independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Allen's daughter renews her abuse claims in open letter

Actress Mia Farrow
Actress Mia Farrow

The adopted daughter of Woody Allen has given an emotional new account of alleged sexual abuse by the film director 22 years ago, issuing a challenge to prominent Hollywood actors to stop turning a blind eye to the allegations.

Dylan Farrow (28) described the alleged abuse by Allen and her own personal "torment", saying it left her battling with guilt, a fear of being touched by men, eating disorders and self-harm, all of which, she said, "was made worse by Hollywood".

"Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse," she wrote in a 1,000 word letter that seethed with anger and defiance.

"He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we'd go to Paris and I'd be a star in his movies.

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"I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it travelled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains," she wrote in an open letter published by the 'New York Times'.

Last night Mr Allen called the allegations of child molestation "untrue and disgraceful"

His publicist Leslee Dart said: "Mr Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful." Ms Dart also said that Mr Allen would be responding soon.

Mr Allen (78) was never charged with any offence after the abuse allegations which first emerged in 1992 during a bitter custody battle with his former partner, Mia Farrow, and were the subject of a lengthy but ultimately inconclusive investigation by prosecutors in Connecticut.

Any further action against Allen looks unlikely after the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice said yesterday in a statement that the prosecutor's office would not re-examine the case unless it was asked to.

Frank Maco, the retired former county prosecutor in Litchfield, Connecticut, who dismissed the abuse charges against Allen, conceding he had "probable cause" to believe her, said yesterday that the statute of limitations had expired on the accusation.

However, while containing no additional allegations, the letter pours fuel on the already smouldering debate over Hollywood's attitude to Allen a month before his latest film, 'Blue Jasmine', is up for three Oscar nominations, including a best screenplay nomination for Allen himself.

Ms Farrow said she had decided to re-open the debate about her alleged abuse after watching Allen being showered with tributes by the actress Diane Keaton and other Hollywood stars at last month's Golden Globe Awards. "All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say: 'Who can say what happened?' To pretend that nothing was wrong," she added, before challenging several leading actors by name.

"What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin?

"What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?" she wrote.

Blanchett, who has been strongly tipped to win the best actress Oscar for her role in 'Blue Jasmine', gave only an oblique comment when asked about letter. "It's obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some resolution and peace," she said. None of the other stars mentioned had commented last night. The reaction to Ms Farrow's letter now looks certain to dominate the run-in to the Oscars ceremony on March 2, although there was no immediate change of tone evident at this weekend's Writers Guild of America awards.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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