woody allen, me too, times up

Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen’s Wife, Speaks Out In Piece By Allen’s Close Friend

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In case you wanted to start your week off with some rage, New York Magazine published a profile of Soon-Yi Previn by Daphne Merkin, a close friend of Woody Allen’s.

Previn details alleged abuse at the hands of her adoptive mother Mia Farrow, including implying that she did coach sister Dylan Farrow to accuse Allen of sexual assault. There’s a lot to unpack here for a Monday morning where the biggest headlines in film and television should have been the Emmy awards, so let’s get started breaking down a story that’s sure to be on every site’s front page.

Dylan Farrow has already responded to the article, publishing this statement on Twitter:

The statement reads:

Woody Allen molested me when I was seven years old, part of a documented pattern of inappropriate, abusive touching that led a judge to say there was no evidence I was coached and that it was unsafe for me to be in Woody Allen’s presence. The author has written about her friendship and infatuation with Woody Allen. The idea of letting a friend of an alleged predator write a one-sided piece attacking the credibility of his victim is disgusting. When New York Magazine contacted me, they described multiple obvious falsehoods. The author even suggested that my mother bribed me to lie with a doll that was not manufactured until years later. The story still includes bizarre fabrications about my mother while failing to mention that a prosecutor found probable cause of abuse by Woody Allen and that he was in therapy for his unhealthy fixation on my body. My mother never coached me, but she did stand by me, even when Woody Allen unleashed hell on her via lawyers and publicists and allies like the author of this piece. Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home, filled with love, that she created. I have a message for the media and allies of Woody Allen: no one is “parading me around as a victim” — I continue to be an adult woman making a credible allegation unchanged for two decades, backed up by evidence. My only hesitation has been the way my mother is targeted as a result, as in the case here. Shame on New York Magazine.

Dylan also posted this statement from siblings Matthew Previn, Sascha Previn, Fletcher Previn, Daisy Previn, Ronan Farrow, Isaiah Farrow, and Quincy Farrow on Twitter in a follow-up Tweet:

We love and stand by our mom, who has always been a caring and giving parent. None of us ever witnessed anything other than compassionate treatment in our home, which is why the courts granted sole custody to our mother of all her children. We reject any effort to deflect from Dylan’s allegation by trying to vilify our mom. While we would rather not have to speak publicly about this painful time in our lives, we also couldn’t be silent as she is once again unfairly attacked.

I’m grateful to my siblings for standing by me and my mother. Statement from Matthew Previn, Sascha Previn, Fletcher Previn, Daisy Previn, Ronan Farrow, Isaiah Farrow, and Quincy Farrow: pic.twitter.com/aBjWFUJjdH

— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) September 17, 2018


I want to establish one thing before we go any further: I am not going to invalidate Previn’s claims necessarily. It could very well be true that Farrow abused her, but that doesn’t mean that Allen’s relationship with her wasn’t predatory or that Allen did not abuse Dylan Farrow. These statements can all be true, and if we are to believe women we need to believe all women.

However, first off, the author of this piece was clearly trying to invalidate Dylan Farrow’s allegations. That is obviously the goal, as evidenced by the following paragraph from early on in the profile:

I myself have been friends with Allen for over four decades and have always been somewhat mystified by him, in part because of the almost Aspergian aloneness of the man and in part because of the genuine diffidence — the lack of a discernible ego — that lies just beneath both a lifetime’s worth of ambitious productivity and his nebbishy film persona. His unwillingness, or perhaps inability, to contest his ongoing vilification — or, when he does take it on, to fan the flames (“I should be the poster boy for the #MeToo movement,” he recently told Argentine TV. “I’ve worked with hundreds of actresses, and not a single one — big ones, famous ones, ones starting out — have ever, ever suggested any kind of impropriety at all”) — also contributed to Soon-Yi’s decision to talk publicly.

You cannot hire a subjective party to write about such an issue. This was not a balanced look at Previn’s life and story; it is clearly designed to use her words to invalidate both Mia and Dylan Farrow’s claims. To hire the friend of someone accused of sexual assault to try and clear their name is inherently wrong. It is biased journalism at its finest.

If New York Magazine wanted to pursue this story, it should have been assigned to a reporter who would be able to bring as objective a viewpoint as possible to the table. The author has also previously written pieces speaking against the #MeToo movement, which is unsurprising given her stance in this piece.

The Farrow family has pushed back against the piece already. Ronan Farrow also released his own statement, which reads:

I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow. She is a devoted mom who went through hell for her family, all while creating a loving home for us. But that has never stopped Woody Allen and his allies from planting stories that attack and vilify my mother to deflect from my sister’s credible allegation of abuse. As a brother and a son, I’m angry that New York Magazine would participate in this kind of a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen’s. As a journalist, I’m shocked by the lack of care for the facts, the refusal to include eyewitness testimony that would contradict falsehoods in this piece, and the failure to print my sister’s responses. Survivors of abuse deserve better.

This is a situation in which it is impossible to try and summarize into a neat little box. Previn’s stories of abuse could very well be true, but to use them to try and discredit Dylan Farrow is wrong. Having a friend of Allen’s write the piece is journalistically and morally wrong. And overall, this is a massively difficult story for all involved, especially for survivors of abuse that will now face their own stories being discredited and questioned. Survivors of abuse do deserve better than this. That much is certain.

(via Vulture; Image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Image of Kate Gardner
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.