Did Woody Allen Molest His Adopted Daughter 22 Years Ago?
Let’s take a break from the Hollywood tributes to him and reconsider the evidence.
For more than 20 years, any and every new Woody Allen movie has provided occasion for handwringing over the director’s personal life: his ghastly 1992 split from Mia Farrow; his affair with Farrow’s college-age adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (whom he later married); and worst of all by far, there were the allegations that Allen molested the daughter he adopted with Farrow, 7-year-old Dylan.
The heat of controversy has recently intensified around Allen, who just earned his 24th Academy Award nomination for his latest film, Blue Jasmine, which also got nominations for actresses Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins. In November, Vanity Fair published Maureen Orth’s revisitation of the Allen-Farrow scandal, including the first-ever media interview with Dylan. The interview was a bombshell: Dylan (who now uses a different name) did not waver from the story she told at age 7 about Allen molesting and sexually assaulting her in the attic of her mother’s home in Connecticut, on Aug. 4, 1992. On her side is her brother, media-star-in-the-making Ronan Farrow. After Allen received a lifetime-achievement award at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, Ronan tweeted, “Missed the Woody Allen tribute—did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”
So what should an outside observer make of the Allen-Farrow debacle, two decades after the fact?
Jessica Winter is executive editor of newyorker.com and a former editor at Slate and Time. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Bookforum, The Believer, and many other publications. She lives with her family in Flatbush, Brooklyn.