those guys.

                  I can’t believe I’m even having to say this, but failure to get convictions against actually guilty child molesters is a Bad Thing. I’m agin it.

          • One notable aspect of the OJ Simpson case is they didn’t even ask for the death penalty, even though it met the criteria. Prosecutors act completely different with rich suspects.

  • Only a girl

    Why is Mia totally responsible for the end of the Previns’ marriage? I understand why Dory Previn would blame the other woman. That is a very common response, blaming women for what men do.
    But Woody is using specific language to smear Mia. If he really thinks that the other woman is to blame, then Soon Yi betrayed her mother by insidiously stealing him.
    Men aren’t responsible for their actions, in this framing. Women (or girls) made them act the way they did.

    Thesis is that Mia controlled Dylan’s behavior and mind. Supporting statement is that she controlled Previn. Hmmm.

    • Bargal20

      I think Allen is just relaying the gist of Dory Previn’s song, which most definitely places the blame squarely on Mia.

      • Only a girl

        I think Woody is a writer who chooses words carefully.

        I am not aware of any evidence that he thinks that he did anything wrong in any of his relationships, most notably in developing a relationship with Soon Yi while still involved with her mother.

        I have no idea what happened to Dylan.

        But I do think Woody is a creep who thinks that nothing is ever his fault, and he can very cleverly entertain people while avoiding responsibility.

        • postmodulator

          I must have met thousands of people in my life, and been pretty close friends with three or four dozen. (I move around a lot.) I can think of maybe four who think they’ve done “anything wrong in any of [their] relationships.” It’s just not how humans operate.

          • TexanD

            I must move in different circles. Or maybe I am just older.

            Most of the people I know try to analyze experiences and change behavior to get better outcomes. Even some stubborn ones, after a series of failed relationships, started thinking that maybe they had something to do with it.
            After all, if you meet one person who acts like an asshole, they’re an asshole. If everyone you meet is an asshole, it’s time to look at the common factor.

            • postmodulator

              I dunno. I’m not young-ish myself. But I’ve known an awful lot of people who are otherwise decent, have no problems admitting error in other areas of their lives, but are absolutely convinced that every failed relationship they’ve ever had was entirely because their partner was totally worthless.

    • Ronan

      Of course he’s going to use that narrative if he’s defending his reputation(assuming innocence) though I’d imagine most people here would agree guilt lies with the husband Previn in this case

    • LoriK

      He also apparently considers the fact that he was newly involved with Soon Yi at the time of the alleged incident to be an argument in his favor. Because no one who is “newly in love” has ever molested anyone. This is not actually how reality works.

    • I hate “alienation of affection” narratives. As you point out, they always blame women for conduct that is a two way street (and husbands aren’t property anyway– yeah, sometimes they fall in love with someone else, or decide that monogamy isn’t for them; wives do this too sometimes).

      But I will say this about Allen’s essay– the one point he actually scores is on the whole “Ronan is Frank Sinatra’s son” narrative. There’s no way that Mia Farrow’s airing that in public reflects well on Mia.

      It doesn’t make the allegations of “coaching” Dylan true, of course. But Allen’s right that Mia should not have done that.

  • kerFuFFler

    I cannot help but be struck by the absolute certainty expressed by Dylan supporters in what is at best a very murky situation. Woody’s supporters and even people on the fence are all reviled for furthering rape culture and blaming victims.

    What a lot of it boils down to is whether one believes it is possible for a seven year old to have formed a false memory—–not through a desire to lie, but rather an honest distortion influenced by strong emotions and the questioning of a NOT disinterested party, Mia.

    What scientists have learned about memory is that people will honestly swear to memories that they cannot possibly have when they experience the “filmstrip” in their heads of situations they have only heard about repeatedly. Even mature individuals can inadvertently distort memories of events, especially events they think about frequently. The brain fills in all sorts of gaps and the infill eventually becomes an accepted part of the memory.

    Whether or not Dylan’s memories are accurate remains a mystery. I think it is a shame that people who acknowledge this are reviled by a vocal faction of feminists who insist that Dylan’s narrative not be challenged in any way.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I cannot help but be struck by the absolute certainty expressed by Dylan supporters

      [cites omitted]

      • Brien Jackson
        • Scott Lemieux

          One anonymous, never-before seen commenter stands in for the class of “Dylan supporters” — where are we, Instapundit? Is there some guy with a sign somewhere too?

          • Brien Jackson

            Well, I picked that one because it was right here in this thread. But yeah, there have been plenty of commenters, including regular ones (shakezula comes to mind first) who have taken the de facto position that “I have no idea what did or didn’t happen” amounts to overt rape apologia.

            • Scott Lemieux

              When you start using phrases like “de facto position,” I think I can see why there are no specific cites to alleged expressions of “certainty” from regular commenters, let alone writers.

              • Brien Jackson

                Well, by “de facto” I mean statements to the effect of “I’m not calling you a rape apologist, but if you think it’s possible a seven year old developed false memories that’s rape apology.”

                • brad

                  And there was the admittedly not a regular “Larry” who came in after the fact and explicitly called everyone who doubted Dylan Farrow to be a rape apologist and, indeed, worse.

                  Honestly, SL, you’re being willfully thick.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  the admittedly not a regular

                  Honestly, SL, you’re being willfully thick.

                  Yes, how could I possibly think this argument is a strawman buttressed by egregious nutpicking?

                • brad


                  There has been a lot of anger and venom thrown back and forth by both sides. You can stay in one camp and deny the flaws of the other, or you can try to be a fair observer.

                • brad

                  Geh, I need more caffeine still today.
                  Crappy phrasing, but I think my intent was clear.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well fuck, wasn’t this the entire basic framework of the Bady article so many people have been approvingly citing?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  wasn’t this the entire basic framework of the Bady article


                • kc

                  Well fuck, wasn’t this the entire basic framework of the Bady article so many people have been approvingly citing?


                • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

                  I didn’t get past the first graf of Bady’s piece, where he sets up the straw man that Allen and those who decline to rush to judgment are accusing Dylan Farrow of lying.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Yes, how could I possibly think this argument is a strawman buttressed by egregious nutpicking?

                  Because it’s emotionally easier than admitting the truth, after you went so far out on a limb.

                • joe from Lowell

                  From the Bady article, which Scott claims does not argue, “I’m not calling you a rape apologist, but if you think it’s possible a seven year old developed false memories that’s rape apology.”

                  If you are saying things like “We can’t really know what happened” and extra-specially pleading on behalf of the extra-special Woody AllenHi, The Daily Beast!, then you are saying that his innocence is more presumptive than hers. You are saying that he is on trial, not her: he deserves judicial safeguards in the court of public opinion, but she does not… In a rape culture, you can use your ignorance to cast doubt on her knowledge; you can admit that you have no basis for casting doubt on Dylan’s statement, and then you can ignore her account of herself.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        that’s a bit much. every fuckin’ one of these threads loads up with people who seem to think they *know* what happened and that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is either a rape enabler or participating in a lynch mob

        • Anna in PDX

          Yeah, I bowed out after that term was used against me, I think it was the very first thread on the topic.

          • Anna in PDX

            I believe they called me either rape apologist or enabler.

            • postmodulator

              That’s not so bad. I apparently think all women are lying crazy bitches.

              • postmodulator

                And today I’m an MRA! I’m going to go search the house for my fedora — I must have one somewhere.

      • kerFuFFler

        I cannot help but be struck by the absolute certainty expressed by Dylan supporters

        [cites omitted]

        One anonymous, never-before seen commenter stands in for the class of “Dylan supporters”…..?

        I did not cite specific quotes sure enough, and I was not limiting my observation to regular commenters only on threads here, but rather from my impressions of several threads I’ve skimmed—–hence no detailed footnotes.

        But I do remember that Aimai (sp?) said in a thread here, among other things, that she was certain a bunch of Woody’s child rape victims would surface eventually.

        No, I have provided no link. It was bad enough reading through the threads that one time. I am certainly not going to scour through the whole things again to support what seems a fair generalization.

        • postmodulator

          Are you sure that was Aimai? I made a most similar comment, but it was speculative, not certain.

          • kerFuFFler

            aimai says:
            February 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm
            Having read the Gawker piece about Bill Cosby I’m reminded by one of the commenters there that of the Jimmy Saville case in the UK. Right up until the guy died and was buried he had his defenders and the accusations and even testimony of people about what he’d been up to were dismissed.

            My point here is that Women and Children are very, very, very, seldom believed when they make accusations against important men and after these guys die and they can no longer buy off the opposition, or hire lawyers to shut people up, or make us laugh, suddenly you get the Saville case and people in power and journalists and everyone else say “well, hoocodanode?” So sorry.

            Does it matter? Yes–because I am certain that once Allen is dead and buried it will come out that Dylan was neither the first nor the last minor child who he molested and the same people logic chopping about the age of Soon Yi etc… will be so shocked to discover it. And by looking the other way society has enabled it–just as society has enabled Cosby and enabled Saville.

            • postmodulator

              Huh. I often agree with Aimai. Apparently not always.

              • Scott can’t even remember comments from a few days ago. Memory seems less and less credible.

                • kerFuFFler


      • joe from Lowell

        I cannot help but be struck by the absolute certainty expressed by Dylan supporters

        [cites omitted]

        You have got to be kidding me.

    • It’s possible to look at the situation without taking sides. The difficulty is that any attempt to question the narrative of those who take sides is seen as advocacy for the opposite camp.

      • postmodulator

        Possible but hard. I can’t think of an interpretation of these events in which something horrible hasn’t definitely happened to the majority of the parties. (As pointed out upthread, Dylan Farrow has been badly victimized here even if Mia Farrow is as manipulative and evil as Lady Macbeth.)

        • postmodulator

          Posted too soon. I meant to go on to add, people don’t like injustice. It rankles. So they take opinions that they think are just.

          • Just an opinion, but I think it’s more accurate to say that people want vengence – they want somebody to pay.

            Whether it’s an actual guilty party gets lost in the emotional storm.

            • postmodulator

              Yeah, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance, I think, that happens to make people think they’re on the side of justice when actually they just want to see some blood. It’s one of the ugly things about humanity.

        • I think one aspect of this that is obvious is that Woody’s choice to have an affair with, take pornographic pictures with, and dump his partner for, Soon-Yi Previn devastated the family.

          And that’s one area where I think people ought to agree about pushing back against Woody Allen. No matter what you think about what happened to Dylan, one of the worst parts of his essay is that he portrays Mia as a madwoman without even alluding to what, exactly, made her so mad. In fact, this is the exactly the sort of harm to so many people whom Woody claimed to love that should have caused him to keep it in his pants whenever the Soon-Yi thing started to happen.

    • mpowell

      Completely harmless but I learned at one point that I had completely invented a memory as an adult by hearing a story, forgetting a few of the details, and later misremembering that I had been there for the event. This happened in the span of about 2 years. At that point I realized that human memory was much more unreliable than most people imagine. You don’t just forget things. You can have a real memory of things that did not happen.

      • Brien Jackson

        I was just at a family funeral, and my dad and I had completely different recollections of the same event from when I was ~9 years old.

  • lawguy

    The more I read about the investigation at the time, the less I believe Dylan. I know from professional experience (defending a couple of clients against allegations from small children) that it is possible to get kids to describe things that didn’t happen.

    Also, do not forget that the early 90s were the height of the day care freak out and people were, if anything, more likely to believe those sorts of things than they are now (and no I am NOT referring to recovered memories).

    • I don’t like talking about these details–they’re none of my business–but I feel the opposite way. There are details described by others, as well, I think credibly, about the “inappropriate” behavior that to me is borderline sexual and in some cases absolutely crossing the line, ALL of which I can see a judge or jury or panel of the time considering as “strange but not sexual abuse.” The way we now feel about simple things like a grown man holding a girl of one age or another in his lap has changed a lot in recent decades.

      • True, but the recent awareness of abuse is why we see it differently. (Certainly it’s why I wont do it.) 25 years ago, was all that so ingrained?

        • “recent awareness” of adults and adult males: That doesn’t mean it didn’t feel like abuse to the child. Now you’re likely, I suppose, to lawyer yourself up and say either (a) this means the abuse is in the mind of the child and isn’t real, or (b) this means she took her feelings about what objectively isn’t abuse and made up a fact to fit her feelings. Both (a) and (b) are nonsense. The fact that in the child’s awareness it’s sexual abuse is possibly the major reason our recent awareness has changed at all.

          • I was meaning “The way we now feel about simple things like a grown man holding a girl of one age or another in his lap has changed a lot in recent decades,” not addressing the separate & interesting question of when anything changed in children’s subjective senses of feeling abused.

            • We’re talking at cross-purposes, maybe. I meant to refer to a man having a girl sitting on his lap, even asking her to do so, even her parents insisting that she politely do as he asks when she says it makes her uncomfortable, as being at one end of a continuum of things that might or might not be considered sexual to an outside, “objective” observer.

              I don’t know what you meant to say regarding “awareness.” Maybe you could be more explicit.

