“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

Opt-in to the Shannon Colleary Communiqué to have both the Funny & the Wise delivered to your inbox weekly!

Why I Think Woody Allen Is Guilty of Molesting his Daughter Dylan, and Why Mia Farrow Isn’t Blameless

Photo Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

Photo Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

I’m one of the people who believes Woody Allen molested his daughter, Dylan Farrow.

I’ve read extensively about this family; Mia Farrow’s memoir, What Falls Away. Maureen Orth’s incendiary Mia’s Story in Vanity Fair, November of 1992, when the accusations of molestation were first brought against Allen and Orth’s recent Vanity Fair follow-up, Momma Miain which Dylan is briefly interviewed. (And Frank Sinatra posthumously becomes a father?)

I was then compelled to read Dylan Farrow’s open letter accusing Allen of molesting her, published by respected journalist and women’s rights activist Nicolas Kristof, followed by Allen’s rebuttal in The New York Times. All of which, taken together, has convinced me of Allen’s guilt.

But it was Dylan’s letter that drove home the last nail.

In particular, this passage, “For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. 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.”

The specificity of Dylan’s memories, the thumb in her mouth, his head in her lap, seem un-coached and ring true. I have a personal bias due to my life experience. I was fortunate to have never been molested as a child. But there is one incident that occurred when I was also seven-years-old that I remember more clearly than what happened to me yesterday.

I was sitting on a couch in our living room in Claremont, California watching I Love Lucy on TV. It must’ve been a weekend because my step-grandparents were over for a barbecue. As I watched the show alone — I don’t recall where everyone else was — my step-grandfather came into the room.

He and I didn’t have a relationship per se. In the 70s the kids were pretty much left to their own devices while the adults mingled so he was more like an extended family member to me.

I was surprised when he sat down on the couch right next to me and even more surprised when he reached over and put his hand under the back of my shirt and started scratching my back. He’d never touched me before, except to maybe pat me on the back when saying hello or good-bye.

What he did, from an objective perspective, wasn’t wrong. But it was how it FELT. All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, my heart rate accelerated, immediately I was in a state of fight or flight.

I remember holding my breath as he moved his hand and started tickling on the side of my torso, seeming to do so slowly in order not to startle or frighten me, but inexorably his hand came closer and closer to my bare chest.

I had no breasts. Hadn’t even begun puberty, but I knew I didn’t want him tickling my chest. I clamped my arms against my sides, trapping his hand under my armpit. I gathered my courage, said I had to go to the bathroom and left.

After that incident I steered clear of him, which was easy since we rarely saw him and eventually my mom and stepdad divorced, but I can actually still see, feel and smell that day. The way the sun came in at the window, dust motes floating in a ray of light, the way Lucy was stomping grapes on TV and how, suddenly, it wasn’t funny anymore, the fact that it smelled like oranges in the room because the orange grove next to our house was in blossom. And the way the tickling felt good and horrible all at once.

For this reason, I believe Dylan remembers the things she describes and I can’t imagine why she would come forward at this stage in her life, when she is long beyond the direct influence of her mother (who doubters say coached her), unless she is telling the truth.

However, I do think there’s a second victim in this saga. And though she is generally disliked by Woody Allen lovers and naysayers alike. I think that victim is Soon Yi.

Based on interviews she’s given I’m sure she doesn’t see herself as a victim and may, in fact, view herself as a victor in winning the dubious prize of Allen. But this doesn’t erase the fact that the man who knew her since she was a young girl, who was the patriarchal figurehead in her family, and who was thirty-five years her senior either initiated or allowed her to initiate a sexual relationship with him.

That, in and of itself, is fucked up.

But what bewildered me when I read Farrow’s What Falls Away, was Farrow’s reaction to the affair (or what I would rather call “the incestuous relationship”). Instead of circling the wagons around her 19 or 21-year old daughter, she instead viewed her child as an adversary for a man.

In the end Mia chose her relationship with Allen (and by that I include the demise of that relationship) over her relationship with her daughter, by succumbing to the notion of Soon-Yi as seductress or The Other Woman. Aside from that, I think Mia Farrow acted heroically on the behalf of her daughter Dylan.

Why should all of this matter to us? Because if Woody Allen is guilty we should keep an eye on him, which might hinder him from molesting more children.

Why should I make it my business? Because I’ve supported Woody Allen by watching his films. And I love them. They will be a loss for me. But it’s important to remember that great people aren’t always good people and that celebrities shouldn’t be above the law.

Why did I decide to write about this along with the clamoring crowd? Because I want to highlight, as best I can, Dylan Farrow’s incredible bravery in coming forward, not just to stand up for herself, but for other victims of sexual abuse too.  And she must continue to be brave in the face of the victim shaming that has and will continue to follow, because no one wants to believe their beloved writer/director/actor is capable of seducing and destroying a child.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the Woody Allen Dylan Farrow matter and if you want to keep in touch you can sign up for our weekly newsletter HERE.



