Debate continues over Woody Allen, sexual assault accusations | Deseret News National
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Andrew Medichini, Associated Press
Culture

Debate continues over Woody Allen, sexual assault accusations

Woody Allen, the famed director who received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes in January and is up for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay this year, has been accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, who is the daughter of Allen’s former partner, Mia Farrow, according to BBC News.

Dylan Farrow accused Allen of sexually assaulting her in a graphic open letter to The New York Times. Accusations of abuse were previously brought up in the early 1990s but are now returning to national headlines as Farrow has continued to speak out against Allen, NY Times reported. Farrow spoke out because she wanted to help others seeking solace in the face of similar circumstances.

“Today, I consider myself lucky,” she wrote in her open letter. “I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home. But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.”

Farrow also asked for actresses, like Cate Blanchett and Diane Keaton,to justify their decisions to work with him, as both have, or to celebrate him,” according to The New York Times. Though an Academy Awards spokesperson told The New York Times that the judges honor “achievement in film, not the personal lives of filmmakers and artists,” Farrow still wants to bring attention to Allen.

Allen’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, said that Dylan Farrow isn’t lying about the accusations, but the idea of a sexual assault might have been instilled in her memory by her mother, according to Time magazine.

“She was a pawn in a huge fight between him and Mia Farrow years ago, and the idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother, and that memory is never going to go away,” Abramowitz said on the "Today" show on Feb. 4. “So the fact that she says this now that it happened 20 years ago is totally understandable.”

Allen’s former girlfriend, Stacey Nelkin, defended Allen, saying that the accusations were largely due to Mia Farrow’s displeasure with the director, CNN reported.

"These accusations came on the heels of a horrible custody battle, Mia being extremely upset, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and she was hell-bent and determined to destroy something that he loved," said Nelkin to CNN. "Woody loved Dylan. We were in contact at the time, and he would talk about her a lot. He loved the kids that they had adopted together, and she took Dylan away by creating this whole scenario."

But does it really matter who the public believes? LA Times writer Robin Abcarian said it doesn’t and that Farrow’s attempts to accuse Allen aren't going to change her life or Allen’s life.

“I earnestly believe that the contours of Farrow’s life are not going to change one bit if Woody Allen wins another Oscar,” wrote Abcarian. “His disdain for awards is legendary and, at 78, his place in Hollywood history is already assured. If Farrow's goal is to make sure the asterisk about Allen's personal life never goes away, she's succeeded at her task.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com Twitter: @hscribner