February 5, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
You think your family is a bit, um, unique? Legendary film director Woody Allen is married to Soon-Yi, his wife of 17 years who also happened to be his daughter at one point. His step-daughter, but still. Now, his ex-partner and film co-star Mia Farrow (Soon-Yi’s adoptive Mom), and her son, Ronan, are pointing the finger (again) at Woody, claiming that he molested yet another family member, Dylan, adopted daughter of Mia, when she was only 7.
Got all that?
Let me slow things down a bit and fill in some details of this complicated plot for you.
In the early 1990s, Woody Allen’s romantic partner at the time, Mia Farrow, ex-wife of Frank Sinatra (yep, that Frank Sinatra) and an actress who starred in several of the Woodman’s films herself, was Soon-Yi’s adopted Mom at the time she (Soon-Yi) met and then eventually started dating Mr. Allen. Mia Farrow is actually the Mother of 14 adopted kids in all. These kids come from broken homes and several from abused backgrounds. Mia and one of her sons, Ronan Farrow, claim that Woody started seducing Soon-Yi as a minor and taking and possessing pornographic photos of her prior to them later dating and getting hitched.
In an even more explosive bombshell they assert that at about the same time Allen was seducing Soon-Yi he was also sexually molesting Ronan’s sister, Dylan Farrow when she was age 7. Supposedly, the molestation was occurring in the early 1990s, charges that Mr. Allen adamantly denies now and then and all during the legal action against him in the 1990s which ended without a conviction.
Wait, it gets better, or at least takes on a more recent vintage.
Recently, the filmmaker won a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes and both Mia and Ronan almost immediately went on the offensive. Indignant to the point of being repulsed, the verbal assaults and disgust began flying fast and furious on the internet with tweets from Ronan (see below) and a full scale media blitz which also included an open letter of accusations from Dylan of the molestation printed this week in the NY Times.
Mr. Allen now calls the charges what he has consistently called the charges, “untrue and disgraceful.” And he is not alone in the defense of his innocence. Another actress and former romantic partner of Woody’s, Stacey Nelkin has sat down with Piers Morgan among others to dispute the claims and call into question the motives and timing of Mia and Ronan’s frontal assault on the filmmaker’s character. In an interesting plot twist though, Ms. Nelkin admits that she and Woody started dating when she was 17 and he was 52 and that she was from a broken home and looking for “a daddy figure.” Okay, that’s a little creepy.
In a fiction copies reality (again) scene, Allen’s film Manhattan in which he seduces a young Mariel Hemingway is based on his real-life relationship with Ms.Nelkin. Okay, not too shocking, artists are often inspired by their own life and their own muses. But, are you sitting down?, good, Ms. Hemingway claims in her book “Running from Crazy” where she details a life of addiction, promiscuity and profound mental depression that Woody was her first kiss at the tender age of 16 and she had mixed feelings for him as her first kiss, as a filmmaker and as a mentor (Woody was in his 50s at the time).
Okay, now even I am starting to see a possibly disturbing pattern of creepy behavior. On and off-screen.
Still, Ms. Nelkin goes on to claim that at one point in the very messy and very contentious separation between Mia and Woody that Mia, via an intermediary, pressured Nelkin to claim that she was actually 15 and not 17 when Woody began to share sexual intimacies with her. In a magazine profile at about this same time, Mia allegedly gave Woody a “Valentine’s Day gift” which was a family photo with steel turkey skewers through the hearts of the children and a steak knife through Mia’s heart.
Nice. Sweet. Customized. The rich and famous truly are different.
Cut to today though and no less than the venerable Ms. Barbara Walters has joined in the fray, passionately defending the Woodman. Walters cites her many years of knowing Woody and Soon-Yi and observing the extremely sensitive and caring way he acts toward he and Soon-Yi’s adopted children, Bechet, age 14 and Manzi, age 13.
But, here’s the thing that there’s no use trying to get around. Barbara Walters does not know what really happened. Ms. Nelkin does not fully know one way or the other. Nor I would argue, do Mia or Ronan.
And you and I certainly don’t know.
Only Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow fully know what did or did not happen when she was age 7. And now we hear from therapists, counselors and lawyers for Mr. Allen that Mia has been “poisoning” Dylan with lies for years to destroy Allen to the point where she (Dylan) may now completely believe an untruth.
And we hear from supporters of Mia and from counselors who try and assist victims that the molester often develops layers of “denial” and “justification” so thick and so intense that the truth gets buried. Often, so deep the molester is convinced that he is truly being persecuted. Sometimes to exact a pound (or two) of flesh in relationships gone wrong. Sometimes because “the world” just doesn’t “get” the love and sensitivity the molester feels toward children.
Which kind of brings us back to square one. We don’t know. Not in Woody Allen’s case and unless I’ve missed something, not fully in Michael Jackson’s various cases and accusations.
Which made me think for a minute about the nature of being famous and a celebrity right now, in this age of social media and internet and tweets. We all get the kind of intimate access into the personal lives of the famous never before imaginable. And, we feel like we “know” them. Through their instagram pics, their tweets, their tumbler shots, we seem to be right alongside them as they lead their lives.
But, despite unprecedented access, we still do not know them. Not really.
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935. Of this I am fairly certain. A search of IMDB gives me a list of his films he directed and acted in and it is impressive. Of these I am even more certain.
When it comes to Woody’ guilt or innocence as a child molester I just do not know. And neither do you.
There are an estimated 3 million children molested each year in the US alone. There are an estimated 33 million living victims of child molestation today in the US. Child molestation is a crime, it is a sickness and it is under-reported and often misunderstood and mistreated. Of this I am certain.
Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine has been nominated for an Oscar award. he has ample motivation to protect his legacy as a legendary Hollywood icon. Mia and Ronan, who is promoting a new talk show that he will host, have ample motivation to tear that legacy to pieces.
But only Woody and Dylan Farrow know what did or did not happen.
And you and I may never know the truth.
But we all can take steps to better identify and prevent child molestation from ever happening to any of our very real loved ones. Maybe, this ongoing debate about Woody Allen’s guilt or innocence can take on an even greater, more universal impact. Maybe, more people will get armed with the truth and help get this crime out of the shadows and into the light of day so that its many victims get the full support and justice they demand and desperately deserve.
Now that’s a legacy truly worth preserving and protecting.
Below the Tiger are some links used in this post and to get more information about this very real and tragic crime. Because knowledge is the first step to prevention.
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? (Ronan Farrow tweet)