NEW YORK (AFP) - Woody Allen was thrust to the fore on Wednesday (Jan 17) of the sexual harassment watershed sweeping the United States when his daughter revived child molestation allegations against the famed director, asking the world to finally believe her.
Dylan Farrow’s claim that the director touched her inappropriately as a seven-year-old first surfaced a quarter of a century ago in the wake of her mother’s acrimonious split from Allen, who ran off in 1992 with his lover’s adoptive daughter from a previous marriage, Soon-Yi Previn, 21 years old at the time.
But the legendary director of more than 50 movies, winner of four Oscars and showered with awards in Europe, has always denied the allegations. The claims were never proven and the 82-year-old director has continued to enjoy a glittering career.
But the sexual harassment firestorm that has brought down Hollywood titans such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, and rocked industry, politics and the media, has fuelled a growing backlash against Allen.
In the wake of the Time’s Up movement launched by Hollywood women to counter sexual harassment and sexism, Allen’s estranged, adopted daughter said it was time for the world to finally listen.
“Why shouldn’t I want to bring him down? Why shouldn’t I be angry? Why shouldn’t I be hurt?” she told CBS This Morning in her first television interview, excerpts of which were broadcast on Wednesday. The full interview is to air Thursday.
“Why shouldn’t I feel some sort of outrage that after all these years, being ignored and disbelieved and tossed aside?” Farrow added.
Asked why people should believe her now, she replied: “I suppose that’s on them, but all I can do is speak my truth and hope, hope that somebody will believe me instead of just hearing.”
The film director’s agent did not immediately respond to an AFP request to comment.
It was a devastating expose of alleged rape, assault and harassment published by Farrow’s brother, Ronan, the biological son of Allen and Mia Farrow, in The New Yorker last October that helped end Weinstein’s career.
'MUST BE RE-EXAMINED'
Since then, a growing number of actresses, including Greta Gerwig, Rebecca Hall, Ellen Page and Mia Sorvino, have announced they regret working with Allen.
Hall, who appears in his upcoming movie A Rainy Day In New York and starred in his 2008 romantic comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona, announced on Instagram that she had donated her wage from his latest film to the Time’s Up movement.
“After reading and re-reading Dylan Farrow’s statements of a few days ago and going back and reading the older ones – I see, not only how complicated this matter is, but that my actions have made another woman feel silenced and dismissed,” she said.
Up-and-coming actor Timothee Chalamet, who also stars in A Rainy Day In New York, followed suit and also announced he was donating his entire salary from the film to Time’s Up, the LGBT Centre in New York and anti-sexual violence organisation RAINN.
“We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it,” wrote Sorvino in an open letter to Farrow in HuffPost last week.
Actor Alec Baldwin, who won acclaim for portraying Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, has been one of the few to publicly defend Allen, saying it was possible to support survivors of pedophilia and sexual assault, and also believe he was innocent.
Dylan Farrow detailed the alleged abuse for the first time in her own words in an open letter published on a New York Times blog in 2014.
In a follow-up New York Times op-ed, Allen repeated his denial and launched a furious attack on Mia Farrow, denouncing her as “more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being”.
A New York judge who presided over the 1994 custody battle between Allen and Farrow ruled that the abuse allegations were inconclusive, but at the same time lambasted the director as “self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive”.
Allen remains with Soon-Yi and the couple have two children.