  • New Name, Bros

    Lawyers, Guns and Rape Apologetics

    • Brien Jackson
      • New Name, Bros

        Mia Farrow is also a rape apologist.

        But this isn’t about her, it’s about her daughter.

        Nice derailing though.

        • Brien Jackson

          Sorry, I was inviting you to let Polanski’s victim know that she’s a rape apologist.

          • I have the utmost respect for Samantha Geimer. But I remember when she argued publicly for allowing Polanski to come back and dropping the charges against him.

            And the problem is, as much as she was the victim of a horrifying crime, the criminal justice system is not about one victim. There are all sorts of reasons why Polanski has to face justice– he was a serial offender, he used his money and power to escape justice, examples need to be made of fugitives, etc.

            Geimer has an important perspective that deserves to be heard. She is not a rape apologist. But there is more to these cases than the narrow interests of one particular victim. (And, of course, it is notable that in this instance, the victim is not as interested in “moving on” as Geimer was from what happened to her.)

    • Jeffrey Beaumont

      This is getting out of hand. Discussing the questions surrounding a crime does not in any way amount to justifying or minimizing the crime. Sometimes the facts are unclear, and parsing them isn’t the same thing as saying molesting kids is OK. This is a really bad way to argue or debate.

  • Denverite

    I don’t think Allen served himself well here. The potshots at Mia may (or may not) be deserved, but they make him seem small and nearly as bitter as he says she is. A better tack would have been to stick to the facts, or better yet, have someone do it on his behalf.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Allen has done what virtually everybody who’s written about this in the last few days has done: convinced nearly everyone on all sides that they’re right about what they already believed.

      • Denverite

        Actually, I’ve gone from “he probably didn’t do it” (based on the independent panel exonerating him) to thinking it’s at least 50-50 that he did (based on the multiple stories of inappropriate conduct predating the allegation).

        • But predating or postdating the Soon-Yi blowup? Because I don’t trust anything alleged or reported after Mia hit the ceiling.

          … As for Allen speaking out, well, it’s bad if he’s guilty. If he’s not, then I can’t judge him for it; these allegations ruined his relationships w his kids in a way not even the Soon-Yi affair had to.

        • Manny Kant

          Were there any stories of inappropriate conduct that became public prior to the allegation? After the allegation, there’s that Orth article where Mia Farrow and various friends and relatives of hers, along with unnamed “sources close to Allen,” make allegations of this sort, but I’ve not seen anything that came out in public prior to the allegation.

          • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

            The professional who referred Allen to therapy for these “inappropriate” behaviors is on the record saying they were not sexual in nature. Sorry no cite; I think it was in the court docs from the custody case.

      • joe from Lowell

        Allen has done what virtually everybody who’s written about this in the last few days has done: convinced nearly everyone on all sides that they’re right about what they already believed.

        Allow me to second this comment, and add that it applies equally well to those of us in the reality-based “I don’t know” contingent.

    • brad

      I have to agree. The angry tone I can ascribe to him being an asshole and, if innocent of the crimes, some justifiable desire to push back. But it ain’t self-aware to respond like that, it’ll further inflame those for whom this feels personal, and making it all about Mia makes me wonder, quite a bit.
      As does the attempt to use him having a (legal, consensual) relationship with a 17 year old against Farrow. That detail bothers me a lot and makes me question him.

  • muddy

    I loved the part where he whined that he might have been paying financial support to Sinatra’s kid.

    Well, that convinced me! Clearly Allen in the one who really suffered the abuse here.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Also, if I were Allen or his supporters, I would deal with Soon-Yi by just arguing that his actions are irrelevant, which is not entirely unreasonable. Instead, they seem to implicitly concede its relevance by bringing it up and then trying to minimize it — in this case, pretending that the only reason someone might find using your life partner’s children as a dating pool objectionable is because of the age difference.

      • muddy

        He also speaks of Soon-Yi being in her early 20’s. I presume she was at least 20 on the exact day with the judge he mentions, else he would not have witten it, but it’s pretty deceptive.

        You can see pictures of them where she is a child and he is old already. He tries to present it as an entirely adult relationship. That relationship was formed well before she was an adult.

        • Egg MacGuffin

          I haven’t seen any of these photos. Do you have an example? I did see one photo that various unscrupulous people were passing along claiming it was of him and Soon-Yi, but it is clearly not, since the girl looks nothing like Soon-Yi, and also Allen is in his 70s in the photo. I don’t know if this is the photo you’re speaking of, but I think it just might be.

          • Manny Kant

            Here and here are pictures of Allen, Farrow, Soon-yi and some or all of the other children.

      • MDrew

        What the fuck is a life partner?

        If you have a life partner and you’re not in an explicitly open relationship with her, is there any dating pool that extends beyond her that is not objectionable by prevailing standards?

        Again, what the fuck is life partner?

    • calling all toasters

      Absolutely. Instances of dishonesty in custody cases can never be a predictor of other instances of dishonesty in custody cases. It’s just thrown in there as a plea for sympathy because everyone knows that Woody could barely afford it.

    • I actually thought the Sinatra section was effective. Doesn’t exonerate Woody Allen of the charges regarding Dylan, of course. But certainly Mia’s conduct in washing that particular piece of laundry in public doesn’t reflect well on her at all.

  • Sophie

    But it’s easy enough to see why no charges were brought against Allen.

    This is a disappointing post and a disappointing remark. The reason charges weren’t brought is because no one wanted to put Dylan through the trauma of testifying.

    I must say the discussion of this case here is very strange, as if the world of 20 years ago was some lost age without civilization or writing, and the case can only be evaluated in terms of what Dylan says now and whatever clever thing Woody Allen has written in his defense.

    In fact there was a great deal of investigation at the time, and the judge’s opinion on the case was damning. Read the whole thing: http://www.vanityfair.com/dam/2014/02/woody-allen-1992-custody-suit.pdf

    You might also read this: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/02/woody-allen-sex-abuse-10-facts

    The big theme for so many of you is what a dishonest manipulative nutball Mia Farrow is. Fascinating that this is treated as a given; it’s a testament to the effectiveness of Sony’s and Woody Allen’s PR over the last 20 years. In contrast, for me and everyone I know who followed the case when it happened and read the court proceedings, the overarching takeaway was (and remains) that Woody Allen is a narcissistic amoral manipulative bastard. This was a personal disappointment to me at the time because I was a big Woody Allen fan. But my god, the man is a creep.

    • Brien Jackson

      Didn’t Moses Farrow basically call Mia an abusive, maniipulative nutball?

      • Sophie

        Very recently, when he publicly announced his reconciliation with Woody Allen. Do you know anything about Moses Farrow? He was a baby when Mia and Woody got together. Growing up in the household, he was the only child without an official father (the older children were all Andre Previn’s, either biological or adopted). He had a problem with that and as a little boy attached himself to Woody, who couldn’t have cared less. Moses sort of hero-worshiped him, longed for him to be his daddy, asked him to adopt him. Woody finally did adopt him as a package deal when he adopted Dylan—because he wanted to be close to Dylan. When the affair with Soon-Yi happened, Moses was shattered and refused to have any contact with Woody.

        The whole thing is tragic. Read the judge’s decision in the custody dispute. Woody Allen didn’t know jack shit about the child, didn’t even know where he slept or what grade he was in or anything else. And the boy worshiped him.

        Moses has no doubt had a difficult time over the years. I personally think he has now found a way to solve his problem, by subconsciously deciding to believe what he needs to believe.

        • Brien Jackson

          Wait, are you suggesting that Moses Farrow made up allegations against Mia Farrow to reconcile his emotional needs brought on by his fucked up childhood?

          • Right. Dylan’s recollections are true; Moses’s are false. We have a CONCLUSION to reach here, folks!

            • Brien Jackson

              Also makes little sense on its own terms. To wit:

              Moses sort of hero-worshiped him, longed for him to be his daddy, asked him to adopt him. […] When the affair with Soon-Yi happened, Moses was shattered and refused to have any contact with Woody.

              That’s a weird sort of blind devotion.

            • While I think elaborate psychologising about people we don’t know who are in a complex situation is unwise (thus, I don’t think this theorising about Moses’s motivations is likely to be helpful), there is a pretty strong disanalogy between Dylan’s and Moses’s published claims. Dylan gives a detailed, first person account of what recalls occurring to her. Moses makes claims about Dylan:

              Moses Farrow also said his sister did not have any ill feelings towards their father growing up.

              “Of course Woody did not molest my sister,” he told People. “She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit.”.

              I’m very surprised than any person with therapy training would make such a claim. Abuse victims conceal their distress or have it ignored all the time.

              “She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him. The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces … I don’t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother.”


              I find an assertion about where everyone was over several hours many years ago in a chaotic household which then erupted into greater chaos inherently non credible.

              I don’t knew if he’s being quoted accurately, but I don’t think it’s arguing from the conclusion to note the difference between these claims.

              • Also:

                Dylan’s claim of abuse was consistent with the testimony of three adults who were present that day. On the day of the alleged assault, a babysitter of a friend told police and gave sworn testimony that Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes, while she was at the house. Another babysitter told police and also swore in court that on that same day, she saw Allen with his head on Dylan’s lap facing her body, while Dylan sat on a couch “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.” A French tutor for the family told police and testified that that day she found Dylan was not wearing underpants under her sundress. The first babysitter also testified she did not tell Farrow that Allen and Dylan had gone missing until after Dylan made her statements. These sworn accounts contradict Moses Farrow’s recollection of that day in People magazine

                • Brien Jackson

                  I wasn’t referring to Moses’ claims regarding Dylan’s allegations, but to other statements he’s made about being abused and “brainwashed” by Mia.

                • Egg MacGuffin

                  This is probably where the DA gets “probable cause”. There’s other testimony from a different babysitter (and Moses, but that’s less credible, as you mention) that contradicts these statements, so we’re left with circumstantial evidence vs a psych/medical exam. Gotta agree with Paul that there was no way to ever prosecute this.

                • I wasn’t referring to Moses’ claims regarding Dylan’s allegations, but to other statements he’s made about being abused and “brainwashed” by Mia.

                  Sure, hence my disclaimer that I think psychological analysis isn’t really wise esp in service of in invalidating his memory.

                  But that’s not really the pertinent part of his claims, is it? Esp with regard to reasoning from a conclusion?

                  The fact that he’s running roughshod over Dylan and making statements not just about her psychological state but its ethology is pretty bad, yes? The non interpretative parts of his claims are consistent with abuse happening.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well he’s not exactly a disinterested party, so I’m not really eager to say what he’s done is good or bad, anymore than Dylan saying he “betrayed” them good or bad. As I said below, I think everyone in this family seems to be amazingly self absorbed.

                • Well he’s not exactly a disinterested party,

                  True, but sort of irrelevant.

                  so I’m not really eager to say what he’s done is good or bad,

                  I’m not sure how that follows for this specific bad. Making conclusive statements about someone else’s state of mind and experiences you were not witness to is not credible and making such denialist claims about a person who claims to be abused seems straight up problematic.

                  anymore than Dylan saying he “betrayed” them good or bad.

                  But that’s not the relevant statement to compare, is it?

                • Brien Jackson

                  My point was that Moses seems to very much have his own childhood pain that he may or may not have worked through, and that there’s a lot of personal stuff going on here between all of them. I’m just not inclined to pass judgment on behavior in those contexts, especially on people I don’t know in the slightest.

                • Oh, that I agree with. I see my prior comments are probably more judgemental of him than they should be. I still think that a therapist should be more cautious about such claims, but obviously the whole thing is a mess.

                • “Running roughshod over Dylan”??? Horseshit. She is vociferously accusing him of molesting her. What a bizarre statement for you to make. Ever been accused of molesting a child? Write the etiquette guide after you are.

                • “Running roughshod over Dylan”??? Horseshit. She is vociferously accusing him of molesting her. What a bizarre statement for you to make.

                  Since I was talking about Moses and not Woody and, to my knowledge, Dylan has not accused Moses of molesting her, I don’t think my statement is bizarre at all, and certainly not in the mode you accuse.

                  Ever been accused of molesting a child? Write the etiquette guide after you are.

                  This is…interesting, and I think probably something you’d want to retract.

                • kc

                  Making conclusive statements about someone else’s state of mind and experiences you were not witness to

                  He was a witness. He observed her, he saw how she behaved, he was in the house on the pertinent day.

                  You can believe him or not, but don’t say he wasn’t a witness.

                • Making conclusive statements about someone else’s state of mind and experiences you were not witness to

                  He was a witness. He observed her, he saw how she behaved, he was in the house on the pertinent day.

                  I agree with the fact that he observed her and how she behaved and was in the house on the pertinent day. If he limited himself to claims about those things, I’d have no quarrel with it.

                  You can believe him or not, but don’t say he wasn’t a witness.

                  So, first, I didn’t say he wasn’t a witness, in the general sense. I am saying that he was making conclusive statements about her state of mind (which he can only infer), whether she had been molested by Woody (which obviously he can’t rule out in general by witnessing; that’s an inference), and that no one was in a private space (“We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces” so was he in the same room as her the whole time? no one went to the bathroom? etc. etc.).

