There was a funny parallel (I guess) between our film, Inheritance, Italian Style and the woes of the famous film maker Woody Allen. We were covered in a story about the making of the film in an Italian newspaper called La Sicilia, and underneath it was an article about Allen with his photo and the headline “Oscar under shadow of abuse allegations.”
The allegations, which re-surfaced this year and which he denies, is that Allen had sexually abused his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was a child. She was one of a collection of 15 adopted and biological children of Mia Farrow who seemed to collect children like other women collect handbags. Mia Farrow of course starred in several of Woody Allen’s film. At the time he had a relationship with her but they didn’t live together. Ronanc Farrow (which is the one thing we can discern for certain, i.e. that he is her son) supported these claims of childhood abuse, as did Mia Farrow. Ronan was thought to be the child of Allen, but he probably is the son of Mia Farrow’s former husband, Frank Sinatra, with whom she was probably having an affair at the time she was supposedly with Allen, based on the public comments she made about Ronan.
There are several reasons why I don’t think this story is true. First of all, Farrow had a very acrimonious relationship at the time with Allen, and had reasons to point the finger out of spite. In addition, she has a history of being volatile and unpredictable. One of her other children, Moses Farrow, was quoted in People magazine as stating that Allen was never alone with Dylan that day. Furthermore, he described an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the household of combined adopted and biological children that belied the image of harmony that Farrow tried to show the outside world.
From an early age, my mother demanded obedience and I was often hit as a child. She went into unbridled rages if we angered her, which was intimidating at the very least and often horrifying, leaving us not knowing what she would do.
Dylan Farrow’s story changed from the initial report, after Mia Farrow talked to her alone, and after a thorough evaluation by child abuse experts at the Yale Child Study Center (where I used to be a faculty member, in the department of adult psychiatry), they concluded that there was no evidence of abuse. In addition, there appeared to be maliciousnes and lack of fairness in the State of Connecticut Child Protective Services, an entity that I have interacted with and do not have a high opinion of, as well as the prosecutors involved in the case. Finally, in spite of what appeared to be bias against him, Allen was never convicted of anything.
I think there is a tendency to jump to conclusions when rumor or inuendo are floated around, especially in highly emotional areas like child abuse. I have conducted research and treatment with child sexual abuse survivors for many years, and this case does not fit the usual picture on many levels. Allen was convicted in the court of public opinion as someone who married his under age step daughter, but this is not true on all levels. Soon Yi was not his step daughter, she was the adopted daughter of Andre Previn and Mia Farrow, and she was 21 when they got together. They have been married happily ever since. They are doing fine, Mia is not. Her brother was recently convicted of child sex abuse, indicating that her own family background may not have been that stable, to say the least.
Update January 30, 2018: After reviewing the information related to this case including subsequent interviews with Dylan Farrow after reaching adulthood where there is a description of grooming behavior that is typical pedophile behavior from my experience I am changing the conclusion of this post.