Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

I Believe Dylan Farrow

Features
by Melissa Silverstein
February 3, 2014 10:54 AM
12 Comments
  • |

There are a few fundamental beliefs that I hold, and one of them is that I believe women. We live in a world that does everything to protect the powerful, and when the powerless speak up, against great peril, it is a moment when we all must fundamentally look into souls and ask hard ourselves the hard questions.

This is a 20-year-old case. The statute of limitations has long lapsed. This man will never be tried and convicted for what he did to his daughter. But that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Woody Allen lost custody of his kids. Soon after, he married another one of his daughters (and has adopted several children with her.) He's gone on to make movie after movie with men and women falling over themselves to be in their films. I gave up on him a long time ago, but then when Blue Jasmine came out, I wanted to see Cate Blanchett's performance so I went. Afterwards, my first thought was, he is still such a creep and I am mad I gave him some of my money. I won't make that mistake again. He is tainted in my mind. As I exited the movie, I reminded myself that I just don't like him, his work or anything about him.  

Dylan Farrow didn't have to do what she did. She has made a life for herself under another name in Florida. She has a happy marriage. But she penned a letter and allowed a picture to be used so the anonymity she has enjoyed for two decades is now gone. So many women can't speak out after two or ten or forty years, but she spoke out after Woody Allen received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes and was nominated for another Oscar. 

In a blog post on Nicholas Kristof's site on the NY Times, she explains her reasons for finally telling her own story in her own voice for the first time: 

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, 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.

Farrow's account of Allen's pattern of targeting her is indeed harrowing: 


I didn't like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn't like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn't like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn't like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn't keep the secret anymore.

She also calls out the A-list celebrities who have chosen to collaborate with the person who sexually assaulted her:

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. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. 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. ...

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?

What is the outcome of this brave act? Will people in Hollywood not want to work with Allen? Doubtful. Will people not give Cate Blanchett her Oscar? Doubtful. But what it does is show that you can speak out against powerful people and your voice will be heard and there will be many, many people who believe you. The silence of the rape culture must be pierced and the courage of Dylan Farrow has done just that.

Features
  • |

More: Cate Blanchett, Diane Keaton

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

12 Comments

  • Brad | February 7, 2014 7:24 PMReply

    Before you wrote this article did you ask the question "who cares"? Because I know I don't. There are two people whose opinions on this issue actually matter and that's Allen and Farrow's. Your, my and everyone else's opinion on this subject is BEYOND IRRELEVANT.

  • mem | February 7, 2014 12:53 PMReply

    I do not believe Dylan Farrow and it's disappointing but hardly surprising that some feminists and many women think what she's said is the truth, truth, truth. I suggest everyone read the even handed, intelligent and far more incisive response to Dylan than these comments and Melissa's essay, Robert Weide's analysis of the current controversy. (Which in itself created controversy) - titled "the woody allen allegations not so fast" and originally posted at thedailybeast.

    As a feminist and a thinker and worker in the film industry, I'm so turned off by these immature and reactionary comments. Woody Allen is "despicable" because he tore a family asunder? Give me a break. That's what men do on an hourly occurrence the world over. If any one of us stopped consuming our dinners, buying our clothes, reading books, watching movies, driving cars, swimming in swimming pools, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, enjoying music simply because the creators of same aren't "good people" or are "bad men" (and many of them truly truly are) then we would be hermits who could not live in the world. Woody Allen, whatever you think about this, is one of the greatest filmmakers of our culture. Sorry, but that part is simply the truth.

  • JOHN | February 8, 2014 1:38 AM

    I read the Robert Weide article and if you think its "even handed" or "incisive". You need to go back to school and take reading comprehension once again. The piece was nothing but typical tabloid fodder to shine a spotlight on Mr Weide and his fanboy love for Woody Allen. He spent majority of the article talking about Mia Farrow's sexual history. As if her having had relationships in the past some how excuses Woody Allen for pursuing a relationship with her daughter. He also brought up the whole "brainwashing" theory which grows more laughable every time it comes up. Seriously does Mia Farrow really need to brainwash her children in order for them to despise Allen. I could only imagine the utter shame and embarrassment the children must feel towards Allen prancing around town with their sister/his wife. The tabloids soaking it up every time and everyone in the world never letting them forget it. Come on lets use some common sense, it really doesn't take "brainwashing" to hate Woody Allen especially for these children. The only credit I will give the Wiede article is that it was well written. Other than that Robert Weide needs to take his head out of Woody Allen's ass.

