Woody Allen attends 'The Revisionist' Opening Night at Cherry Lane Theatre. Credit: Getty Images
It was 20 years ago that allegations came forth that Woody Allen had sexually assaulted Dylan Farrow, the seven year old adopted daughter of his former partner Mia Farrow. Allen denied the charges, and an investigation proved inconclusive.
But the debate has recently come back to the fore. During the Golden Globes, as Allen was receiving a special lifetime achievement award (which he, of course, did not show up to accept), Mia and Ronan Farrow, his alleged (but possibly not), estranged biological son, took to Twitter to call him out, the latter stating outright that Dylan had "publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7."
Allen, as he always has since the incident first cooled, has stayed completely out of it. Still, the discussion became so intense that Robert Weide, who directed the 2012 film "Woody Allen: A Documentary," came to his semi-defense, writing a long piece that cleared up some misconceptions — e.g., that Woody did not in any way raise Mia Farrow's kids, including Soon-Yi Previn, his current wife — while also getting in some digs at Mia Farrow (some fair, some not quite fair). The article did not pretend to clear Allen's name, but it did seek to show how complex the issue really is.
And now things have stepped up again, to a far greater intensity. Dylan herself has written an open letter, which was published by The New York Times. "What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?" she sarcastically begins, then directly proceeds to claim that, when she was 7, he did take her to an attic and sexually assaulted her. It also lists other untoward acts he allegedly committed and goes into the trauma she's suffered since. She also calls out the actors in "Blue Jasmine," his most recent film, including Cate Blanchett.
Of course, the letter doesn't "prove" anything. But it does render an alleged occurrence even more complicated than it was already. It's hard to read without feeling that Dylan is not lying or exaggerating. But these are very serious charges, and they should not be taken lightly on either side. If some felt that Weide's piece made it a little easier to enjoy the works of Woody Allen, this just made it difficult all over again, and maybe even impossible. That said, it will take more than a series of open letters from both "sides" to suss out the truth, if the truth can ever be sussed out.