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‘Allen v. Farrow’ Sheds Light On A Dark Hollywood Secret

Updated May 21, 2021 65.2k views18 items

Allen v. Farrow is a docuseries that casts a stark light on the decades-long allegations made against Woody Allen that he sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, throughout her early childhood. Dylan and Mia Farrow, along with their family and close friends, including celebrities like Carly Simon, give candid and sometimes disturbing accounts of Allen's behavior around his young daughter, as well as his affair with Farrow's daughter Soon-Yi Previn and the emotional abuse Farrow says she suffered during their relationship.

Although Allen does not appear in the series, he maintains his innocence, and audio excerpts from his 2020 memoir, Apropos of Nothing, give insight into how the famed director viewed the events that culminated in his separation from Farrow in 1992.

This list will update with crucial new information from HBO's Allen v. Farrow, giving you the chance to decide who's telling the truth, and if it's ever possible to fully separate the art from the artist.

  • Photo: HBO

    A Criminal Investigation Of Allen Was Launched After Dylan's Doctor Called The Police

    On August 5 and 6 of 1992, Mia Farrow took Dylan to her pediatrician following Allen's alleged abuse on August 4. Farrow says she believed the appointment would be kept confidential, but after Farrow and Dylan left, the doctor contacted police and submitted a report of suspected sexual abuse.

    The New York City Child Welfare Administration and the Connecticut State Police both launched investigations into Allen and the allegations made against him.

    The media quickly picked up the story, but Allen acted as if everything was normal. He even went to Michael's Pub in Manhattan to play the clarinet on the evening both investigations were launched.

  • Photo: HBO

    Allen Admitted To His Affair With Soon-Yi And Cast Farrow As A Woman Scorned

    On August 18, 1992, Woody Allen held a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to publicly refute the allegations of sexual abuse, which he referred to as "cruel untruths." Allen also confirmed that he was "in love" with Farrow's daughter Soon-Yi and that the two were having an affair. Allen's admission sparked a media frenzy, and tabloids flocked to get pictures of Allen and Soon-Yi in public.

    In the documentary, Rosanna Scotto, who reported on the original case, describes the powerful "PR machine" Allen had at his disposal: Headlines like, "Mia Near 'Meltdown' Over Affair" ran in the press, and Allen did interviews with Time and Newsweek that focused on his relationship with Soon-Yi rather than the abuse claims.

    Scotto states, "They were doing a great job of painting Mia Farrow as a scorned woman who would say anything."

  • Photo: HBO

    There Was No Sufficient Evidence That Dylan Lied Or Was Coached

    Connecticut's state prosecutor, Frank Maco, hired the Yale-New Haven Child Sex Abuse Clinic to interview Dylan Farrow to determine if she could be called as a witness in a possible criminal trial against Allen. The clinic interviewed Dylan nine times over the course of three months before concluding that the young girl's account was not credible. The clinic made their findings public, and Allen even gave a press conference where he thanked the clinic.

    These findings quickly came under scrutiny by other experts, who noted that Dylan was interviewed too many times, and that retelling her story so often was only traumatizing her further. These experts also claimed it wasn't surprising that small inconsistencies developed in her story, since she had to rehash the events so often. In the documentary, an adult Dylan corroborates this, saying she felt as though she wasn't giving the right answers.

    The clinic was also called out for destroying all contemporaneous notes taken by the case workers who interviewed Dylan. Maco also notes in the series that the clinic did not have the authority to exonerate Allen.

    Experts eventually confirmed Dylan's testimony was credible, and there was no evidence of coaching on Farrow's part.

  • Farrow Says That The Biggest Regret Of Her Life Is Not Being 'Perceptive Enough'

    Viewers learn in the first episode that Mia Farrow largely blames herself for the alleged sexual abuse of her children at the hands of Woody Allen. "It's my fault," Farrow laments. "I brought this guy into our family."

    Farrow explains that she had no reason to see Allen as a potential child predator, and that he got along well with her seven children. She describes something of a whirlwind romance with Allen after they met at a restaurant in 1979, and excerpts from his memoir confirm Farrow's recollection.

    Farrow goes so far as to say she understands why many fans of Allen's work refuse to believe claims of his sexual misconduct, because even when she first began noticing the famed director's unusual behavior towards their daughter, Dylan, she couldn't believe it, either.