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

52030574-filmmaker-woody-allen-climbs-the-courthouse-steps-04-may
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.
Advertisement

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.