Woody Allen’s adopted daughter speaks out for the first time about alleged sexual abuse

It’s been 20 years since Vanity Fair published an incredibly in-depth feature about Woody Allen’s home life. For the piece, writer Maureen Orth conducted more than two-dozen interviews, which yielded a chilling conclusion: the iconic comedy writer, actor and director had sexually molested adopted daughter Dylan. The article outlines how Allen was not allowed to be alone with Dylan, how he would follow her around the house, how he was once caught with his head in Dylan’s lap while he was kneeling on the ground and she was sitting on a couch, how he once ran his finger up and down the “crack between her buttocks” while applying suntan lotion, and more.

At the time Allen denied all of the allegations and, in fact, sued longtime love Mia Farrow for full custody of their many children.

Today, Vanity Fair released excerpts from a new piece that will be on stands in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow and nationally on Oct. 8. In the article, also written by Orth, Dylan speaks for the first time about Allen’s alleged abuse, which you can read below.

She refuses ever to say his name. She calls her fears “crippling” and says, “I’m scared of him, his image.” Dyaln tells Orth, “I have never been asked to testify. If I could talk to the seven-year-old Dylan, I would tell her to be brave, to testify.”

According to Dylan, “There’s a lot I don’t remember, but what happened in the attic I remember. I remember what I was wearing and what I wasn’t wearing.” She tells Orth, “The things making me uncomfortable were making me think I was a bad kid, because I didn’t want to do what my elder told me to do.” The attic, she says, pushed her over the edge. “I was cracking. I had to say something. I was seven. I was doing it because I was scared. I wanted it to stop.” For all she knew, she tells Orth, “this was how fathers treated their daughters. This was normal interaction, and I was not normal for feeling uncomfortable about it.” Woody Allen’s lawyer Elkan Abramowitz says that Allen still denies the allegations of sexual abuse.

Dylan tells Orth that Allen contacted her twice by mail. The second time, during her senior year of college, a large stuffed manila envelope arrived at the school, filled with pictures of Allen with Dylan. “I should have recognized the handwriting—I didn’t. It had a fake return name: Lehman.” According to her, the accompanying letter read, “I thought you’d want some pictures of us, and I want you to know that I still think of you as my daughter, and my daughters think of you as their sister. Soon-Yi misses you.” It was signed “Your father.” Dylan wonders to Orth, “How do your daughters think of me as their sister? How does that work?” When asked about the letters, Sheila Riesel, another of Allen’s attorneys, called it a “private matter,” adding, “This is a man who loves all of his children and should be respected for that.”

What’s interesting about the coverage so far is that the mainstream press is making more of the fact that Farrow hinted her biological son Ronan may be Frank Sinatra’s and not Allen’s. The fact that Dylan has finally spoken out on the record about her memories of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, seems to be buried. I had to scroll through four pages on Google to find the first headline that mentions Dylan. I’m not saying Allen is guilty, but it always seemed incredibly odd to me that these well-researched, and expertly reported details of the allegations never followed Allen through his career in any meaningful way. I’m sure we’ll be hearing new denials from Allen’s team of lawyers soon.

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Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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