Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow: Just the Facts
Earlier this week in Slate, I took issue with Robert B. Weide’s much-passed-around Daily Beast piece defending Woody Allen against accusations of sexual assault that have been made by his daughter, Dylan Farrow, who recently wrote an open letter in the New York Times detailing her memories of the alleged abuse. Many readers have criticized my piece for focusing on Weide’s rhetoric and tone, not his facts. So here’s a just-the-facts second pass clarifying five key points that Weide fumbled.
No. 1: The sexual-abuse allegations did not happen in the midst of a custody battle.
In his Daily Beast piece, Weide refers to “Mia [Farrow]’s accusation—used during their custody battle for their three shared children—that Woody molested their 7-year-old adopted daughter Dylan.” He also suggests it’s unlikely that Allen would have molested Dylan “in the middle of custody and support negotiations, during which Woody needed to be on his best behavior.” Many of Allen’s defenders have floated the possibility that Mia Farrow concocted the allegations to use as leverage in the custody battle; Steve Kroft suggests just this scenario in the introduction to a 1992 60 Minutes interview with Allen. In that segment, Allen tells Kroft that it would have been “illogical” to molest Dylan “at the height of a very bitter, acrimonious custody fight.”
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.