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Sexual abuse victim's letter in The NY Times, Accused Perpetrator: Woody Allen

On February 1, The New York Times ran a controversial letter written by Woody Allen's adoptive daughter accusing the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award winner of sexual abuse.

Actress Mia Farrow's daughter, Dylan Farrow, accuses Woody Allen of sexual abuse in The New York Times
Photo by Eugene Gologursky

Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since 2001 and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, wrote: "In 1993, accusations that Woody Allen had abused his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, filled the headlines, part of a sensational story about the celebrity split between Allen and his girlfriend, Mia Farrow. This is a case that has been written about endlessly, but this is the first time that Dylan Farrow herself has written about it in public. It’s important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence. So why publish an account of an old case on my blog? Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn’t celebrity but sex abuse. And partly because countless people on all sides have written passionately about these events, but we haven’t fully heard from the young woman who was at the heart of them. I’ve written a column about this, but it’s time for the world to hear Dylan’s story in her own words."

Societal Health: Does society celebrate sexual perpetrators?

In her letter, Dylan Farrow writes, "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse."

Both a disturbing and moving piece, Farrow gives personal information and specific instances when she believes that Woody Allen violated a parent-child relationship. Farrow wrote that she has been traumatized since Allen sexually assaulted her in an attic when she was seven years old.

She wrote:

"For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either."


"So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter."

She both begins and concludes her letter in The New York Times asking the public, "...what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?"

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