Ronan and Dylan Farrow dismiss brother's defence of Woody Allen

Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow attend the Time 100 Gala at Lincoln Center in New York, April 24, 2018. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (NYTimes) - Moses Farrow, the adopted son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, posted a 4,600-word essay on Wednesday (May 23) defending his father against sexual molestation allegations and claiming his mother was abusive.

In the blog post, titled A Son Speaks Out, Moses Farrow, 40, described what he called "a deep and persistent darkness within the Farrow family". He recalled, too, his version of the events on Aug 4, 1992, when his sister, Dylan Farrow, then seven, claimed Allen, one of the most prolific directors in modern cinema, sexually molested her at their home in Bridgewater, Connecticut. Her brother Moses was 14.

Dylan Farrow, now 32, responded to the essay in a tweet, writing that her brother sought to "impugn my mother who has only ever been supportive of me and my siblings". She called his comments hurtful and an attempt to discredit her. "I'm so sorry he's doing this," she wrote.

Journalist Ronan Farrow, 30, also defended his mother and dismissed his older brother's essay, saying Thursday on Twitter: "I believe my sister."

This is not the first time that Moses Farrow has supported his father in an acrimonious family battle that has pitted mother, father, brothers and sisters against one another in a very public scrum. In his essay, he said he decided to speak out again now, hoping people will be more receptive to his story.

Mia Farrow acted in more than a dozen of Allen's films while they were together from 1979 to 1992, although they lived in separate Manhattan apartments on opposite sides of Central Park.

They split after she discovered nude photographs Allen had taken of Soon-Yi Previn, then 22, the daughter she adopted while married to André Previn, the pianist and conductor.

Allen and Previn married in 1997 and have two adopted children.

In Start To Finish: Woody Allen And The Art Of Moviemaking, a book published last year by author Eric Lax, Moses Farrow said his mother was abusive and had coached his sister to accuse Allen of sexual abuse.

Mia Farrow issued a statement at the time: "Moses has cut off his entire family including his ex-wife who was pregnant when he left. It's heartbreaking and bewildering that he would make this up, perhaps to please Woody. We all miss and love him very much." Her representative did not return a call Thursday.

In his essay, Moses Farrow, who is a family therapist, claimed that his mother spanked and slapped him, and sought to brainwash him and his siblings to keep them under her control. "In short, it was not a happy home - or a healthy one," he wrote.

In all, Mia Farrow oversaw a brood of 14 children. Ten were adopted. (Three of her adopted children are deceased.)

The comments about his sister, Dylan, are the most provocative. In the essay, he questioned his sister's account of sexual molestation, writing that her memory was faulty. For example, he wrote that an electric train set she described seeing was not kept in the attic, where she said she was assaulted, but in a brother's room. Further, he wrote, there were too many people around not to notice something was amiss.

In 2014, Dylan wrote a letter detailing her allegations against her father. It was published on the blog of Nicholas Kristof, a Farrow family friend and columnist for The New York Times, who also wrote about it on the Op-Ed page.

Also in recent years, her brother Ronan Farrow, who was four at the time of the allegations, has spoken out about her case, while reporting on sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men for The New Yorker, work that shared a Pulitzer Prize with The Times this year.

With greater attention on harassment and sexual misconduct from the #MeToo movement, many in Hollywood have said they would not work with Allen again.

In his statement on Twitter, the journalist said his brother's essay was part of a "repeated campaign to discredit my sister, often by attacking our mother". He continued: "My mother did an extraordinary job raising us, and none of my siblings with whom I've spoken ever witnessed anything but love and care from a single mom who went through hell to keep her kids safe."

The original 1993 investigation into Dylan Farrow's allegations took several turns. She was interviewed nine times, and the doctor who headed the investigation, John M. Leventhal, said there were inconsistencies in her account. That same year, Mia Farrow was awarded custody of her three children with Allen. Months later, a Connecticut state attorney declined to prosecute Allen despite "probable cause" on charges of sexual molestation.

The decision was made to spare Dylan Farrow additional trauma, the prosecutor said, with agreement from her mother.

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