                  He’s making a lot of inferences, and that’s what I’m objecting too. I’m sorry if I made it seem like he wasn’t around. He obviously was.

              • Egg MacGuffin

                Dylan gives a detailed, first person account of what recalls occurring to her.

                This is not surprising; she was asked to testify about the incident many times over the course of months. The very act of retelling makes the details solidify. As I think jfL said, all we can truly take from this is that she told the story a lot.

                • First, his seems to put Dylan in a double bind: her aims are deemed to be coached if they shift and if they are stable. If you want to say that this is he said she said and suspension of belief is all that can be done, fine. Otherwise, it would be helpful to know what conditions would make her credible in your eyes.

                  Second, you miss my point. Dylan is making statements of fact about specific first hand experiences. Moses is making interpretative statements about Dylan’s state of mind and about negatives that he was not in a good space to verify. Finding the later less prima facie credible than the former does not require reasoning from your conclusion or any analysis of either’s psychology.

                • Had her mother gone straight to the cops, instead of spending the weekend working on a video, maybe Dylan would be more credible. It’s not her fault Mia chose to play cop.

                • Had her mother gone straight to the cops, instead of spending the weekend working on a video,

                  My, how charitable and fair minded a phrasing!

                  maybe Dylan would be more credible. It’s not her fault Mia chose to play cop.

                  Here’s one account of what happened:

                  That day, August 5, Casey called Mia to report something the baby-sitter had told her. The day before, Casey’s baby-sitter had been in the house looking for one of the three Pascal children and had been startled when she walked into the TV room. Dylan was on the sofa, wearing a dress, and Woody was kneeling on the floor holding her, with his face in her lap. The baby-sitter did not consider it “a fatherly pose,” but more like something you’d say “Oops, excuse me” to if both had been adults. She told police later that she was shocked. “It just seemed very intimate. He seemed very comfortable.”

                  As soon as Mia asked Dylan about it, Dylan began to tell a harrowing story, in dribs and drabs but in excruciating detail. According to her account, she and Daddy went to the attic (not really an attic, just a small crawl space off the closet of Mia’s bedroom where the children play), and Daddy told her that if she stayed very still he would put her in his movie and take her to Paris. He touched her “private part.” Dylan said she told him, “It hurts. I’m just a little kid.” The she told Mia, “Kids have to do what grown-ups say.” Mia, who has a small Beta video camera and frequently records her large brood, made a tape of Dylan for Dylan’s psychologist, who was in France at the time. “I don’t want to be in a movie with my daddy,” Dylan said, and asked, “Did your daddy ever do that to you?”

                  According to people close to the situation, Mia called her lawyer, who told her to take Dylan to her pediatrician in New Milford. When the doctor asked where her private part was, Dylan pointed to her shoulder. A few minutes later, over ice cream, she told Mia that she had been embarrassed to have to say anything about this to the doctor. Mia asked which story was true, because it was important that they know. They went back to the doctor the next day, and Dylan repeated her original story—one that has stayed consistent through many tellings to the authorities, who are in possession of the tape Mia made. The doctor examined Dylan and found that she was intact. He called his lawyer and then told Mia he was bound by law to report Dylan’s story to the police.

                  In this variant, Mia isn’t trying to “play cop” but to figure out what’s going on.

                  This is obviously derived from Mia, but I don’t see that you’re in any position to determine her intentions

        • calling all toasters

          …yet despite all this betrayal by Woody, despite the fact that he “was shattered and refused to have any contact with Woody,” he says this: “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.”

          But you knew that.

    • Paul Campos

      The ethical standard governing whether a DA brings criminal charges is whether the DA has a good faith belief that a reasonable jury would, given the totality of the evidence, find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charge.

      The charge against Allen would not have been that he was or is a narcissistic amoral creep (a proposition for which there seems to be a great deal of evidence).

      • dp

        Beyond a reasonable doubt on that, for sure.

        I find it interesting that people take such strong positions on events that they have no first hand knowledge of. The same thing happened with the Jameis Winston rape allegations.

        • Brien Jackson

          I don’t really get the comparison between this case and a case where there was no apparent reason for the victim to not have been telling the truth AND where law enforcement didn’t even pretend to have an interest in investigating the allegations.

    • Hannibal Lecture

      It is entirely possible (and indeed, probable) that “Mia Farrow is a dishonest manipulative nutball” and “Woody Allen is a narcissistic amoral manipulative bastard” are both true statements.

      • Brien Jackson

        And from here, Farrow certainly seems to be more than a touch narcissistic herself.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        This is exactly what I was going to say.

      • Anna in PDX


      • postmodulator

        I like that my choice of the word “nutball” has made it into general usage. I preen. But I think something that I didn’t make clear enough is my belief that Mia Farrow’s nutball-ness might be of a mostly benign nature.

        I was mostly basing it on the fact that she’s adopted eleven kids. Come on, that’s a weird thing to do. Good for her, and it’s not like she can’t afford to provide for them, but that’s totally nutty.

        Tabloids in the 80s, before the kerfuffle happened, used to run pictures of the Allen/Farrow/Previn brood out for a walk in NYC. They were unintentionally hilarious. You’d see Woody and Mia surrounded by this platoon of children.

        I vaguely heard some “Mommie Dearest” kind of allegations about Farrow at one point that were independent of the molestation allegations, but of course there’s been all sorts of allegations about everyone involved in this thing.

      • Jeffrey Beaumont

        I’d say that is self-evident

    • brad

      Aimai made a similar point in the first thread, and it remains a very good one. Neither Allen nor Farrow look good in this, to me at least, but calling her hysterical (loaded historical term used intentionally) is at the core of how he’s telling people to brush off her accusations. Whether or not he did what he’s accused of, he’s made clear he’s a huge, gaping asshole.
      Then again, his work and his own words have also always made that clear.

      • Ronan

        Afaicr aimai also expressed certainty that Aleena would “be found guilty ” with time

        • brad

          I can still see the wisdom of her position without being entirely in agreement. I’m not an Allen defender, I do understand why voicing doubts seem problematic to those more ready to believe he’s guilty, and the “I say this in extremely neutral terms” feminism based critique of the situation is valid.
          However, this is also a real world, complex case, with many disreputable actors. I find it more honest to admit I just don’t know. I don’t like that such does help leave room for rape culture, and I’m not trying to salvage some room to remain a fan. I just don’t know, and will not agree with those who “do”.

          • postmodulator

            To my way of thinking, the feminism-based critique of the situation has things totally nailed where it has focused on things like the deference to Allen based on him being a rich, powerful male.

            I think the feminism-based critique fails people when it leads to the conclusion “so he did it.”

            By way of shaky analogy: I think there was a valid feminism-based critique of the hubbub surrounding Duke lacrosse rape accusations. I actually even think there continues to be one. But it doesn’t follow that those people actually raped someone.

      • Ronan

        Also look at it this way. He’s either guilty and so a sociopath which would explain these responses , or innocent and deeply wronged, so the gendered tropes are to my mind understandable

        • brad

          No, he can be wronged and still be wrong.
          He’s still trying to play Dylan against Mia, still trying to manipulate, still refusing to accept any real responsibility for all the toxicity and simply blame Mia.
          That is wrong.

          • Brien Jackson

            This is true, but at the same time I’m a little loathe to pass judgment on tone in some cases like this. I mean, presume he’s innocent just for the sake of argument, and then imagine how composed and calm you’d be if you were being accused of child molestation in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and had a not unsubstantial number of people believing those accusations.

            • brad

              Mhm, and I do understand the anger someone innocent would feel about this. But I do think that dwelling on the feelings of the wrongfully accused is an unintentional part of rape culture.
              And he’s letting that anger be an excuse, in the best of readings, to not take responsibility and act like a damn adult. It’s not in his nature, his art alone tells us that, but it’s a real failing.

              • calling all toasters

                But I do think that dwelling on the feelings of the wrongfully accused is an unintentional part of rape culture.

                Yeah, Woody shouldn’t dwell on his own feelings, he should dwell on Mia’s. Or Dylan’s. Either of which also makes him a part of rape culture, as that is what predators do. Circle of win!

                • brad

                  Dylan is his daughter. If you think his words evidence any genuine concern for her well-being or recognition of the part he played in the unquestionable pain and damage she has suffered then we disagree on how to read them.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well, dude’s a narcissistic asshole who is estranged, to say the very least, from Mia/Dylan/Ronan Farrow. So yeah, he clearly doesn’t give two shits about their feelings.

                • calling all toasters


                  I loved [Dylan] 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. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way.

                  Why don’t you read the op-ed between now and your next comment?

                • brad

                  Oy vey. I read the whole thing yesterday, we see different things. Calm your insulting and off base rhetoric.

                • calling all toasters

                  But everything you say about it is the opposite of what is there.

                • brad

                  Unless, of course, one notices that there’s a perfunctory mention of “psychological toll” mixed with a lot of “what a loss for her it was to not be around me”.

                  You still need to calm down and accept that people have different interpretations than you do.

                • calling all toasters

                  I guess you’re referring to this:

                  Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness.

                  First, let me commend you on targeting something that is actually in the op-ed. That being said, that’s a helluva reading. It’s like Soon-Yi, Dylan’s sister, doesn’t exist in your reading. Not to mention the context of the atmosphere that Moses Farrow describes– of the family as an armed camp against Woody. I’m pretty sure that most people would consider that painful and damaging. But no doubt a sinister reading is also available.

                • Brien Jackson

                  It’s incredibly dickish in the context, yes.

                • brad

                  Yes, to minimize the agency of a now grown adult who believes herself to have been victimized by you in public?
                  Shitty thing to do.
                  To your daughter?
                  Fucking fuck, man.

                • calling all toasters

                  I see no evidence that he’s talking about the adult Dylan there. How could Mia “block” these attempts if Dylan were an adult? Why would he start doing this after an 11-year delay? It makes no sense. None. At all.

                • calling all toasters

                  Brien, we both know that if he didn’t even make a perfunctory expression of concern, he would be criticized for that, too, for being uncaring. And if he made more of an expression, or a more evocative one, he’d be called a sociopath for faking it so well.

                  It’s almost certainly a well-vetted statement, and all this psychologizing of it is just a little bizarre to me.

                • brad

                  Implicit and likely explicit, tho I’m not going to scan to check, in Dylan Farrow’s public statements is the idea that she recognized and was traumatized immediately by the abuse she suffered. Whatever the truth of it, this is what she remembers and believes, now, and what she’s believed since childhood. To say Mia kept him from her is to deny the validity of Dylan’s perspective, to not even acknowledge it. She would not have wanted to be near her abuser, nor would she now. That’s a choice made then continuing to the present day, which Woody is refusing to recognize she made. Regardless of the truth of the accusation, Dylan’s sense of victimization is real, she is a victim. To tell your own victim (from her perspective), in a public forum, that she isn’t even choosing for herself to not know you as her father?
                  I find it hard not to reach the conclusion he hasn’t considered her feelings for a moment. He hasn’t been her father, no matter the truth of the charges.

                • calling all toasters

                  ONCE AGAIN: it is clearly about the younger Dylan. And it’s also obvious that, whatever input Dylan might have had, Mia was the one making the decisions. She had custody and Dylan was a minor. Did she write him a letter or tell him on the phone that she didn’t want to see him? It’s possible, but I haven’t heard anything to that effect.

                  To tell your own victim

                  It’s NOT addressed to her.

                  in a public forum

                  Yes, he should have responded to her privately. Exactly what you just argued against. Or are you saying he simply should not have responded, and let the renewed accusations go unchallenged? Because of the need for sensitivity to Dylan’s private feelings that were published in the New York Times?

                • brad

                  Really? You’re unsure whether she wanted to be around a man who she believed molested her without direct contemporary statements.
                  Me, I’m not. I’m gonna make that particular assumption and put the ball in your court to show where she ever showed any desire to see him after the charges were made.
                  But really, there’s no point in going forward, we disagree. You don’t think he’s a demonstrably inconsiderate and uncaring father based simply on how he chooses to publicly respond to words from someone he still calls his daughter. I do.

                • calling all toasters

                  I’m sorry you can’t understand what I wrote, or what’s in the op-ed.

                  Bye now.

              • Brien Jackson

                I wouldn’t say I’m “dwelling” on it, just that I’m trying to be mindful of it (I mean, if nothing else, it’s not like we’ll have to look far to see examples of people who were punished because people “tone judged” them). If you mean that Allen himself is dwelling on it, then I suppose that could be true, but that seems neither here nor there.

                • brad

                  Sorry, I didn’t mean that in any way pointedly.
                  I guess I just find it off putting that after all this time to reflect, and with some much comfort, privilege, and opportunity to respond from, Woody still can’t think of his daughter, only himself. He refuses to recognize that no matter the truth of the accusation, he helped create a situation so toxic it could arise. There’s no apology for his own flaws and recognition of his daughter’s pain, only a selfish bit about what she’s lost by not being his daughter.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I think he’s anything less than a giant asshole.

