Woody Allen's adoptive daughter, Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow, has penned an open letter in which she details the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her father.
Woody Allen adopted two children, Dylan and Moses, with Mia Farrow in addition to their biological son.
Farrow and Allen were in a relationship from 1980 and had one biological child, Ronan 'Satchel' Farrow, together and adopted two children, one of whom is Dylan. The couple separated in 1992 when Farrow discovered Allen was having a relationship with her adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi. During the subsequent custody battle, there were a number of allegations made against Allen relating to alleged abuse of then 7-year-old Dylan. The case was brought to court in September 1993 and a number of rulings dismissed Allen's abuse charges, according to The American Law Library. However, the Connecticut State Attorney Frank Maco, announced that he had "probable cause" to prosecute Allen, he was dropping the case in order to protect Dylan from "the trauma of appearing in court."
The Farrow-Allen family and its numerous scandals came, once again, to public attention when Farrow and a number of her children gave an interview in Vanity Fair. In addition to the abuse allegations, Ronan's paternity was called into question and Farrow suggested was "possibly" Frank Sinatra's son. With the exception of the Vanity Fair interview, Dylan has rarely spoken about the allegations against Allen until yesterday (1st February) when she penned an open letter, published in The New York Times.
The letter details the alleged abuse: how it began, Dylan's continued feelings of fear and her resulting health issues. She wrote how, as a result of Allen's alleged abuse, "I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself."
Mia Farrow and her children discussed Allen in an interview with Vanity Fair.
Dylan believes Hollywood culture was largely responsible for the doubts many hold about the Allen's relationship with his step-children. Dylan wrote how many neglected to truly consider her claims owing to Allen's standing in Hollywood. She wrote: "That torment was made worse by Hollywood. 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 continued, saying her "torment" was made worse by Allen's high profile presence, "Each time I saw my abuser's face - on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television - I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart."
Dylan, now married and supported by her extensive family (Farrow has fifteen children, four biological and eleven adopted), explained her motivation for writing the letter 22 years after the alleged incidents. Dylan was primarily prompted to write about her memories as Allen has recently been awarded the Cecil B DeMille Award at the Golden Globes and is nominated for an Oscar. This acclaim has infuriated Dylan as she felt, each time Allen was nominated for an award, "Woody Allen's acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away."
She also felt she had a responsibility to the sufferers of abuse who had contacted her. On this matter, she wrote: "But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me - to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren't their memories - have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don't have to be silent either."
Towards the end of her letter, Dylan summed up her feelings towards Allen and the reaction by Hollywood, and the rest of society, to her allegations, she wrote: "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse."
Woody Allen married Farrow's adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi, in 1997.