    BTW love how you ended your rant with the whole "Woody Allen is the greatest filmmaker yadadada". Right because this has anything to do with that. Seriously get off your high horse pal.

  • John | February 6, 2014 7:54 PMReply

    The one thing Woody Allen is getting a pass on by everyone in this whole controversy. Is how Woody Allen practically destroyed this family and really didn't give two hoots about it. It doesn't matter if Soon-Yi isn't his daughter. Its the fact that he willfully pursued a relationship with Soon-Yi knowing that it would probably cause more strife to a family that was already in utter ruins because of him. If he actually gave a shit he would of left this family in peace and move on with his life. But because he did what he did, everything that has befallen him is well deserved. It was a despicable act by a despicable human being.

  • JOHN | February 9, 2014 3:59 AM

    Doe you make absolutely no sense. So Mia Farrow being crazy some how makes it okay that Woody Allen screwed her daughter and its also her fault the family was destroyed. Seriously I want to know where people like you find the logic in that?

    FYI if I ever was with a woman as crazy as Mia. I'd get her the help and support she needs instead of trying to bang her daughters.

  • DOE | February 9, 2014 2:52 AM

    obviously you have never lived with a woman as crazy as Mia otherwise you wouldn't be so quick to accuse woody allan of destroying a family. To me the only person that currently actually has a family is woody allan despite all the things people say about his marriage.

  • Amy | February 4, 2014 12:01 AMReply

    He was in therapy for his fixation on Dylan, to me that's his acknowledgment that there was something wrong with the way he interacted with a little girl. Would any of Dylan's naysayers leave their little girl alone with him knowing that fact? I know I wouldn't...

  • Star | February 3, 2014 10:49 PMReply

    "There are a few fundamental beliefs that I hold, and one of them is that I believe women."

    So, if Woody Allen were a woman and Dylan Farrow a man, you'd cease to believe Dylan's accusation?

  • Holly | February 3, 2014 3:53 PMReply

    I respectfully believe her and don't doubt that she is telling the truth for one second. It was hard to hear the reports 20 years ago and it is hard now, but Woody Allen has a lifetime of movies that have meant everything to a few of us and it's a very conflicting feeling to deal with. For that reason, I wish that people wouldn't judge those of us with this history of loving his work. We have to come to terms with how we feel about him and his work, and it's harder than some may realize.

  • Matt | February 3, 2014 2:11 PMReply

    Learn the facts before you condemn another person. Soon-Yi was not his daughter. She was Mia Farrow's adopted daughter with her previous Husband (Andre Previn). Is it creepy to leave your girlfriend for her 20 year old adopted daughter? Certainly. However he most certainly did not "marry another one or his daughters."

  • aognao | February 3, 2014 12:55 PMReply

    Why did she wait this long? Why is there an imbalance of evidence on both sides? Why are you siding with her just because of her gender? You know, it's not brave to out all of hollywood and the public for working for him and seeing his films. It's cheap. It's not like anyone knew or even knows the truth.

  • Dave Meadows is not from Tulsa | February 3, 2014 12:02 PMReply

    Everything you write in this piece is truth. However, there is one truth you are forgetting: this is a business, and to air your grievances in the public forum, could be seen as crass by some (a la Mackenzie Phillips.) To name names in your personal manifesto when calling out the sins of your father, names that had absolutely nothing to do with said admitted sin other than business association, could be seen as bad form.

    No one is really saying Woody Allen is a fine human being. They are saying he is a talented human being with an incredible, unusually productive work ethic. And that would be true. To rain on that parade is perhaps not the perfect forum for familial sins, regardless of the truth.

    I wish the best for Dylan and hope she finds satisfaction and closure.

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Half of Sarajevo Film Fest Doc Contenders ...
  • Amma Asante Inspires Women Filmmakers ...
  • New York's Women’s Project Theater Hires ...
  • 17% of Venice Film Fest's Main Lineup ...
  • Trailer Watch: Dear White People Tackles ...
  • You're the Worst: Misanthropes In L ...
  • Amanda de Cadenet on Becoming the Newest ...
  • Trailer Watch: Fifty Shades of Grey ...
  • First-Time Female Filmmakers Take Home ...
  • Only 10% of Toronto Lineup So Far Directed ...