              • postmodulator

                And he’s letting that anger be an excuse, in the best of readings, to not take responsibility and act like a damn adult.

                I find that a bridge too far. Were I falsely accused of something of that magnitude, I’d be far less composed and far more angry.

                I am always humbled by those people falsely imprisoned for thirty years by prosecutorial misconduct, who get out and don’t seem to bear a grudge. In their shoes I always imagine myself leaving prison, travelling in a more or less straight line directly towards the prosecutor, and murdering him.

                Assuming Allen has been falsely accused(an assumption I do not here make), you are victim-blaming. You are saying that he should not make his public victimization all about him. He’s not criticized Dylan; I think that’s about all one could reasonably expect.

                • brad

                  He’s spent the last 20 years traveling the world making movies, music, and generally being celebrated. I can absolutely understand the anger he still feels towards Mia Farrow IF this is a total untruth created in some way by her need to hurt him, but he’s a public figure using a public forum to respond to an estranged daughter. Honestly, I’d expect him either not to do that, or to do it in a way which erred first and foremost towards consideration for her.

                • kc

                  but he’s a public figure using a public forum to respond to an estranged daughter

                  He’s using the public forum that SHE chose, to respond to her serious accusations.

                  Please recall that it was Ronan, Mia, and Dylan herself who have chosen to relitigate this in the court of public opinion.

            • Ed

              Vanity Fair has also published pieces like Peter Biskind’s deferential interview with Allen about the scandal.

              • postmodulator

                Vanity Fair is weird. Remember, they ran Dominick Dunne’s never-met-an-innocent-defendant columns for years.

                That comes off harsher than I mean it, probably. I actually like Dunne’s writing very much. But his blind spots — like, it’s deeply uncool that he couldn’t say before he died, “I strongly implied that Gary Condit was a murderer. That’s not okay.” He lost two lawsuits rather than just admit fault, there.

        • piny

          I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Even if you don’t want to make claims about Woody Allen specifically, the idea that this behavior is rare among predators is not true.

          Of course men who molest their children respond this way when they are caught out; of course they try to seem rational and calm; of course they accuse their wives of being manipulative lying bitches and their daughters of insanity.

          He doesn’t have to be a sociopath to behave this way, unless you consider “abuses a child, refuses to take responsibility, lies capably in the face of accusation,” sociopathy by definition.

      • calling all toasters

        but calling her hysterical (loaded historical term used intentionally) is at the core of how he’s telling people to brush off her accusations.

        That term does not appear in his op-ed. Actually, the psychological characterizations of Mia are limited to making a (single) phone call “in a rage” and calling her a “strong mother.”

        Maybe the lack of calling her “hysterical” is a way of calling her “hysterical”?

        • brad

          Not using the term doesn’t mean he’s not playing on the trope.
          She’s emotional, unhinged, and lashing out irrationally, in his portrayal. It might simply be the truth, but it’s much more likely to be part of a lens he uses to ignore and dismiss everything she says, regardless of validity, and protect his own fee-fees.

          • Ronan

            Well I guess it’s not a trope if it’s true, and aimed at someone specifically to highlight a character trait. He can say she’s emotional and irrational if she is, without it being an attack on every woman everywhere

            • calling all toasters

              But he doesn’t even say that.

              • Ronan

                I know, I know. We seem to be speaking theoretically

            • Ronan

              I mean my reading is you’re expecting some awesome level of self restraint from Allen (if innocent) and are reading him in the most ungenerous way possible

              • brad

                That is true. I find his words to be monumentally self serving and self involved, and disgusting no matter the truth of the accusations.
                I think that no matter the truth, any compassionate emotionally adult person would, in the course of two decades, start to see past their own pain and at some point think about the welfare of the children involved. I really don’t see where he has, in what he says.

                And he’s a public figure. The case resonates to many, emotionally, particularly those who have suffered real abuse. His position places expectations on him, to me, which I think he failed. It doesn’t mean I think he did it, but it does mean I think he’s self-involved to toxic levels and simply an asshole.

            • Brien Jackson

              Well, if we believe her/Dylan (for the sake of argument or otherwise), then we must conclude that she remains a HUGE defender of Roman Polanski even though her own daughter is a sexual abuse survivor. That..does not speak well of her character.

              • calling all toasters

                NOT defending Polanski is now declared to be pro-rape apology. All citizens will immediately adjust their moral barometers.

              • For the record, someone recently confronted her on this point (“how can you remain friends etc”) and she denied her occurrent friendship. Is there some evidence otherwise?

                • Brien Jackson

                  “If you weren’t already aware of this, Farrow went to court back in 2005 as a witness in a libel sex trial the director had with Conde Nast, the publisher of Vanity Fair magazine (Polanski filed a lawsuit over a Vanity Fair article in which he was accused of propositioning a woman on the way to the funeral of his murdered wife Sharon Tate). Farrow flew to London and went to court in defense of Polanski, saying the magazine’s accusations were false. Hollywood.com reported at the time:

                  A source tells Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, “Mia regards Romanas a close friend and she says she will do all she can to help him.'”


                  I guess 2005 isn’t recent, per se, but it is 17 years after Dylan was allegedly molested by Allen.

                • I agree that that would be bizarre, to say the least.

                  I’m not sure what weight to put on an unarmed source. I’m trying to find out if she wa a compelled to appear.

                • calling all toasters

                  Hard to see how she would be compelled. Rosemary’s Baby was released 9 years before the rape, and she wasn’t in any of his other movies in the interim.

                • calling all toasters

                  Never mind. It was about some incident in 1977, which she says was the first time she’d seen him since Sharon Tate’s death.

          • calling all toasters

            Allen has, to the best of my knowledge, held his tongue about this in the intervening years. The op-ed is his one and avowedly final public statement on the matter. At no time during the op-ed does he do what you claim.

            it’s much more likely to be part of a lens he uses to ignore and dismiss everything she says, regardless of validity, and protect his own fee-fees.

            Considering that it’s not actually there, you may want to consider the log in your own lens.

    • I’d also throw up this piece on the OP for the sake of completeness.

  • LosGatosCA

    As I’ve skimmed through these threads without commenting I’ve been internally conflicted as to whether my indifference to the topic means that I’m a de facto apologist for the rape culture, my inability to be outraged at the absolute lack of normality in the celebrity culture indicates a dead soul, or if just ignoring a bunch of creepy morons who happen to have some artistic talent makes me a normal healthy well adjusted human being.

    In an extremely self-serving gratuitous as well as emotionally insensitive manner, I’m leaning toward the well adjusted option, as a matter of pure personal projection.

    • Lee Rudolph

      …and to the dismay of some on the left.

    • Steve LaBonne

      What I would say is that there are two people who really know what did or didn’t happen, and either or both of those could be lying and/or delusional. Which means that none of us will ever know. I don’t think not staking out a position on something there is no possibility of knowing anything about makes one complicit in anything but common sense

      • kerFuFFler

        I don’t think not staking out a position on something there is no possibility of knowing anything about makes one complicit in anything but common sense

        QFT and beautifully put! I don’t really fault people who lean one way or another on this debacle as long as they will acknowledge that there is uncertainty and can respect others having a different opinion.

    • postmodulator

      I don’t know anything more about the accusations than I did before I started reading all these threads. But I believe I’ve learned a lot about people by watching everyone here react. You take your little victories where you can.

      • Lee Rudolph


  • Tom Servo

    I have nothing against discussing this case, but are the Farrows going to file a civil suit? Because they’ll end a damn good reason for waiting 20 years.

    • SOL. Statute of Limitations, aka Shit Out of Luck.

  • Sophie

    The ethical standard governing whether a DA brings criminal charges is whether the DA has a good faith belief that a reasonable jury would, given the totality of the evidence, find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charge.

    Yes, and the stumbling block was in the “totality of evidence” that could be presented—because no one wanted Dylan to have to testify. Frank Maco, the state’s attorney, indicated that he had probable cause but was unwilling to put Dylan on the stand. The child was 7 years old.

    And even if she had testified, it would have been a difficult case to prove. Many if not most child abuse cases are never formally prosecuted, even when family services investigators believe the abuse happened. Cases are internally marked as “probable” even if there’s no way they can go to trial. That was what Maco was signaling when he made his statements.

    The point is, you imply in your post that the reason the case wasn’t prosecuted is because that Dory Previn song muddies the waters. That is totally unwarranted. The investigators at the time certainly didn’t conclude that Mia Farrow was some nutball making it all up. Prosecutors didn’t prosecute the case because it’s hard as hell to prove sexual abuse on the word of a 7-year-old child, not because they thought Mia Farrow was orchestrating false charges.

    The only source for the notion that Mia Farrow implanted the whole thing in Dylan’s mind is Woody Allen.

    • Brien Jackson

      “The only source for the notion that Mia Farrow implanted the whole thing in Dylan’s mind is Woody Allen.”

      And the team of psychiatrists the prosecutor appointed to investigate the accusations.

      • Sophie

        And the team of psychiatrists the prosecutor appointed to investigate the accusations.

        Nope. No such thing. 100% false.

        Why are you posting false statements?

        • Brien Jackson

          Fair enough: Replace “psychiatrists” with “the state’s expert witnesses from a child sex abuse clinic.”

        • calling all toasters

          Correct. Only one was a psychiatrist. The other two were, I believe, social workers.

          • I believe none were. One was a paediatrician and the others social workers.

            That by itself says little about their expertise, but I believe there are other issues with that report (see the 10 facts article linked above).

            • Brien Jackson

              Yes, as everyone knows expert witnesses handpicked by the state are often too “loyal” to the defendant. Unless they support the state’s case, of course.

              • Anonymous

                Nope. Woody Allen’s team of psychiatrists backed Woody. Woody refused to take a polygraph administered by Connecticut officials. Woody didn’t cooperate with the investigation–he launched his own, privately, on his payroll. Please stop lying. This is on public record.

                Muddying the waters deliberately; that’s Woody’s MO now.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it’s not the New Haven team everyone else is, apparently.

            • Egg MacGuffin

              If they are MSW-LICSWs, they are psychologists (not psychiatrists, mind you; that is an often-confused term in the popular mind). There’s a weird, not stigma exactly, but misapprehension about social workers, like they’re the same as high school guidance counselors or something. LICSWs are licensed by the state and tend to focus on child and family issues instead of mental health per se. They are the exact professionals you’d expect to work with Dylan in this case.

              • cps

                Child Protective Services is one of the most difficult jobs in the country with an astounding turnover rate. Those social workers are dealing with child and family trauma on a daily basis and pay an enormous emotional toll.

        • Brien Jackson

          By the way, I would like an answer from you to the question I posed below as well: Do you think the police and prosecutor would have the same view of their own experts’ credibility if their report had supported the state’s case?

        • Egg MacGuffin

          Nope. No such thing. 100% false.

          Why are you posting false statements?

          Is it just me, or does this sound a little JenBob-y?

          • calling all toasters

            The JenBob bot may be ridiculous, but it is never defensive.

            • Egg MacGuffin

              I think you’re right. I was confusing LGM’s resident troll with the one that used to infest the Atlantic boards, tstev. Boy, that one was a treat.

    • Paul Campos

      The song would absolutely be a problem for a prosecution of the case. It would be easy for the defense to prove that Farrow was familiar with the song, at which point the prosecution has to either argue that it’s all just a very strange coincidence, or that Allen was “inspired” by it. Either argument is going to raise doubts in the mind of jurors.

      Also, you don’t have to be “some nutball” to become both justly enraged and emotionally unbalanced when you discover that your spouse is having sex with your daughter.

      • Sophie

        The song would absolutely be a problem for a prosecution of the case.

        If your point was just that the defense could do something with the song, then I may have misunderstood you.

        I guess we can’t know what was going on in Maco’s mind, but I really don’t think that an old Dory Previn song was an issue. There were just problems that couldn’t be overcome in terms of Dylan’s testimony, her age, the way the case was handled initially, etc., etc.—all very typical problems with cases of child abuse. I think that if those basic issues had been solved, then a prosecutor could have made pretty short work of the song. (There’s a lot in that song that has no match with Frog Hollow, and the so-called attic in Frog Hollow isn’t even an attic–it’s a closet. And so on.)

        • Paul Campos

          There’s a lot in that song that has no match with Frog Hollow, and the so-called attic in Frog Hollow isn’t even an attic–it’s a closet.

          This is exactly the kind of thing defense attorneys would emphasize when using the song’s lyrics to raise reasonable doubts: If the space isn’t even an attic, why did Dylan refer to it as one?

          • Paul, you’re suggesting that a trial lawyer can fairly easily discredit a witness by noting similarities between their testimony and some TV show or song. Does this actually happen? (It would seem to be a clever way for a criminal to give himself an “out”–at least in a Robert Harris novel.)

