Dylan Farrow renewed molestation allegations against Woody Allen, claiming the movie director sexually assaulted her when she was seven after he and actress Mia Farrow adopted her.
In an open-letter to The New York Times posted online on Saturday, Dylan Farrow made her first public comments about the 1992 incident. In a letter to op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, she said she was moved to speak out because of Hollywood’s continued embrace of Allen.
“That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,” wrote Farrow. “I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls.”
The New York Times reported that Allen declined to comment. Also, representatives for Allen and for former partner Mia Farrow also did not immediately return requests for comment on Saturday.
Allen, who attended Saturday night’s New York Knicks game, has long maintained his innocence.
In the letter, Dylan Farrow claims that in 1992 at the family’s Connecticut home, Allen led her to a “dim, closet-like attic” and “then he sexually assaulted me.” Farrow didn’t specify Allen’s actions, but described other abusive behaviour.
Farrow said Allen would have her get in bed with him, and at other times “place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out.”
“For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like,” said Farrow. “These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal.”
Allen was investigated on child molestation claims for the alleged 1992 incident in Connecticut, but prosecutors elected not to charge him.
The handling of the investigation was criticised after Litchfield County state attorney Frank S. Maco said in a press conference there was “probable cause” to charge Allen, although he chose not to. A disciplinary panel found that Maco may have prejudiced the then-ongoing custody battle between Allen and Mia Farrow by making an accusation without formal charges.
The 1992 allegation came shortly after Allen became involved with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen, then in his mid-50s, was not the adoptive father of Previn, who was about 19 at the time. The two married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters.
Though many fans never forgave Allen for his romance with Previn, the director’s career was largely uninterrupted. He has continued to release a new film almost every year, with his latest, Blue Jasmine, earning three Academy Award nominations, including a screenwriting nomination for Allen.
Dylan Farrow’s open-letter was precipitated by Allen being honoured at the Golden Globes with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Allen didn’t attend as he largely abstains from awards shows. But during the telecast’s tribute, Ronan Farrow tweeted: “Missed the Woody Allen tribute — did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age seven before or after Annie Hall?”
Ronan Farrow is the lone biological child of Allen and Mia Farrow, though Farrow has said her former husband Frank Sinatra could be his father. Ronan Farrow is estranged from Allen.
A rebuke followed last week when Robert Weide, director of the PBS American Masters documentary on Allen, argued in a lengthy account on the Daily Beast that many were unaware of the facts of Allen’s relationship with Previn and that the incident with Dylan Farrow was unproven.
Dylan Farrow, who said she now lives happily married in Florida under another name, urged people not to forget her side of the story and lamented “a world that celebrates her tormenter”.