Woody Allen rejects abuse allegations as ‘untrue and disgraceful’

Dylan Farrow claimed the director sexually abused her in 1992 at the family home

A bitter family dispute and allegations of child sex abuse against Woody Allen have re-surfaced after more than two decades as the acclaimed filmmaker disputed new claims made by his adopted daughter.

The Oscar-winning director issued the denial after the New York Times published an online open letter by Dylan Farrow repeating allegations that Mr Allen had molested her when she was seven, five years after being adopted by Mr Allen and actress Mia Farrow.

Dylan, now 28, claimed in a letter published on Saturday the director sexually abused her in 1992 at the family's home in Connecticut towards the end of Mr Allen's 12-year relationship with Mia Farrow.

"Mr Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful," his spokeswoman Leslee Dart told Hollywood Reporter on Sunday. "He will be responding very soon."


Ms Farrow and Mr Allen separated after she discovered the filmmaker had been having an affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, who was 19 at the time. Mr Allen was in his late 50s.

Custody battle
Allegations of Dylan Farrow's abuse first arose during a custody battle between the couple over their three children, including Dylan. Connecticut police investigated the claims and an independent medical team concluded Dylan had not been molested. Mr Allen was not charged with wrongdoing.

“When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house,” Dylan Farrow wrote. “He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”

A lawyer for Mr Allen pinned blame on Mia Farrow, the daughter of Co Roscommon-born actress Maureen O’Sullivan, for the allegations being renewed publicly.

"It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces after it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities. The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen," said attorney Elkan Abramowitz.

Dylan Farrow went public with her claims after Mr Allen was awarded the Cecil B DeMille award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globe awards in Hollywood.

Her adoptive mother posted a message on Twitter a day after he received the award, saying the tribute “showed contempt” for Dylan and all abuse survivors.

Dylan's older brother Ronan Farrow, Mr Allen's only biological child with Ms Farrow who is estranged from his father, has publicly supported his sister.

At the time of the awards, he 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?"

The allegations arise again as Hollywood again celebrates Mr Allen's work. He has been nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his movie Blue Jasmine.

Dylan Farrow challenged actors such as Cate Blanchett, who has also been nominated for an Oscar for her role in Blue Jasmine, and Alec Baldwin to explain why they continue to work with Mr Allen.

Her torment, she wrote, has been “made worse by Hollywood” and that “all but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times