Woody Allen is a name that most film enthusiasts are very familiar familiar with. He has either written, directed, or written and directed over 73 films. He has won four Academy Awards. Some of his most famous works include Midnight in Paris, Manhattan, What’s New Pussycat, and Small Time Crooks. His movies have had A-list stars such as Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson and many others. However, recently his name has been in the news for something that is more horrific and dark than film.
Back in 1980, Woody Allen became partners with one of his former stars, Mia Farrow. After 12 years of partnership, their relationship came to a grinding halt as allegations arose of child abuse. In 1993, Mia Farrow accused Allen of sexually abusing her daughter, Allen’s adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow. After a long and grueling investigation, Allen was found innocent of all charges.
Just last month the Golden Globes took place, and a tribute to Allen took place, highlighting his career that spans over 50 years and 73 films. This tribute, narrated by Diane Keaton who won an academy award for her role in Allen’s Annie Hall, received wide acclaim from all who are apart of the film community, minus one. Later that week, a letter was released to the public directed at Woody Allen from his ex-adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. Farrow published the letter to the New York Times outlining the sexual abuse that she suffered at the hands of her father when she was only seven years old. She also called out Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin, all who appear in Allen’s new movie Blue Jasmine, which is up for three Academy Awards, including best screenplay (written by Allen) saying that these stars, and includes many others, turned a “blind eye” to her and her mother concerning the charges.
Farrow continues to write that the pain of Allen not being convicted was made worse by Hollywood, that they would “rather accept the ambiguity” than face the reality of what happened. Farrow states that she stills struggles to this day and has found comfort in the outreach that has followed her ordeal from other survivors of abuse. However, shortly after her letter was released Woody Allen released a response calling the whole thing “ludicrous,” and “malevolent.” In Allen’s response, he denies all claims made by Dylan and called out her mother, Mia, accusing her of fabricating the whole situation and coercing her daughter into making the claims. He wrote he has nothing to hide and it is all an elaborate scam put on by Mia.
After Woody released that response, Dylan Farrow responded once more. She refuted that Allen did anything but cooperate, and instead of taking a court ordered lie detector test, he hired his own private test, as well as lying and accusing Dylan of making up her abuse. In Dylan’s final statement she stays strong, “Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me — but nothing he says or writes can change the truth. For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life.”
As soon as the abuse scandal began in the 90’s, women from all over have reached out to Dylan, helping her heal and move on, and she thanks them directly in her letter. But beyond calling out Woody Allen, Dylan Farrow asks, is it okay for one to lead a talented and professional life, versus private life with such distinction? Should the film industry, and all those who attend his films, continue to support him? Here’s a little statistic: less than 2% of all rape/abuse accusations are fake. In Allen’s response there are tons of irregularities, stories that do not add up on his end. Dylan has, time after time stood to her story, standing strong for herself and to provide a strong, powerful role model for all victims of abuse, and urges those who have fallen victim to speak out and find peace.
-Sam Van Pykeren