Woody Allen, formerly one of the most influential figures in Hollywood, had a major impact on the development of independent westerns in the ’70s and ’80s. Aside from launching the careers of actors like Jeff Daniels, Diane Keaton, and many more, Allen won an Oscar for Best Director for Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Woody Allen is more known in the modern world of cinema as a controversial character due to claims of sexual misconduct that were levelled against him in the 1990s, despite his earlier and more recent success with Midnight in Paris, among other films.
In 1980, Woody Allen met Mia Farrow, a famous actress known for roles in films including Rosemary’s Baby and The Great Gatsby who is also the biological and adoptive mother of seven children. With the success of Annie Hall and his subsequent film Manhattan, in which a 40-year-old man falls for a 16-year-old girl, Woody Allen had already established himself as a major voice in the cinema industry.
Allen and Farrow dated for 12 years, during which they took care of Farrow’s kids and eventually adopted Dylan and Moses. But in 1992, the relationship ended dramatically when Mia Farrow found a stack of Allen’s graphic nude images of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn in his residence. Previn was only 21 when the images surfaced; Woody Allen was well into his 50s.
In the months following this realisation in the latter half of 1992, Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, informed her mother of an alleged molestation incident involving the director and herself when they were children. According to court testimony, on August 4, 1992, Allen visited Dylan in the Connecticut home of the Farrow family, where Kristie Groteke, a babysitter, and Sophie Berge, a French tutor, were both presents.
Strickland, who had noticed something odd about Woody Allen’s visit, reported to her boss that she had witnessed Allen’s father kneeling in front of his son, Dylan, then seven years old, with the boy’s head in her lap.
Mia Farrow, Dylan’s mother, heard what her daughter had to say and quickly contacted an attorney and took her daughter to a paediatrician, where Dylan said she had seen no evidence of abuse and had not discussed the matter with her.
While Farrow and a friend took their two adopted children, Tam and Isaiah, shopping on August 4, 1992, Allen visited his family at their Connecticut country house.
Farrow and Allen were to sign an agreement on August 6 that Allen would pay $6,000 a month for the support of Dylan, Satchel and Moses; Martin Weltz, Farrow’s lawyer, reported that on August 4 Farrow called him to delay the processing of the agreement.
After Farrow left, Dylan, Satchel, Farrow’s babysitter Kristie Groteke, the children’s French tutor Sophie Berge, Farrow’s friend’s three children, and Farrow’s friend’s babysitter Alison Strickland were all in the house. From what Farrow has told us, Moses was “off by himself on a walk” when she left the house. According to Moses, he was home when Allen came to visit.
Strickland testified at the custody hearing that she overheard Allen say she had seen Dylan, then seven years old, with his head in her lap while she was kneeling on the floor in front of him. According to, Dylan told Farrow what had happened, and she did not like it. Farrow called her lawyer for advice and was ordered to send Dylan to a paediatrician in her area. Dylan was taken to her regular paediatrician, Vadakkekara Kavirajan, but she never mentioned any maltreatment to him despite Farrow’s best efforts.
According to the expert Farrow hired, Dylan made the allegation of abuse “in fits and starts,” and in a way that “set a tone for a child about how to answer,” and Dylan told Farrow that she had been with Allen in the attic and that he had touched her private parts. Farrow had videotaped Dylan answering her questions before the second visit to the paediatrician.
Dylan made the same accusation again the next day when they went back to visit Kavirajan. Kavirajan notified authorities but claimed to have found no physical evidence of sexual molestation. According to what Kavirajan later told an interviewer, “state law” mandates that he report any suspicions of child abuse. During one of Satchel’s therapy sessions, Susan Coates informed Allen of the claim, to which he responded, “I’m utterly stunned,” a phrase he repeated multiple times.
Allen vs Farrow Documentary
Allen v. Farrow, an HBO documentary series premiering in 2021, focused on the sexual abuse claim. The series, which was directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, focuses mostly on the experiences of Dylan Farrow and Mia Farrow and includes home movies and interviews with family members.
After being approached for interviews for the documentary, Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, and Moses Farrow all politely declined. It’s been praised by critics and audiences alike, but some say it’s biased and leaves out important information.
Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have spoken out against the show, saying it misrepresented their relationship and portrayed them in a negative light.
In response, the directors have denied the allegations.
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