Dylan Farrow Writes Open Letter: Woody Allen Sexually Assaulted Me When I Was 7

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 1 2014 6:08 PM

Dylan Farrow Writes Open Letter: Woody Allen Sexually Assaulted Me When I Was 7

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Woody Allen climbs the courthouse steps 04 May 1993, as members of the media try to keep up with him at the close of the seven-week custody battle between Allen and former companion, actress Mia Farrow

Photo by HAI DO/AFP/Getty Images

There has been lots of talk lately about the allegations that Woody Allen sexually abused his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, sparked in part by a Vanity Fair piece and then fueled by the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, which was met with memorable tweets from Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow. (Slate's Jessica Winter also wrote about the issue.) But for the first time, Dylan Farrow is writing about it, choosing to detail her experience in an open letter that was published Saturday in New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s blog.

Farrow gets into the heart of the matter right away:

What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. 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.
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This wasn’t the first time Allen had done something that made the young Dylan Farrow uncomfortable. There were the times when “I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear” and “when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out.” When she spoke up, it sparked such a “firestorm” that no criminal charges were filed. The way in which “he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up” and that “torment was made worse by Hollywood.” Most turned a blind eye and continued celebrating Allen.

As the Oscars approach, Dylan Farrow appeals directly to some of the biggest names in the industry:

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.