            • Paul Campos

              This isn’t “some TV show or song.” It’s a song written by Mia Farrow’s lover’s ex-wife, included on an album featuring another song that is literally about that affair. Some of the song’s details are eerily similar to the story Dylan told at the time — a story that a panel of expert witnesses put together by the prosecution concluded was most likely a product of Dylan being coached by Mia.

              A defense lawyer who didn’t use these facts to help raise reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors would be guilty of malpractice.

              • Sophie

                And of course a competent prosecutor would shred that pretty easily. Beyond Daddy and an attic-like room, there’s no connection with the song. Where’s the gun and the crackers with peanut butter and the mattress ticking? Where’s the essay on religion and the Shirley Temple doll? What does any of that have to do with Dylan? Are we supposed to believe that Mia Farrow is in the habit of listening to Dory Previn records? Dory Previn, of all people? And that she was inspired by a Dory Previn song to concoct a false story and implant it in her daughter’s mind? Why?

                Why should we believe this imaginary and unlikely sequence of events, rather than what our witnesses right here in this courtroom have testified to: that Woody Allen was obsessed with Dylan, that he fondled her, that he insisted she get into bed with him when he was undressed, that he inserted his finger in her natal cleft. The babysitter has testified that she saw Woody Allen with his head between Dylan’s legs that day at Frog Hollow; she reported it to Mia, who then asked Dylan what had happened. Other adult witnesses testified that Woody Allen disappeared with Dylan for a quarter of an hour that day and that the child was later found without underpants. Are we supposed to ignore all this, and instead attribute the whole thing to an obscure Dory Previn song from 25 years ago?

                (And as for the so-called “expert panel,” none were psychologists, the guy who wrote the report didn’t examine Dylan, and the notes were destroyed. There was a reason the judge found dismissed the whole mess.)

                • Denverite
                • Paul Campos

                  Beyond the song being about a little girl having sexual relations in an attic with her clarinet-playing father, the two narratives have very little in common.

                  Also, how likely is it that Mia Farrow ever listened to an album by a well-known songwriter, who happened to be the ex-wife of her lover, and which featured a song about her?

                • Egg MacGuffin

                  none were psychologists

                  If you are dismissing the team as having no psychologists, you clearly have no idea what Social Workers do.

                • Anonymous

                  When police told Allen they’d found his hair and fingerprints in the attic-closet, he went from denying he’d ever been there to saying he’d taken a quick glance.

                • Manny Kant

                  Who are all these witnesses who would have testified to all these background details about Dylan and Allen’s relationship?

                  The original Orth article from 1992 gives us the following sources:

                  *”Sources close to Farrow”
                  *”Individuals who are on intimate terms with the Farrow household”
                  *”Several sources”
                  *Tisa Farrow [Mia Farrow’s sister]
                  *Casey Pascal [Mia Farrow’s childhood friend]
                  *”family members”
                  *There are some quotes from “the baby-sitter,” but it’s unclear where Orth got them from, or who this babysitter is; certainly the babysitter did not talk to Orth
                  *”People close to the situation”

      • Larsmacomb

        Paul, this is extraordinarily well phrased. I am impressed with the even-handed treatment of the facts and issues in the case that your post and its subsequent thread have created. Reading through this has been worth my time.

  • Happy Jack

    And the team of psychiatrists the prosecutor appointed to investigate the accusations.

    Someone needs to read the links from 11:56am.

    • Brien Jackson

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t particularly find that it enhances the credibility of law enforcement when they decide that their own expert witnesses aren’t credible because they don’t support their case. Then again, you certainly can’t argue that expert witnesses for the state are anything but far too sympatehtic to the defense!

      • Happy Jack

        Still haven’t looked at them, I see. Doesn’t take too long. And I say that as somebody who didn’t have much interest in the case. Allen must have a top-notch p.r. team.

        • Brien Jackson

          No, I’ve read them. But really, you expect me to seriously think that I should distrust them because the state (who tasked them with the investigation) turned around and attacked them? Really? I guess you think the state wasn’t going to use the report as evidence if they found Dylan’s claims credible, then?

          • Brien Jackson

            I didn’t mean that as a rhetorical question, by the way.

          • Brien Jackson

            So I guess this is going to go unanswered, then?

          • Brien Jackoff

            Answer me, damn you!

            • Hi Brien,

              First, I agree that prima facie a prosecuter discarding their comissioned expert team advice suggests a problem with the prosecuter.

              However, if you look at the article I quote below, I think (if its accurate) that there were some pretty serious issues with how the expert panel conducted itself. I’m not saying that the prosecution comes out perfect there, but I find several aspects to be worrisome. (For example, the Dr in charge not interviewing Dylan and yet being the one who testifies and then having to change an important part of his testimony is not a good thing. I don’t know *why* that happened; he certainly seems like a dedicated guy.)

      • MH

        You appear to have accidentally typed “because” in there when talking about why the state didn’t find the Yale-Newhaven report unconvincing. I can’t see any evidence that this was their reason for finding a report by someone who didn’t have contact with Dylan Farrow based on notes that had been destroyed by people who refused to testify less than compelling. (Not to mention that, at least if Orth is remotely credible, one of the major grounds for their report was that Dylan Farrow was unreliable as a witness because she referred to the attic as having dead heads in it, and sunset as ‘the magic hour’. The attic was filled with old wigs on styrofoam blocks, and ‘the magic hour’ is a common term in photography for the last hour of sunlight.)

  • BH
    • Brien Jackson

      Ya know, I’m gonna go ahead and say that this:

      “With all the attempts to misrepresent the facts, it is important to be reminded of the truth contained in court documents from the only final ruling in this case, by the New York Supreme Court in 1992. In denying my father all access to me, that court:

      Debunked the “experts” my father claims exonerated him, calling them “colored by their loyalty to Mr. Allen”..”

      goes straight into the “overstating your case” file.

      • Paul Campos

        A non-lawyer reading this would come away thinking the opinion Dylan Farrow is citing is from New York’s top court, when in fact it’s from the judge of the trial court in the case. Confusingly, (some) trial courts in New York are referred to as supreme courts. The top court in the state is the Court of Appeals.

        Of course it’s possible that Dylan Farrow herself is mistaken on that point, and is not trying to mislead readers.

        • Brien Jackson

          Well, I was speaking specifically to the idea that a panel of experts intended to be witnesses for the state in a criminal trial were “loyal” to the defendant.

          • Brien Jackson

            There’s also a weird sort of argument stacking at play here (not that judging rhetoric is particularly useful here, I’m sure) where, having dismissed the state’s experts because they came to the wrong conclusion, we use the judge’s subsequent declaration of there being “no credible” evidence for the idea that Mia coached Dylan as further proof against Allen, even though this is in fact what the state’s own experts suspected.

            • Egg MacGuffin

              I’m overall willing to very little credence to the idea that the custody ruling gives *any* evidence about the molestation charge. Now that the document’s out there, we can see (as I think you’ve said before), the judge gives very little thought to it, except to say he couldn’t trust the Yale report. Most of the rest of the verbiage is about how, regardless of anything else, Allen is a terrible father who doesn’t grasp that his relationship with Soon-Yi is making everything worse. In the end, that is what the custody hearing hangs on. Folks that point to Allen losing that case so badly as evidence that he did molest Dylan are entirely misreading and misunderstanding the ruling. It was always about Soon-Yi. Contemporaneous media coverage seems to bear that out as well.

              • Mike D.

                I’m overall willing to very little credence to the idea that the custody ruling gives *any* evidence about the molestation charge.


        • BH

          Or maybe she is just using the correct name of the court. I doubt she would think that readers would believe this matter had gone all the way up to the state’s highest court. But, who knows?

          • BH

            Ahh, I see “the New York Supreme Court”… instead of “a New York…”

          • Brien Jackson

            Well, this is pretty rich too:

            Woody Allen has an arsenal of lawyers and publicists but the one thing he does not have on his side is the truth. I hope this is the end of his vicious attacks and of the media campaign by his lawyers and publicists, as he’s promised.

            • BH

              My favorite line from his response? Explaining how unlikely it was that he would pick that particular time to molest his daughter because he “was in the blissful early states of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry–” Like we don’t know who that was, or that readers would view his blissful state as a positive thing that would render impossible an act of child abuse.

              • Brien Jackson

                I think we can all agree that everyone involved here seems to be pretty self-absorbed.

                • postmodulator

                  Well, there’s no special reason to think the kids are. Beyond the fact that growing up wealthy in Manhattan seems to sometimes lead to a certain amount of self-absorption.

                • Ed

                  I think we can all agree that everyone involved here seems to be pretty self-absorbed.

                  I would question the “everyone involved” part but I think we can all agree the Woodster has set new standards in the self-involvement department. (And no, that doesn’t make him guilty.)

                  Of course he lost all credibility for me when I read he claimed that “A Streetcar Named Desire” had no influence on the creation of “Blue Jasmine.” Tell us another one, Woody.

                • He obviously mean that “A Streetcar Named Desire” had no influence on my selection of my pseud. I might find myself, in fact, saying it didn’t. No reason anyone should believe me. No one should care what a director says about his films, and no one should believe what a director says about his films. Isn’t that the first rule of responsible criticism? Didn’t Picasso says basically that?

            • kc

              Yeah. And there was that bit about the “limo” and “apartment in Manhattan” from her the other day.

              I’m considerably less sympathetic to her than I was just a few days ago.

  • I think it’s possible to believe Dylan Farrow was abused without thinking this needs to be hashed out over and over again in public by everybody, or that (in a rather odd turn of events) celebrities need to be tweeting reviewers and fans to embarrass them into trashing or boycotting anybody’s work.

    Apropos of absolutely nothing, it turns out, as I know for reasons that do me very little credit, that Ronan F. is credited in the “Acknowledgements” section of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

    • calling all toasters

      as I know for reasons that do me very little credit

      We’re listening. /Jon Stewart voice

      • It’s true that I’ve trained myself to look at the Acknowledgements first (at least for serious books), and that I actually didn’t read any further, much less finish the thing.

        • calling all toasters

          That’s a lot less fun than I wash hoping for. Can’t blame you for not reading it, though.

          • calling all toasters

            was hoping for

        • oops, sorry to disappoint, forgot to proofread: it’s true i often read the acks. first so i cd claim i didnt read it but unfortunately …

        • postmodulator

          Today I learned that we have redefined “serious books.”

        • Lee Rudolph

          Trained yourself? Isn’t that instinctive?

          …Oh. You don’t mean, for acknowledgments to you, necessarily. Never mind, then.

        • That’s similar to the concept of a “Washington Read”, where, when a new political autobiography comes out, people go to the bookstore, look at the index, and see if they are listed in it.

    • Ronan

      Hymn for a tiger mum seems to be a 21st century take on racial supremacy,afaics

      • It’s kind of half positioned as “mom caught in a crazy world” kind of book, but the sense it’s largely tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating jokes on herself doesn’t last to the end.

    • Anonymous

      bianca, in a sense, you’re correct. But painting this as a PRIVATE matter, why won’t these women be quiet and be modest and stop attracting all this attention–that’s a deeply misogynistic tactic, designed to make Dylan and Mia Farrow look crazy, designed to make an alleged crime look like a family squabble. Molestation isn’t private. It’s public. It’s good for other victims to see how these things play out in public, to see whether they want to risk their own lives, professions, and safety in pursuing charges.

      • Where did I say this should be private, the people involved shouldn’t make statements if they want to? There’s a difference between saying a woman should shut up so she doesn’t attract attention, and saying people should stop flocking around to her and gabbing about her life to draw attention to themselves, when it actually is about her. She’s a real person, not an example in a law text or a cause.

        And there’s a difference between making a statement and (as Matt Zoller Seitz discusses somewhere, in a rare statement by him with which I disagree) getting down and dirty with the fans in the Twittersphere, which happened a while ago and is neither here nor there, I guess.

        Actually, I’m not sure of your point. Don’t take it personally, Anonymous, if I don’t respond to any later comments.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t care one way or the other, bianca. I was using a single idea within your larger comment and using it as a starting point to address a common trope, here and elsewhere, in which people urge Dylan and Mia to be quiet, and to stop making this frontpage news, because it makes readers uncomfortable.

    • Ed

      He obviously mean that “A Streetcar Named Desire” had no influence on my selection of my pseud. I might find myself, in fact, saying it didn’t. No reason anyone should believe me. No one should care what a director says about his films, and no one should believe what a director says about his films. Isn’t that the first rule of responsible criticism? Didn’t Picasso says basically that?

      It wasn’t obvious to me that he meant that at all, but in any case my comment was intended facetiously, which I thought would be obvious. I’m not going to pass judgment on an accusation of child abuse based on what a director said about his latest picture. I do however think Allen was being disingenuous at best,given the enormous debt his story owes to Tennessee Williams’ play.

      If I disbelieved everything a director says about his work I’d miss a lot of useful information….

      • Commenting at this point is beating a dead horse into the ground, but eh, I finally watched Blue Jasmine last night, and if it leads viewers to Tennessee Williams, whether a good production or a bad one, the movie can only suffer by the comparison. Though I don’t see why anyone would be upset by the material in this one suddenly after letting the others go by in silence.

