Accusations from more than two decades ago have resurfaced for critically acclaimed director Woody Allen. The four-time Oscar winner is once again facing public allegations that he sexually assaulted his adopted stepdaughter Dylan Farrow, then just 7-years-old, in 1992. The accusation casts a shadow over the creative accomplishments of the eccentric director.
Although these claims are not new, the details included in Farrow’s open letter that ran on a prominent New York Times columnist’s blog are. Farrow hauntingly described the setting she remembered from her perspective, alleging that Allen led her upstairs to a dim, dusty attic and instructed her to lay on her stomach and play with an electric train set before molesting her.
It did not take long for this chilling narrative to go viral, recapturing the attention of the public like never before. Not coincidentally, Farrow’s letter was published on the same day of the Writers Guild Awards. Allen was nominated for best screenplay for his work on the recently released Blue Jasmine. The letter shadowed the win, when doubt of integrity spilled forward from the public.
Just as he did in 1992, Woody Allen categorically denied Farrow’s claims and suggested that her motivation behind coming out with such a story stemmed from his unhappy marriage with Mia Farrow, Dylan’s mother, who coached her daughter on what to say out of vengeance.
At the time of the original accusation, Allen and Farrow were approaching the end of a rocky 12-year marriage. Their problems were in part due to Allen’s affair with then 19-year-old Soon-Yi Preven, an adopted daughter of Farrow’s from a previous relationship. The two were eventually wed in 1997.
A full-on investigation ensued after the scandal first became public. The process lasted six months and eventually led to a team of experts stating that there was no compelling evidence to suggest Farrow had been molested. The case was dropped, and Allen was never charged with any crime, something Farrow claimed still haunts her today.
Frank Maco, a now retired Connecticut prosecutor, was involved in the case when it was still ongoing in 1993. Although Maco believed there was probable cause to arrest Allen at the time, he ultimately concluded not to proceed with any charges in order to spare the young Farrow from the subsequent stress that might have resulted from a full-blown trial. Although the statute of limitations has long ago passed, Maco still believes Allen guilty to this day.
Although several of those close to Allen have already spoken up on the newly revisited allegations against him, Allen himself has not commented officially. He is expected to respond in the near future, according to Leslee Dart, his spokeswomen, in an email written on Sunday.
While Woody Allen was more or less free to go on with his life after initially being exonerated more than 20 years ago, the accusations had a lasting effect on his reputation. Now, with the added graphic details presented in Farrow’s recent letter, the media coverage is expected to begin anew and force the 78-year-old director to answer questions about the incident for the next several months. This may not bode well and may just place a shadow over the upcoming Bullets Over Broadway, a Broadway performance Allen is associated closely with.
by Spencer Hendricks