In 1992, director and actor Woody Allen, in a shocking breach of trust with his long time companion Mia Farrow, began a relationship with her adopted nineteen-year-old daughter (with her ex-husband and composer Andre Previn). That Farrow discovered this fact by finding naked photographs of the daughter (Soon Yi Previn) in Allen’s home did not help explain matters. To say that Farrow did not take this discovery well is an understatement, but things seemed to settle down into a tense standoff when seven months later Farrow accused Allen of sexually assaulting their seven year old daughter Dylan.
This was the last straw for Allen, who saw the writing on the wall and immediately and preemptively sued for full custody of their children. Allen hired doctors from Yale-New Haven Hospital and additional psychologists to investigate the allegations in the hope of repudiating Farrow’s claims and clearing his name. While the physicians saw no evidence of abuse, Farrow’s attorney successfully used testimony from Farrow and her domestic employees and the fact that the expert medical witnesses were paid by Allen to raise doubt in the mind of the presiding judge, who ruled against Allen’s request for full custody. Farrow retained custody, leaving her free to narrate with her children her version of events.
The State of New York, after a fourteen month investigation, closed its case with regard to the original complaint filed by Farrow’s pediatrician (through whom she made the accusation). In its report, they stated “no credible evidence was found that the child named in this report has been abused or maltreated”.
Soon Yi Previn and Allen married in 1997 and eventually adopted two children of their own.
Mia Farrow, and by proxy Dylan, in the intervening twenty years have used the public as a forum for their dispute against Allen, repeatedly re-airing the same disputed accusations each time Allen received some form of recognition from the motion picture industry or concurrently with the release of one of his films. With Ronan Farrow (Mia and Allen’s only biological son) now as the central figure (via his article in The New Yorker) in the exposure of prominent producer Harvey Weinstein as an alleged serial sexual abuser of women, and the resulting domino effect of exposing other prominent actors, directors, and producers abusive behavior toward women in the film and television industry, Mia Farrow has found yet another forum to air her dispute with Allen.
Ronan has sided with his sister Dylan and his mother in the dispute. Ronan and Dylan’s brother Moses has sided with their father. What is certain is that there will be no resolution in the matter in the foreseeable future. It is time for Mia Farrow and Woody Allen to take their dispute offline. There is no moral equivalency for the Farrow-Allen dispute to the #MeToo movement. To suggest such is to to minimize the #MeToo movement’s struggle to recognize women’s professional rights to practice their trade unmolested and free from discrimination.