        And yeah, it’s hard to pick up humor on the Internet.

  • DocAmazing

    The only good thing to come out of this case is that child-welfare authorities are more likely to pay attention to cases in which the parents are well-off (they rarely seem to have any problem coming after poor parents) and law-enforcement will, again, tighten up its procedures.

  • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

    A lot of the reaction and commentary on this case seems to be driven by personal experience. So here’s mine: My parents separated and divorced when I was 8 and 9. My mother coached, encouraged, and intimidated me into making false charges of abuse and neglect (physical and emotional abuse, but not sexual) against my father, partly to support her side of the custody/support case but mostly I think out of sheer rage and vindictiveness toward him.

    To my lasting shame I maintained these lies well into adulthood. As they were repeated over and over they became part of my identity, my self esteem was low and I could not admit to myself that they weren’t true, even though in the back of my mind I had always known the alleged incidents were either vastly overdrawn or more often created out of whole cloth. Well into my 20s I felt intimidated by my mother, and she was not a rich and well-connected person like Mia Farrow is. I was several years older than Dylan is now before I found the right therapist, started working all this out, and eventually got back in touch with my father. He was never a model father or husband, to be certain, but he is and I think was a decent guy and my mother did me a great disservice by keeping us apart for many years.

    I have a younger sister who received similar treatment from my mother. She realized earlier than I did what kind of person our mother is, but while she’s learned to hold anything our mother says up to a bright light she’s never been able to reunite with my father. I think given her younger age, the image my mother created of him is graven too firmly in her mind.

    I don’t know what happened between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow. With the superficial knowledge gleaned by reading about the case on the internet over the past few days, and my impression of Allen over the years, Dylan’s allegations seem plausible and worthy of a respectful hearing. Based on my own experience, Allen’s defense that Dylan may be relating the truth as she believes it, but that her story was created by Mia Farrow, seems at least equally plausible. And I find the comments of Moses Farrow, who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse and has said that physical abuse and “brainwashing” were standard operating procedure in the Farrow household, compelling.

    • brad

      I’m sorry for what happened to you, and thank you for sharing.

      • Breadbaker

        Anon, I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

        Your story is reminiscent of the Stephen Fagan case from a few years back (full disclosure: I knew him before he absconded with the kids. What we heard at the time was that he and his wife had both made abuse allegations against the other and the judge tried to call their bluffs by believing them both and taking the kids away).

        Law cases involving kids are by definition hard. There’s a reason they used to use ecclesiastical, not civil, courts to decide these issues. Not that those are exactly perfect.

    • Sophie

      My parents separated and divorced when I was 8 and 9. My mother coached, encouraged, and intimidated me into making false charges of abuse and neglect (physical and emotional abuse, but not sexual) against my father, partly to support her side of the custody/support case but mostly I think out of sheer rage and vindictiveness toward him.

      I’m sorry for what happened to you. But I think it’s important to bear in mind that this case (Dylan Farrow) did not arise out of a custody dispute. It’s exactly the reverse: Dylan’s report of being abused by her father came first, and he responded to the allegations by suing for custody.

      For people who are genuinely interested in understanding this case, it really is important to understand the sequence of events. This was not a situation where there was a divorce/ separation and the parents were battling for control. There was no custody battle going on beforehand. There was no discussion or dispute about custody at all.

      Things were going along in the Farrow/Allen world, with the children living with Mia as ever, Woody having his affair with Soon-Yi and obsessing over Dylan, and Mia trying to cope. Then the events at Frog Hollow happened. The babysitter reported what she’d seen to Mia, and Dylan told her mother what Woody had done. Mia brought it to the attention of Dylan’s pediatrician, and from there the legal chain of events kicked in. The pediatrician was compelled by law to report it to the authorities, and Woody Allen was notified, etc., etc.

      That’s when the shit hit the fan, in terms of Woody Allen moving going nuclear to defend himself and maintain his access to Dylan. He launched a suit for custody, and this was the suit that the judge denied in the most scathing terms.

      • Brien Jackson

        Oh good, you’re back. Now you can kindly respond to my questions above.

      • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

        This was not a situation where there was a divorce/ separation and the parents were battling for control

        I think that’s Mia Farrow’s version of the timeline. Do you believe that people never see the writing on the wall and start positioning themselves before a suit is filed?

        In an article in Slate that’s generally favorable to Dylan, Jessica Winter writes:

        as of early August 1992—eight months after Mia Farrow had discovered Allen’s sexual relationship with her daughter Soon-Yi Previn—Allen had been “prepared to sign a 30-page document that virtually precluded his seeing the children he doted on without a chaperone.”

        What was all that about then, if there was no custody dispute underway? Maybe they were both trying to keep it out of the courts until the abuse allegations surfaced, but 30-page documents detailing supervised visitation certainly sounds like a dispute was underway.

      • lawguy

        Sophie, Judges do what judges do. I’ve had them completely ignore cases that were completely on point in order to come to the opposite decision because they think they know best.

        Originally a group of experts evaluated the case for the prosecution and decided that there was a good chance that Dylan had been coached and that there was no evidence of sexual abuse. If anything, at that time in history people were more likely to believe anything the child said. That should really be the end all of the story.

      • calling all toasters

        But I think it’s important to bear in mind that this case (Dylan Farrow) did not arise out of a custody dispute. It’s exactly the reverse: Dylan’s report of being abused by her father came first, and he responded to the allegations by suing for custody.

        To quote Sophie from above:

        “Nope. No such thing. 100% false.

        Why are you posting false statements?”

        Oh, wait, this time it applies.

        • Anonymous


    • I’m sorry for those awful experiences. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gwen

      My parents also divorced, and had a less than amicable breakup when I was the same age.

      There was never any allegation of abuse or neglect. With that said, I learned early on that the first casualty in a contentious divorce is the truth.

      You have my empathy and my sympathy.

  • Now of course the song is not a completely unambiguous piece of evidence

    Of course it isn’t. Coincidences happen. There’s no one way two works of art that use the same image are linked to one another: there’s no one way works of art and real-life events are linked.

  • Breadbaker

    I found much that was disturbing in Allen’s response and Dylan Farrow’s response to the response confirms my feelings.

    What the New York courts did for Dylan Farrow was the right thing: cut off Woody Allen’s contact with her during her minority (as far as they had jurisdiction to do so). Whether the specific allegations relating to the one incident were true or not was not the standard; the standard was what path, among a number of not perfect paths, was the best one for Dylan Farrow’s health and well-being. Clearly, “not having Woody Allen in her life” was the right path.

    What Allen’s letter reveals is that he doesn’t get that. He and Soon-Yi have tried through many means to try to contact Dylan, all to no avail–because she, an adult woman with her own feelings and her own agency, does not want him to do so. So what does he do? He basically makes his same arguments and same appeal on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.

    He is perfectly entitled, if he believes himself to be innocent of the specific charges, to deny them publicly. What he decides to do vis-a-vis his relationship with Mia Farrow is also his own business, although I don’t see how anyone’s mind is going to be changed by rehashing the same old arguments in the same old ways (same goes for most of Mia’s supporters).

    But if he had any ability to learn and grow (something that is doubtful from the evidence), he would understand that Dylan is lost to him. If he actually loved her (as opposed to loving himself and thinking that was the same thing) he would understand he has to let go and that letting go is by silence.

    If he has a good relationship with Moses now he should cherish that rather than flaunt it in public.

    The only part of the letter that is good would be the last part. If this is his last word, at least there won’t be any more.

    • Gwen

      You raise a good point.

      The tragedy here is that regardless of what happened, the way the 1992 custody dispute played out was akin to dropping an atomic bomb. It destroys everything and the radioactive fallout persists for generations…

      From Dylan’s POV, she probably feels an obligation to assert herself, because (whether she was abused or not), abuse is very real, and the two alternatives to publicly accusing Woody are:

      1.) being a silent victim; or,

      2.) denying that the abuse ever happened.

  • lolo

    As soon as I read the first paragraph, I scrolled up and confirmed my suspicion that Campos wrote this post. At least you’re being consistent in being suspicious of women and creating conspiracy theories to explain away bad behavior by men.

    • Larsmacomb

      The world in which you seem to want to live is one in which an accusation should be treated as a legal fact. World history is replete with examples of such worlds of law and justice. Putin’s Russia is one current example. You will respond that you are not like Putin or any of history’;s monster’s because you are on the other side–the good side–of ideology. If innocent people are destroyed by careless and unfounded accusations, it does not matter what side you are on.

  • James E. Powell

    I want to print out this thread and the most recent Amanda Knox thread and figure out each commenter’s standards of proof for an internet trial. Compare and contrast and all that. I don’t have the time, but it would be interesting.

    There is quite a bit of “this shows what I always thought about . . .” in the comments. I wonder if the people who type such things recognize that they are not at all impartial.

    • postmodulator

      Hey, man, my username reflects my faith in postmodernism. (Partially.) We don’t even believe impartiality is achievable.

    • Gwen

      I am pretty sure Amanda Knox is innocent. I don’t know that about Woody Allen, but I think it’s more likely than not that he didn’t abuse Dylan in the way described. In any case, I tend to think I’m fairly consistent. Although I was also ready to hang George Zimmerman from a sour-apple tree. So there’s that.

      On a side note, one of the hard things about child molestation is that a parent is going to have intimate contact with their children and engage in (morally innocuous) behavior that would be inappropriate for other adults; anyone who has ever changed a diaper knows this.

      • Mike D.

        but I think it’s more likely than not that he didn’t abuse Dylan in the way described

        Actually, the way he abused her is not described in the letter. (Perhaps it is described elsewhere – I’m still trying to figure that out.) A number of other arguably inappropriate practices which Dylan does not contend are abuse per se (the laying in bed, thumb in mouth, etc.) are described, as are the time and place of the abuse. But the abuse is not described in the letter. It is merely asserted and characterized only as, approximately, “and then he sexually abused me.”

        I have no desire to hear those details. Nevertheless, while at I’m around 70% belief that the abuse occurred (I want to say “as Dylan said is did,” but in fact she doesn’t say what it consisted of), I would be closer to 90% if she did describe it.

  • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

    I related my own biases in this case in another thread. Here are a few facts that I hope people can recognize and consider:

    – Much has been made of the fact that Woody Allen was in therapy before the alleged assault because of “inappropriate” behavior toward Dylan. But the professional who referred him for therapy is on the record saying explicitly that the inappropriate behavior was not sexual in nature.

    – Moses Farrow was 14 at the time of the incident and told investigators at that time that he thought Mia Farrow was making the whole thing up. Now an adult and trained therapist himself, he maintains this view and has gone on the record repeatedly describing an atmosphere of manipulation, intimidation and physical abuse in the Farrow household.

    – It’s often said that as a rich celebrity, Allen likely received preferential treatment. I was in my 20s and living in the NY area at the time, and the story of Allen and Soon-Yi was HUGE, with almost everybody of the opinion that Allen was a heel at best, and a predator at worst. I recall an atmosphere in which a politically-minded prosecutor (is that a redundant statement?) and police investigators would be more likely to be going hard for Allen’s scalp, than to be awed by his celebrity. This colors my reading of all the articles, old and new, that rely on the prosecutor’s opinion of the case.

    – And again, rather than his celebrity being a benefit, if anything I suspect that the massive negative publicity around the Allen/Soon Yi relationship may have influenced the findings of judges who held against Allen in the custody hearings. Not that Allen, even absent Soon Yi, gave anyone much reason to find in his favor as an able father who could meet the emotional needs of the younger children.

    – Woody Allen’s relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, while certainly questionable on mnay grounds, has been highly distorted. He was not only not her father, or stepfather, he wasn’t a father figure of any kind. Soon Yi was not a fatherless child who looked to Allen – she was the adopted daughter of Andre Previn who maintained a presence in her life until the two became estranged after she took up with Allen. By all accounts, including those of Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, and Mia Farrow; Allen and Soon-Yi had little contact before she was 19 years old. This does not address any emotional harm that Allen inflicted upon the other children by taking up with their older sister, but insensitivity is not the same as predatory behavior.

    – The panel of psychiatrists that found the original allegations not to be credible was an established and respected panel specializing in child sex abuse cases, and not a team thrown together and paid for by Woody Allen.

    – False and highly distorted memories are a real thing, even among emotionally stable adults, a fact that this blog and commenters have recognized in other cases often related to the prosecution of minorities. The mention of this possibility in a case without physical evidence is not rape apologism.

    • Larsmacomb

      This is well worth pointing out.

      Children get narrative accounts wrong for the same reason that we all do. Simply put: The brain is not a digital video recorder. Narrative closure commonly results in storytellers including elements not present and excluding elements that were present. It has more to do with why people get wrongly convicted of crimes than premeditated conspiracies of prosecutors and investigators. Consistently charging someone of something–even when one’s charges are confirmed by polygraphs and other psychological stress evaluators–does not mean that the allegations actually occurred. As a matter of fact, re-telling the same story over and over vivifies the narrative in consciousness. As such, we do not even have to imagine that Mia Farrow somehow plotted and conspired with her daughter to entrap Woody into a conviction on molestation.

