Is Woody Allen guilty? In the eyes of the criminal justice system, no. Dylan Farrow and her mother, Mia Farrow, accused Allen of sexually assaulting Dylan Farrow in 1992, but an investigation at the time did not lead to any criminal charges against Allen. He has said the molestation accusation stems from Farrow’s anger about his relationship with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
However, a judge did deny Allen custody of Dylan Farrow in 1993, citing concerns about the accusations. And Woody Allen is guilty enough, in the court of public opinion, that his memoir, Apropos of Nothing, was quickly canceled by its original publisher. A new publisher just released the book with no advanced notice.
Many people are confused about the accusations against Woody Allen. They think, wrongly, that Soon-Yi Previn, his wife of 23 years, is his adopted daughter. She is not. She is, again, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, Allen’s longtime partner prior to his relationship with Previn.
Dylan Farrow, however, is Woody Allen’s daughter. Farrow adopted her in July 1985, and Allen adopted her six years later, in 1991. The troubles began soon after.
As news of the memoir renews the attention around Woody Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, and Mia and Dylan Farrow, we hope the timeline below will help you sort out the details of the situation and draw your own conclusions. We’re providing links to the original sources throughout.
February 1992: Mia Farrow found nude photos of Soon-Yi Previn in Allen’s home. He confessed to an affair with Previn, who says she was 21 at the time. (There is some confusion about her age because of the adoption.) Allen was 56. Previn later told New York Magazine that she “regrets” that her mother found the pictures — “I think it would have been horrible for her.” But she said of herself and Allen, “You know, we were both consenting adults.”
August 5, 1992: Mia Farrow said Dylan Farrow told her that Allen touched her inappropriately in an attic-like area of their Connecticut house, said to remain still, and touched her “private part.” The child said he promised to take her to Paris and let her be in a movie, according to a November 1992 Vanity Fair article.
Dylan Farrow said in an open letter in February 2014: “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. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”
Dylan Farrow also said Allen had a pattern of inappropriate behavior before the alleged assault: “I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out.”
The date when Dylan and Mia Farrow said the sexual assault occurred is notable: Vanity Fair reported that Allen and Mia Farrow had planned to sign a child-support-and-custody agreement on Aug. 6, the day after the alleged assault. The agreement would have given Mia Farrow $6,000 a month for the support of Satchel, their biological child, and their son, 15-year-old Moses. Allen and Farrow had adopted Moses as well as Dylan.
Satchel later changed his name to Ronan, and many, including Allen, have speculated that Frank Sinatra could be Ronan Farrow’s biological father.
Aug. 13, 1992: When they learned of the accusation, Allen’s lawyers pre-emptively filed a custody suit against Farrow, accusing her of being an unfit mother.
Aug. 30, 1992: Soon-Yi Previn tells Newsweek: “I’m not a retarded little underage flower who was raped, molested and spoiled by some evil stepfather—not by a long shot. I’m a psychology major at college who fell for a man who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Mia. I admit it’s offbeat, but let’s not get hysterical. The tragedy here is that, because of Mia’s vindictiveness, the children must suffer. I will always have a feeling of love for her because of the opportunities she gave me, but it’s hard to forgive much that followed.”
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