Woody Allen has rebutted his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow's allegations of child molestation. Just like Dylan's original letter in the same outlet, The New York Times, the reception has been divided. On Twitter, some seem to believe the letter absolutely vindicates him. Others, however, feel it made him look terrible and proved Dylan's point about what a self-centered, narcissitic man he is.
The letter is steeped in outrage -- as you might expect from someone who says he has been falsely accused of something utterly heinous. He says he first heard accusations that he had molested Dylan in the aftermath of his break-up with Mia Farrow, which was particularly acrimonious given that he had begun a sexual relationship with Mia's adopted 19-year-old daughter, Soon-Yi.
When I first heard Mia Farrow had accused me of child molestation, I found the idea so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought.
Many have pointed out that this is strange. You wouldn't give molestation accusations a second thought? Wouldn't you be furious? Scared? Something? But people react differently to different events, so ... Then he writes how he thought the entire thing would go away quickly:
Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation ... I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry ... that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely.
Did the term "blissful early stages" make anyone else cringe? As he normally does, Allen dismisses out of hand -- or doesn't even acknowledge -- the absolute bombshell he dropped into the family by starting a secret romantic relationship with Mia's daughter and his children's sister.
This is where I think Allen's letter goes horribly astray. He never once acknowledges that this was a betrayal of the highest magnitude. He seems to truly believe that everyone should have just been overjoyed for his newfound love. Only a narcissist of the highest order could be so stubbornly obtuse.
Allen then goes on to quote selective parts of the investigation into the accusations, and for some reason repeatedly quotes his adopted son Moses' contention that the molestation never happened -- as if Moses would know?
Then he gets in some shots at Mia's character -- which is perhaps warranted, given that his own is being attacked. He also claims the molestation could have never happened in a small attic -- since he's "a major claustrophobe."
He ends with:
Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter's well-being.
I don't think the letter will persuade anyone who didn't already believe him to his side, and vice versa. But I can't help going back to Woody's Time interview about Soon-Yi from 2001. The entire thing is one big lesson in how deep his denial can run. Asked by the incredulous reporter if he didn't think how Mia would react to his affair, he answered:
[Mia] would have thought more or less the same thing if it had been my secretary or an actress.
And as for the Mia's family?
These people are a collection of kids, they are not blood sisters or anything.
A "collection of kids"?!! As if all of these children just happened to wander into Mia's house one day and use it as a crash pad?
Being a tone-deaf narcissist -- which Allen certainly is -- doesn't make him a molester. But it does make him a fairly poor example of a human being. How odd given that his movies can be so tender and self-aware.
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Now that both sides have had their say, perhaps it is time to let this particular family's sad and wounded dynamics fade into the ether. At the end of the day, this isn't about us.
Does Woody Allen's letter persuade you one way or the other?
Editor's Note: Dylan has already responded to Allen's rebuttal. The entire letter can be found in the Hollywood Reporter.
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