      Some persons, like the American actress Marilu Henner, have eidetic memory capacity that enables them to recall names and dates and events with astonishing accuracy. The plain and simple truth is that most of us don’t. In fact, the vast, overwhelming majority of us are fuzzy on our capacity to remember even back a few weeks! With children, it is even fuzzier–much fuzzier. It is normal for people to not be able to recall with much precision things that happened during their fifth and tenth birthdays. Scholars like Elizabeth Loftus have demonstrated that precision in memory in fact declines during events in which we are highly stressed or frightened. Yet it is also normal to talk confidently about events that we “recall” as though they actually happened in the precise order in which we have told and retold these accounts.

    • Ed

      I guess this has to be said again, but Allen was the longtime lover of Soon-Yi’s single mother and a regular presence in the children’s lives for years. A male figure of that kind is standing in loco parentis symbolically even if in no other way and leads to potential responsibilities that are in no way symbolic.

      At the time I remember that Allen made things considerably worse for himself by uttering several weirdly tone-deaf public statements that suggested he was strangely indifferent to the potentially destructive effects his affair with Soon-Yi could have on the family circle – indeed he doesn’t seem to understand that now, given his talk of “blissful happiness” sleeping with Soon-Yi while his domestic life with Farrow was apparently going forward, complete with adoption arrangements…

      • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

        Well said, and I overstretched by saying he was not a father figure of any kind.

        I was mainly trying to push back, if perhaps too hard, against ugly accusations that Allen may have “groomed” Soon Yi from her youth to be his paramour. It is worth noting again that both Soon Yi and Mia Farrow have said that Allen and his future wife spent almost no time together prior to her late teens. One version of events, and I forget where I read this, holds that the two initially started spending time together at the behest of Mia who wanted them to develop some kind of relationship.

        In the most often related retelling of the intial confrontation between Soon-Yi and Mia over Allen, the mother objects: “But he’s my boyfriend!” Not: “He’s practically your father!”

        • Ed

          In the most often related retelling of the intial confrontation between Soon-Yi and Mia over Allen, the mother objects: “But he’s my boyfriend!” Not: “He’s practically your father!”

          I’m sorry. I’m unable to see the relevance of the phrasing a distraught mother used (after the shock of coming across graphic nude photos of her daughter taken by her lover and the realization that he was having an affair with her daughter) really has to do with the larger question of Allen’s position in the family when he began his affair with Soon-Yi (at a time when it’s not at all clear he had marriage or anything more serious on his mind, BTW).

          Nor would it surprise me that Farrow might encourage Allen to develop more of a relationship with Soon-Yi. She also wanted him to take Moses to those fateful basketball games, I understand.

          • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

            The point is that it’s undisputed that there was no meaningful relationship, father/daughter or otherwise, until Soon Yi was almost twenty. She was never “groomed.”

            The quote “But he’s my boyfriend,” if accurate, not only speaks to Mia Farrow’s own sense of Allen’s relationship to her family; it suggests Mia saw herself as the primary victim and not her daughter.

            • Ed

              The quote “But he’s my boyfriend,” if accurate, not only speaks to Mia Farrow’s own sense of Allen’s relationship to her family; it suggests Mia saw herself as the primary victim and not her daughter.

              I think you’re reading a good deal more meaning into one alleged statement than it can carry. Otherwise, I quite agree that there was no “grooming” involved.

              • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

                I think you’re reading a good deal more meaning into one alleged statement than it can carry.

                Maybe. It just jumped off the page as something my own manipulative mother would say. Everything was all about her, always.

                I guess now would be a good time to restate that I know I’m looking at this case through a thick set of personal lenses. I don’t know the truth of what happened between Allen, Farrow, Farrow, Previn, etc. My only purpose in posting has been to share a different perspective than others I’ve seen, and push back against the assumption of guilt that many seem too comfortable with in these cases.

                Though to tell the truth, after posting about my own experience – and that was the first time I’ve expressed that to anyone other than my close family and my therapist – I find it easier to look at the Allen/Farrow case objectively and am more inclined to think he may have done it after all. And that Mia Farrow is vindictive, manipulative, and pathologically self-absorbed. (Late in life my mother took in stray animals, at least partly to surround herself with creatures who depended on her and, she felt, loved her unconditionally. If she were wealthier she would have adopted special needs children instead; she told me this herself.) And Ronan Farrow may be cynically exploiting his (half?) sister’s pain to advance his own career. All of the above may well be true.

                Whatever happened to Dylan, I hope she finds peace.

                • Ed

                  Mia Farrow is plainly not perfect, but she probably knows as well as anyone the pitfalls involved in bringing special-needs children into the family. Unlikely that she went into the business on multiple occasions expecting the affection she would receive from a grateful mutt.

                • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

                  Yeah I’m probably over projecting. But this discussion has been helpful to me, and I hope someone else has taken something from it.

                  Thanks to all who have engaged.

    • – The panel of psychiatrists

      I’m on a phone so no hope of replying in detail, but I believe that they weren’t psychiatrists. It might seem like a small point but it’s worth keeping it clear. I don’t think the panel is dispositive either way, fwiw.

      • Denverite

        Here is the panel chair.


        Seems like someone totally in the pocket for child abusers.

        • It’s fortunate that I didn’t cast any aspersions on the panel, or your snark might have had a point.

      • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

        You are correct. According to Vanity Fair: “(The panel at) the Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Sex Abuse Clinic consisted of two social workers and a pediatrician, Dr. John Leventhal…”

        My point stands that they were respected and experienced experts in the field, who were not selected by Allen.

        • As I said, this is a nuance worth keeping clear

          I’m still trying to find out more about the panel. They do seen to have expertise (see Denverite’s link). I’ll note that the vanity fair article claims 1) that the chair didn’t interview Wither Farrow and that he recanted the bit about her having difficulty distinguishing fantasy and reality.

          I personally tend to discount the claims that they (at least the chair) were star struck/etc. Denverite’s link alone makes that rather unlikely.

        • Larsmacomb

          For what it’s worth, the term “social worker” tends to get a negative reading by people who seem to think of them as soup-kitchen employees. The simple fact is that the vast majority of people in this country who work as psychotherapists earned their advanced degrees in “schools of social work” rather than in “psychology.”

          A Ph. D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, which some of the best psychotherapists in the country hold, is still treated by the APA as a “social work” degree. The difficulty is that Departments of Psychology in American universities tend to produce cognitive scientists and behaviorists with expertise in social psychological questions and experimental design. They are very good at what they do, but the vast majority of them don’t train therapists.

          Psychiatrists, on the other hand, have for the last several decades been trained most extensively in neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, and psychopharmacology. They are M.D.s and tend to focus on the medical diagnosis of patients presenting with symptoms treatable with drugs. (A psychiatric prescription is preferred for everything from sleeping pills to prozac. It would be illegal for a psychotherapist to write a prescription for either of those things.)

          The fact that the panel was composed as it was in the Allen-Farrow case should mean nothing–unless it can be proven that members of the panel were truly incompetent or truly bought-and-paid-for.

          • I totally agree that you can read nothing off of “a pediatricin an 2 social workers” vs “3 psychiatrists”. What matters is their expertise and the actual investigation.

          • Egg MacGuffin

            I was saying similar things upthread, and i just want to sign on here. A practicing, clinical social worker is a psychologist, full stop.

            • calling all toasters

              OK, going pedantic here: in New York State, only a doctoral-level practitioner may be called a psychologist, while a CSW may be called a psychotherapist. I’m pretty sure the same holds in almost every state.

              • Egg MacGuffin

                Good pedantry! I did not know this, despite knowing a few MSWs.

            • I tracked them down:

              John Leventhal, the pediatrician who led the Yale–New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Clinic’s investigation of the allegation… But Leventhal himself never interviewed Dylan Farrow, nor did he interview her mother or any of the child care workers present at Mia Farrow’s home on Aug. 4, 1992. Dylan was interviewed nine times over a six-month period by Julia Hamilton, who had a Ph.D. in social work, and Jennifer Sawyer, who had a master’s degree in social work

              So a Ph.D. and and a Masters in Social work as well as a paediatrician in charge of a Child Sexual Abuse clinics. Their credentials are absolutely fine.

              • Following the link in the above piece to a critical account:

                Woody Allen proclaimed his innocence on the steps of Yale University in March 1993. A panel of experts from Yale, headed by pediatrician Dr. John Leventhal, concluded no abuse had taken place.

                The conclusion itself was an anomaly. The standard practice in the field is to state whether the subject’s behavior is consistent with having suffered sexual abuse.

                “Concluding guilt or innocence is not the role of a mental health team – that’s for the court,” says Dr. Diane Schetky, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, co-author of the widely used textbook Child Sexual Abuse and co-editor of Clinical Handbook of Child Psychiatry and the Law.

                Maco had commissioned the Yale study with instructions to determine whether Dylan was a viable witness who could stand up in court. He said that enlisting Yale’s assistance was the biggest mistake he made in the case.

                “Regardless of what the Connecticut police wanted from us,” Leventhal said in an April 1993 deposition, “we weren’t necessarily beholden to them. We did not assess whether she’d be a good witness in court. That’s what Mr. Maco may have been interested in, but that’s not necessarily what we were interested in.”

                Yale, Maco says, “took the case and ran away with it. I gave their report very little weight.”

                An examination of the Yale report and court documents shows:

                · The Yale team used psychologists on Allen’s payroll to make mental health conclusions. “That seems like a blatant conflict of interest; they should have excluded themselves,” Schetky says.

                This seems to be the source that “Allen’s guy” were on the panel. They weren’t, but perhaps their notes were used?

                · Custody recommendations were made even though the team never saw Allen and any of the children together. “I’d sure want that information,” Schetky says.

                · The team refused to interview witnesses who could have corroborated the molestation claims.

                · The team destroyed its notes. “I don’t know why they would,” Schetky says. “They shouldn’t have anything to hide, unless there’s disagreement.”

                · Leventhal, the only medical doctor on the team, did not interview Dylan. “How can you write about someone you’ve never seen?” Schetky asks.

                · The night before Leventhal gave a statement to Farrow’s attorney, he discussed the scenario with Abramowitz, the head of Allen’s legal team, for about 30 minutes.

                · The team interviewed Dylan nine times. For three consecutive weeks, she said Allen violated her sexually. In several of the other sessions she mentioned a similar type of abuse. When Dylan did not repeat the precise allegation in some of the sessions, the team reported this as an inconsistency.

                The nine interviews were “excessive,” Schetky says. “The danger is the child feels like she’s not believed if she’s asked the same questions over and over.”

                Leventhal himself later admitted, in sworn testimony in the custody case, that he made several mistakes during the course of the investigation. One of those was his false characterization of Dylan’s active imagination as a thought disorder.

                In the Yale report, Leventhal cited what he called “loose associations” by the child. He said she talked about looking in a trunk and seeing “dead heads.” When advised that Mia Farrow had a trunk in her attic in which she kept wigs from her movies on wig blocks, Leventhal acknowledged this was not evidence of a fantasy problem or a thought

                The pediatrician also attempted to categorize Dylan’s banter as “magical thinking,” citing her vivid description of a sunset. However, after being advised that Mia Farrow described the dark sky upon leaving New Haven in the evening as “the magic hour,” Leventhal said he was “less concerned” about the incident as an example of “loose thinking.”

                “This guy Leventhal never left his office, never talked to the child, but he gave a wonderful account and said, ‘I exonerate you, Woody,'” D’Amico says. “Boy, I wouldn’t want to carry that flag around – ‘Leventhal says I’m OK.'”

                A Yale Spokeswoman says the hospital stands by the report and Leventhal’s national reputation.

    • TexanD

      The custody case was in New York, but the investigation into the allegation of child abuse was in Connecticut. There were no New York prosecutors involved.

  • AnotherAnon

    As long as we’re turning this into a confessional, my estranged brother claims that our parents beat him and abused him as a child. I was there, as was our younger brother, and we know that his accusations are false. But we don’t see him anymore – or his wife or children, who believe him – and it’s a pretty painful situation.

    Our elderly mother (our father is dead) sometimes asks, did I really do that? when of course she didn’t – but the estrangement is so painful to her that she’s willing to believe that she was a horrible mother in order to make sense of what is otherwise a completely unfathomable situation.

    • That is just indescribably sad. Thank you for telling about it.

    • I’m very sorry. That sounds just awful.

  • Ed

    Andre Previn, fortunate man, has enjoyed a colorful love life chock-full of beautiful younger women and if it hadn’t been Mia it probably would have been somebody else in due course. Allen’s willingness to stand up for Dory Previn and wronged wives is certainly admirable.

    I did find Allen’s discussion of Ronan’s biological parentage rather amusing, particularly the reference to all the dough Allen has coughed up in child support during those years. Was this really the right time to bring that up, old boy? Yes, you’re the real victim here…..