15 comments

Write a comment
  1. Melissa Henn
    Melissa Henn 24 February, 2014, 15:37

    #IstandwithDylan. Absolutely, Dylan was abused. Not sure why men/abusers get the benefit of a doubt and the victim is always shunned, berated or silenced.
    We cannot separate the “art”(although I am not interested in his films) from the artist.
    Hollywood looks the other way and hands out awards.
    We can all look at Ronan and see the handsome looks of Sinatra.
    Mia has her own issues, to be sure, but didn’t coach a 7 yr old.
    I know, I remember being alone with an uncle and feeling sick to my stomach.
    Kids are innocent, too sweet to make up shit like that. Good for you to speak out!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 24 February, 2014, 17:29

      Hi Melissa — Thanks for this. The other issue is that if Dylan had been coached at such a young age she would have had difficulty remaining consistent in her story regardless of how well she might have been coached. Obviously I don’t know Mia Farrow, but I think her crime was being in denial of what the man she loved was capable of. It seems she had to do a complete about face to protect her children which, to her credit, she finally did.

      Reply this comment
  2. Rosie Carrillo
    Rosie Carrillo 24 February, 2014, 20:25

    You have complete agreement from me on this subject. Having some very old memories of my own, I can attest to the clear, indelable feelings caused, and also feel very fortunate that instincts prevailed, preventing any serious damages. However, the mention or thought of another child having such experiences, puts me in attack mode. Seriously, I think the Allen/Farrow family was very “disfunctional.”

    Reply this comment
  3. joanne
    joanne 25 February, 2014, 10:22

    Shannon, I happen to agree with you. What also troubles me is that Allen and Soon-Yi have two young adopted daughters. Has she been hyper-vigilant with their daughters to ensure what happened to Dylan – and probably to herself – doesn’t continue his legacy? I have no doubt that Allen ‘groomed’ Soon-Yi for some period of time before she posed for him nude. I also think that she may have already been ‘damaged goods’, as she was an older child when she was adopted. God only knows what she might have endured before she was plucked from her Vietnamese orphanage by Andre Previn and Mia.
    On the other hand, I don’t give Mia a pass. She married 50 year old Sinatra when she was barely 21, and supposedly continued to have a sexual relationship with long after their divorce. Thus, cheating on both of their respective partners/spouses for many years. However, I don’t think she fabricated Dylan’s molestation for revenge, though she acted very revengeful. Her latest revelation about Ronan’s paternity is yet another knife to twist in Allen. Perhaps he deserves it.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 25 February, 2014, 11:16

      Hi Joanne — you and I are completely on the same page. I think Mia’s intentions, with regards to all of her children, are good, but she certainly falls short in her romantic relationships and the impact they’ve had on her children.

      Reply this comment
  4. Kymberly (@KymberlyFunFit)
    Kymberly (@KymberlyFunFit) 25 February, 2014, 14:32

    I have no basis to know what is true in this event or not. But I do agree that hypervigilance is paramount when protecting children. So true that good actors, directors, writers, (fill in the profession) do not necessarily make good people.

    Reply this comment
  5. Haralee
    Haralee 25 February, 2014, 16:00

    It is a creepy situation on all accounts!

    Reply this comment
  6. Claudia Schmidt
    Claudia Schmidt 25 February, 2014, 17:53

    I’m so conflicted about this whole thing. They’re all crazy in my opinion – I think Mia is a very odd woman who seems obsessed with Woody even now, all these years later. He lost me when he married Soon Yi and this whole Dylan thing is just horrible. Very creepy, such a very dysfunctional family. It’s such a shame that so many kids had to be impacted by the dysfunction since she adopted so many kids.

    Reply this comment
  7. Vivienne G
    Vivienne G 28 February, 2014, 11:49

    Abusers always say “It wasn’t Me/I didn’t do it.” Or as their backup, they say, “It wasn’t my fault – SHE “caused” it or SHE abused me….” Another great line of theirs is – “I only hit her/strangled her/pushed her one time.”

    When this happened to me in the olden days, I lived in a state that considered domestic violence a matter of “personal violence”, not as assault/battery. So – if my ex had gone across the street and done to my neighbor what he did to me, he would have been arrested for assault and battery. Since he did it to me, his wife, in the privacy of our own home, it was considered a personal matter and he was sent for counseling…

    I am disgusted that abusers and pedophiles continue to get away with this crap. I am also disgusted with the conservative political element that seems to feed the beast.

    Reply this comment
  8. Vivienne G
    Vivienne G 28 February, 2014, 11:50

    Oh yeah – totally agree with you about Woody Allen.

    Reply this comment
  9. Doug Smith
    Doug Smith 28 February, 2014, 20:47

    I just thought you should know that not all opinions fall along gender lines. While I have not followed the story as closely as you, what I have heard on both sides leads me to believe that Dylan was molested. Also, I have never been a fan of Woody Allen’s movies and for me they really reinforce my opinion that he molested her.

    Reply this comment
  10. Serena Belva
    Serena Belva 5 March, 2014, 11:57

    Concerning Soon-Yi: “Instead of circling the wagons around her 19 or 21-year old daughter, she instead viewed her child as an adversary for a man.” Could not agree more. Well-said.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 5 March, 2014, 13:01

      Yes, that was the one part of Mia’s auto-biography that really bothered me. This man came into Soon Yi’s life because of Mia — and if he was a predator (which I believe he was), she was partially responsible for not shielding Soon Yi.

      Reply this comment
  11. Jen at PIWTPITT.com
    Jen at PIWTPITT.com 20 March, 2014, 23:08

    I agree with you completely. I think Woody did it and I think that Mia enabled him for years and was and still is a bit too obsessed with him. It doesn’t help Dylan’s cause to have Mia acting so crazy in the background.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 March, 2014, 08:25

      Jen I’m with you the whole way! Woody, at least, is a person I like to PITT!

      Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*