NEW YORK, Sept 18 ― Woody Allen's wife, Soon-Yi Previn, broke a long silence to defend the filmmaker against allegations of sexual abuse brought by his daughter, Dylan, speaking out on the running feud between her mother, Mia Farrow, and her husband.
“What's happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust,” Previn said in a rare interview with New York magazine published online late Sunday.
Mia “has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn't,” she said.
In the article by Daphne Merkin, a longtime friend of Allen's, Soon-Yi discusses her difficult childhood with her adopted mother, portraying her as bad-tempered and abusive.
“Mia described me as 'elegant,'“ she is quoted as saying. “It was the only positive thing she said about me.”
She recalls Farrow, the star of Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters and Husbands and Wives, holding her upside down by her feet, believing the blood draining to her head would “make me smarter or something.”
“I do have a little learning disability,” Soon-Yi is quoted as saying, discussing difficulties with spelling and homonyms. “I've never spoken about it, because Mia drummed it into me to be ashamed about it.”
Now 47, married for more than 20 years and with two children of her own, Soon-Yi was a 21-year-old college freshman in 1991 when she began an affair with Allen, who was then 56.
Farrow, the director's longtime partner on screen and off, discovered the affair a year later, causing an angry public break that set the rest of the family against Allen and Soon-Yi.
Soon-Yi tells Merkin she “regrets” that Farrow learned of the affair by finding nude Polaroids of her at Allen's apartment.
“I think it would have been horrible for her,” she said. But, she added, “You know, we were both consenting adults.”
Later the same year, Farrow, now 73, publicly accused Allen of groping her adopted daughter Dylan, who was then seven years old. Allen insists she invented the incident out of revenge for his affair with Soon-Yi.
The accusation was investigated but no evidence was found to charge the director with child abuse. However, Farrow, who has had 14 children ― 10 adopted and four biological ― severed relations with Allen.
Dylan revived the scandal in a television interview in January, insisting that her father molested her during a visit to the family home in Connecticut in August 1992, after the breakup.
In a statement to New York magazine, Dylan said it was “offensive” of Soon-Yi to assert that she had been pushed to accuse Allen in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
“This only serves to revictimise me,” Dylan said. “Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home.”
After the article's publication, Dylan also tweeted a statement signed by several of Mia Farrow's biological and adopted children, attesting that their mother has always been a “caring and giving parent.”
“We reject any effort to deflect from Dylan's allegation by trying to vilify our mom,” it said.
Ronan Farrow, a biological son of Mia Farrow and Allen who won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative articles in The New Yorker that helped propel the #MeToo movement, denounced Merkin's article as “shameful.”
“I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow,” he tweeted.
“As a brother and a son, I am angry that New York Magazine would participate in this kind of a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen's,” he said, adding, “Survivors of abuse deserve better.”
Allen, meanwhile, has been deserted by fans and actors, his fame as a director of classics from Sleeper to Manhattan and Annie Hall tainted by the scandal.
Since the #MeToo movement gained force, actors like Colin Firth, Mira Sorvino and Greta Gerwig have apologised for having worked with Allen.
“I am a pariah,” Allen told Merkin.
“People think that I was Soon-Yi's father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter.” ― AFP