Yesterday, Moses Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, published a long blog post refuting claims put forth by his mother and sister, Dylan, that his father sexually abused Dylan when she was seven years old. Dylan wrote about the alleged incident in the New York Times in 2014, sparking a new wave of interest in an allegation that has been public since at least 1992, when Vanity Fair published a long story about Mia’s belief that Allen had physically and sexually abused their children.
In his blog post, Moses writes at length about the day, August 4, 1992, on which Dylan alleges that Allen took her into an attic in the family’s country home in Connecticut and sexually assaulted her after instructing her to play with a toy train set. Moses, who was 14 at the time, refutes specific details of Dylan’s story, including the notion that there was a train set in the attic. He also says that he was tasked by Mia with making sure that Allen and Farrow were not alone together, and that none of the three adult nannies who were present mentioned on that day that anything suspicious had gone on between Farrow and Allen. (Mia was later notified by one of the nannies that she saw Allen place his head on Dylan’s lap; in his post, Moses attempts to undercut that by asking why the nanny didn’t notify either of the other adults on the day in question.)
In her widely-circulated 2014 open letter in The New York Times, the adult Dylan suddenly seemed to remember every moment of the alleged assault, writing, “He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”
It’s a precise and compelling narrative, but there’s a major problem: there was no electric train set in that attic. There was, in fact, no way for kids to play up there, even if we had wanted to. It was an unfinished crawl space, under a steeply-angled gabled roof, with exposed nails and floorboards, billows of fiberglass insulation, filled with mousetraps and droppings and stinking of mothballs, and crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes.
Moses relies heavily on very specific recollections from that day in 1992, from when he was 14, Dylan was 7, and Mia was out of the house. It is, essentially, the other side of a he said, she said story, one in which the truth will almost always likely be in the eye of the beholder.
Moses also stakes his claims on the fact that two investigations into the incident by police in Connecticut and New York did not result in any charges against Allen. He cites language from a Connecticut doctor as part of the state’s investigation saying that, in the doctor’s estimation, Dylan’s testimony had “a rehearsed quality.” He connects this assertion to what he says was his own experience growing up as Mia’s son. He writes:
Those conclusions perfectly match my own childhood experience: coaching, influencing, and rehearsing are three words that sum up exactly how my mother tried to raise us. I know that Dylan has recently referred to this brainwashing theory as “spin” by our father – but it was nothing of the sort. It was not only the conclusion reached by a state-ordered investigation, it was the reality of life in our household.
Yet the particulars of even these assertions are up for debate. The doctor’s belief that Dylan’s statements were rehearsed with Mia has been cited by Allen’s defenders previously, but has also been refuted by those who take Mia’s side, specifically by a longtime chronicler of the family, Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair, who wrote in 2014 that the findings of the doctor, Dr. John Leventhal, “was not accepted as reliable” by the judge on the case. Orth wrote that Leventhal “did not examine” Dylan, but a New York Times article from 1993 states that Leventhal “interviewed Dylan nine times.” Each side hopes to present you with a single door that leads to the truth, but stepping inside only seems to present dozens of more hallways.
Dylan, for her part, responded to Moses’ blog post on Twitter yesterday afternoon by saying that it is “part of a larger effort to discredit and distract from my assault.” The full statement reads:
Woody Allen has maintained claims of innocence at various points over the years. In 2014, he wrote his own response to Dylan in the Times laying out his case for why the allegations are untrue; in January of this year, after Dylan was interviewed about her allegations on CBS This Morning, Allen released a statement that said in part:
But even though the Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time’s Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation, that doesn’t make it any more true today than it was in the past. I never molested my daughter – as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago.”
Allen’s newest film, A Rainy Day in New York, has no release date, and Page Six reported in January that its distributor, Amazon, may never let it see the light of day. The two stars of the film, Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez, have distanced themselves from Allen, with both donating at least the sums of their salaries for the movie to charity, including to the Time’s Up organization. This year, a number of actors who have appeared in Allen’s films have either apologized for doing so or said that they will never work with him again.