    • postmodulator

      Come on. Wouldn’t that make anyone a little bitter? Ronan hates his guts, Allen paid to raise him, and Ronan probably isn’t actually his kid?

      That said, of course, if Woody Allen is actually a child molestor, he’d deserve all that and more.

    • lawguy

      I thought his point was here is a woman who will say anything to try to hurt me and drag her children through the mud 20 years later.

      • delurking

        Kind of ironic. I read this as a man who will say anything and hurt anyone (even his own children) to get what he wants.

    • calling all toasters

      I see it partly as a shot at Ronan, who has made his enmity to Woody clear. In effect “I paid for your upbringing, and you’re not even my kid, no matter what your mom says. Nach!”

      • kc

        I’m embarrassed to admit I know this, but Frank Sinatra’s valet said that Frank absolutely did not want kids with Mia when they were married. I doubt that would have changed after they got divorced . . .

        • calling all toasters

          All I can say is: look at Frank, look at Woody, look at Ronan. You’ll understand why people think this is the case.

          • Ed

            Lookswise Ronan is clearly his mother’s son, but that’s really all you can say. Allen, or his spokespersons, were initially derisive of the notion that Sinatra fathered Ronan, but it looks as if that’s changed.

            Come on. Wouldn’t that make anyone a little bitter? Ronan hates his guts, Allen paid to raise him, and Ronan probably isn’t actually his kid?

            It would have been more appropriate to say, “Whatever his mother alleges, I’ve always viewed Ronan as my son and I still love him as my son and miss him.” Not, “What! All that dough down the drain for Frank Sinatra’s brat!”

            • Manny Kant

              Well, yeah, he really shot himself in the foot there, certainly. Again: nobody is arguing that Woody Allen is not a narcissistic asshole.

            • postmodulator

              It would have been far more noble to say that, absolutely.

              Woody Allen’s most ardent defenders still have to concede that the 1992 court found that — totally independent of the abuse allegations — Allen was possibly the worst father who ever lived.

          • oudemia

            Ronan really doesn’t look like Frank Sinatra. He is pretty much the very image of Mia Farrow’s dad John. http://www.farrow-osullivan.com/images/Johnvilliersfarrow/John_Farrow_3_b.jpg

            • calling all toasters

              The chin, eye sockets, forehead all look vastly different from Woody but similar to Frank. Plus, blue eyes are from a recessive gene– what are the chances Woody carries it?

            • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

              I’ll grant there’s a resemblance to the elder Farrow, too. But there’s no question Mia is his mother. When I put up photos of Sinatra, John and Ronan Farrow, and Woody Allen, it’s pretty easy to play one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other.

              Then there’s the Nancy Sinatra quote, and the question of whether Mia would even suggest the possibility unless it was really a probability. And Ronan has, at the very least, embraced the ambiguity.

              And there’s the fact that Allen was referred to therapy for being too close to Dylan, but slammed by the custody judge as being too distant from Ronan.

            • Mike D.

              Ronan really doesn’t look like Frank Sinatra.

              He really does, though.

              See? Anyone can play this game!

        • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

          Who said Frank wanted the kid? Google the pictures. And there’s this in Vanity Fair:

          When Orth asks Nancy Sinatra Jr. about Ronan’s being treated as if he were a member of her family, Sinatra answers in an e-mail, “He is a big part of us, and we are blessed to have him in our lives.”

          It sounds like it was an open secret, while Allen went on paying child support probably to avoid publicity, or maybe even to avoid emotional harm to the child?

          Then when Ronan is about to launch his own TV show, his mother lets the cat out of the bag. About the same time the Ronan and Mia Farrow used social media to reopen the internet litigation of the old assault allegation.

          • Ed

            Just what Michael Wolff says.

            • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

              Well, there’s a timeline to consider. I’m not quite as cynical though; Dylan at least sounds like she’s really suffered.

            • Anonymous

              You’re quoting a Hun to me?

      • Ed

        I see it partly as a shot at Ronan, who has made his enmity to Woody clear. In effect “I paid for your upbringing, and you’re not even my kid, no matter what your mom says. Nach!”

        How is that Ronan’s fault? He, too, was brainwashed, no?

        • calling all toasters

          Not justifying it; not certain I’m right. But not everyone goes along with whatever brainwashing may have occurred. Moses didn’t at all, eventually. Dylan held her tongue for 20 years AFAIK. Ronan has taken up the role of avenger– he’s more vocal than Mia at this point.

          • Ed

            I still don’t see why Ronan’s “vocals” should be held against him by anyone, least of all Allen. Surely it only means that his mother’s thought control techniques have damaged him the more deeply?

  • I’ll throw in my two cents here. And thank you Anon for your comments.

    My father was a drunken bastard. My mother was a saint. He left us all when I was 12.

    The next 30 years were a screaming diatribe on her part to remind the world he was the biggest monster who ever lived. Faced with that sort of obsession, children’s memories of the absent parent get distorted. Always. Always.

    The end of the marriage came after my dad got into a shoving match with my 16 year-old brother. In the years after dad left, my brother came to remember that he knocked my dad out with a single punch, followed by my dad slowly waking back up, standing up and challenging my brother again, and my brother knocking him out a second time. Bro is in his fifties now and this is the only thing in life that he’s 100 percent sure of. My sister saw the shoving match, I heard it from my bed, and it was shoving.

    My older sister at one point was convinced my father molested her, but she was confused why she couldn’t recall the specifics. She does however remember my father whipping her ass with a belt and getting spattered in her blood. I got my ass whipped too, but without the horrors.

    A series of back surgeries eventually disabled my father when I was 8 years old. After he left, my mother informed me that the whole thing was a conspiracy with his doctor so that he’d never have to work again. Forget that he was a scratch golfer who quit the game, and he lost the sensation in one of his feet, and he could barely walk – it was all a grift. He was just lazy. He also used the divorce proceedings to hatch another conspiracy with his lawyers and the judge to screw her out of proper alimony. Never mind that he lived on paltry disability until he died. I believed everything mom said.

    I turned 18 and went to Berkeley, and then I was near enough to see dad again, and that’s when I found out he was just a drunken bastard. It wasn’t until I got into my 30s that I learned my mom had Borderline Personality Disorder.

    One parent leaves. If the other parent is talking shit at all about the absent one, it’s child abuse. If it goes on day after day, the minds of the children will become badly warped if not destroyed. The trust placed in a parent is so absolute that it’s impossible to prevent it from happening. Dylan could easily believe in a fairy tale. A lie gets close to the truth when a parent is as fucked-up as dad was, or Woody Allen is.

    • postmodulator

      It wasn’t until I got into my 30s that I learned my mom had Borderline Personality Disorder.

      Ouch. That’s a rough one. I’ve been there.

      I’ve refrained from commenting on my own biases in this whole thing, but my own biases, such as they are, mostly extend to being able to confirm that abusive, manipulative hell-beasts are totally allowed to become mothers in this country.

      • Yet I’d have to get a license to cut your hair. Ain’t that a kicker?

        • Lee Rudolph

          Hey, TRIGGER WARNING if you’re going to bring up Matt Yglesias!!!

          • postmodulator

            Can you sign for the delivery of an Internet? Addressed to Lee Rudolph?

          • joe from Lowell


    • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

      Thanks for telling your story.

    • I’m very sorry for your hardship. Thanks for sharing it.

    • SaturdayNightSangria

      I’m sorry about your situation, that’s horrible.

      My situation is nowhere near that bad but its given me the same opinion. I grew up very close to my mother, since my father always worked two jobs. Not only did I look more like her, I also shared her personality. And far from least of all, I was also quite close to her because my father beat her. Probably every 9 months or so when I was younger. Fortunately by the time I left for college there hadn’t been an incident in maybe 2 years.

      It took me living out of state for 30 years to really know them however. When they got older I took a leave of absence to care for them. It wasn’t until then that I realized that my mother suffers from a very deep, pathological depression that leads her toward extreme passive-aggressive behavior and paranoia. She also suffers from high anxiety. At any rate I observed that she frequently instigates incidents. She’s the type who not only puts a chip on her shoulder and dares you to knock it over but when you walked the other way to avoid her she’d intentionally step into your path so that you couldn’t help but knock it off her shoulder. I’ve twice had to call the police because of her behavior, including once on Christmas Day. Sometimes she uses guilt as her billy club: “You know your father didn’t even want you; he wanted me to have an abortion but I refused.” I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she’s Bipolar but we can’t get her to treatment for anything but the high anxiety.

      At any rate I look back now and wonder how I could have been so blind to my mother’s behavior. I can’t tell if my father’s behavior created her present condition–or if her condition instigated his behavior. I say all that to say that its hard unless you get a great deal of space to ever really “know” your parents. Its like asking someone to describe air. If its the only thing you’ve ever known you can’t actually know it. In terms of this whole Woody/Dylan/Mia thing I don’t know. Nothing would surprise me frankly. I could totally believe that at this present moment Dylan is operating under her mother’s influence–I thought my father was monstrous when I was younger–or it could be absolutely as she says–my father did unquestionably beat my mother. So, speaking from my personal experience, you’re fooling yourself if you think you have a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding what happened.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Ain’t that the truth. Thanks for posting it.

      • AnonSoICanWriteFrankly

        So, speaking from my personal experience, you’re fooling yourself if you think you have a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding what happened.


  • Philip Arlington

    Nothing is gained by tossing in party political partisanship. A small minority of members of every major political party in the world are child molesters. Most members of every major political party in the world are not child molesters. Making it a partisan issue does not help one single child.

    I only come for the law school articles, and I wish you were still posting them in a neutral venue rather than in this blog, which full of material on other articles which is alienating to anyone who is not of your ideological orientation. Why discourage so many people whose influence is needed to resolve the law school problem from reading your articles about the law school problem?

    PS. I’m English and I despise both of America’s major parties.

    • Lee Rudolph

      And I’m sure they both despise you!

      • postmodulator

        I kind of despise him and all I did was read one blog comment. Hey, dick-for-brains, it’s nice that as an Englishman you get to pat yourself on the back for being above America’s domestic politics, but most of us commenting on this blog have to live here.

  • doofus

    I guess I just think, hey, if there’s a standardized “privileged white male” around which a prosecutor’s office and a police department would close ranks with and rally to protect, it would be a figure such as Woody Allen. Right?

    • Breadbaker

      Absolutely. It was hard to get into the Match Point premiere at our local cineplex because of all the cop cars in the parking lot and then you couldn’t see over all their caps.

    • postmodulator

      Ehhhh. I see what this is saying, but on the other hand, how likely is it that a bunch of people in the prosecutor’s office have fond memories of laughing their asses off at Bananas or the giant boob scene in Everything You Always Wanted to Know…

      I don’t think it’s certain that powerful institutions would instinctively sympathize with this particular famous filmmaker. I do think it’s a possibility.

      I think the more cogent criticism is the possibility that in 1992 child molestation investigations were routinely badly mishandled, and that this was an artifact of the patriarchy. But even then I couldn’t swear to it. It’s not exactly my area of expertise.

  • Hello, neat site you have got presently.

  • joe from Lowell

    And once again, the value of basing your understanding of the facts on a political narrative is demonstrated for all to see, and for some to grasp.

    When you don’t know something, you say you don’t know. You don’t pretend that you do know, and shit on people who acknowledge that they don’t, just because it would be good for agenda to pretend you know it.

    This remains true, even if the agenda is a really, really good one.

  • Medicine Man

    I’m so glad I don’t have to chose sides in the Mia Farrow/Woody Allen imbroglio. Jesus Christ, what a mess! It really is like trying to decide which of the narcissist assholes is being less truthful.

  • PhedUp
    • David W.

      Thanks for the link, it’s good to get a child abuse professional’s perspective on this.

      I’m wondering if the reason why there wasn’t a trial was because Mia Farrow thought that if it went badly for her that it would jeopardize the child custody case, and that was a chance she wasn’t willing to take.

  • JJA

    Some other interesting facts regarding this case, albeit circumstantial and somewhat off-topic, but still interesting:

    (1) Mia’s brother (Dylan’s uncle) is currently serving 10 years for the rape of 2 young boys in 2002.

    (2) Mia & Woody’s son Moses supports his father, and he claims his mother had coached the kids to hate Woody.

    (3) Woody has gone-on to adopt two more kids with Sun Yi. There is no evidence of abuse, bur rather all indications are that he’s a loving husband and father.

    (4) The infamous Valentine Day card Mia gave Woody.

    (5) Mia remains friends and even served as a character witness back in 2010 for Roman Polanski, who admitted to drugging and raping a 13 year old girl. What on earth is the mother of a rape victim doing associating with such a man?

  • Philip Arlington

    Either Woody or Mia should have gone to jail. I lean towards Mia, but we will never know for sure.

    Either way, feminists (including male feminists, who are the smuggest of all because they imagine themselves to be self-sacrificing when they are really just muddled in the head due to an overdose of false guilt) begin to comprehend what a wicked thing it is to make false allegations of child abuse.

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