This is Part 2 of a two-part blog post. In Part 1, I broke down the facts of this case. In case you missed it, after learning of the sexual abuse allegations against him, Woody Allen filed for custody of the adopted and biological children he had with Mia Farrow, including Dylan Farrow, his alleged sexual assault victim. Now, I’ll discuss the decision of the judge in that custody case as well as my own thoughts.
The judge in the custody case addressed all the facts and issued a very thorough 33-page decision. He found that Woody had done nothing more than provide financial support for the children. Woody didn’t know basic details of their everyday lives. He never dressed or bathed them, didn’t know their health history, didn’t know who their doctors are, didn’t even know their pets’ names or which children shared a bedroom. He had even less knowledge of their siblings and repeatedly differentiated between adopted and biological children. When Woody was asked why he should be granted custody, he rambled on for 11 pages worth of transcript and stated that he was a good father and Mia had intentionally turned the children against him.
The judge noted that Woody admitted he never considered the consequences of his relationship with Soon-Yi and that the therapists testified that he still doesn’t understand that what he did was wrong. He isolated her from her own family and disregarded the impact it would have on her, Mia, and the other children. The judge went on to say that Woody’s only response to Dylan’s claims of sexual abuse was to attack her mother without any credible support for his claims. As the judge stated, “his trial strategy has been to separate his children from their brothers and sisters; to turn the children against their mother; to divide adopted children from biological children; to incite the family against their household help; and to set household employees against each other. His self-absorption, his lack of judgment and his commitment to the continuation of his divisive assault, thereby impeding the healing of the injuries that he has already caused, warrant a careful monitoring of his future contact with the children.”
On the other hand, he found that there was no credible evidence to support the claim that Mia coached Dylan or that she wanted revenge for his relationship with Soon-Yi. He believed that Woody’s attempts to classify Mia as a “woman scorned” were an attempt to distract from his “failure to act as a responsible parent and adult.” He was also less certain than the team at Yale-New Haven that Woody did not sexually abuse Dylan. He noted that the team consisted of social workers and a pediatrician, that they destroyed their notes, sanitized their report, never saw the parents interact with the child, found there was no abuse without supporting data, and that they exceeded their role in the observations they made. The judge further stated that while we may never know what happened with Dylan, it’s clear that Woody’s relationship with her was grossly inappropriate and that measures needed to be taken to protect her.
Dylan recently renewed her allegations of sexual abuse. After Woody received a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Golden Globes, she issued an open letter to Hollywood, wondering what they would do if it was their daughter who’d been abused and questioning how the industry can reward and praise someone who has done something so vile.
Woody responded with his own statement, again accusing Mia of coaching Dylan and trying to get back at him for his relationship with Soon-Yi. Although Woody claimed that he had taken and passed a lie detector test, the truth is he refused to submit to one administered by the state police. He instead paid his own expert to conduct the test. Woody also claimed that he had been cleared of these allegations in the 1990s. Again, this isn’t the whole truth. After a thorough investigation, the prosecutor on the case chose not to pursue charges. Although he believed that there was sufficient probable cause to arrest Woody, he felt that Dylan was too fragile and did not want to put her through the stress of the trial, especially after all she’d gone through in the custody case.
All of this brings two questions to mind. First, are these the facts you’ve heard from the media? I know the stories I’ve seen are very different. The media is reporting as if this is old news and they don’t appear to be taking it very seriously. In fact, had I not done my own digging into this case, I never would have known about the scathing decision by the judge in the custody case or that he hadn’t actually been cleared in the past. Why? Why is the media so eager to sweep sexual abuse allegations under the rug? Why does it seem they just want us to forget about it? I understand people are innocent until proven guilty, and no one knows for sure what happened, but I find it disturbing and appalling that we as a society are so quick to dismiss a victim’s claims of sexual abuse. It’s even worse in a case like this where there seems to be evidence supporting the claims. The media is no better, as they’re quick to jump on the “woman scorned” bandwagon.
The second question is, what does this say about Hollywood? The allegations had NO effect on his career. Not only that, but his relationship with his girlfriend’s young adopted daughter had no effect. Actors continue to vie for roles in his movies and celebrate him and his accomplishments. The Lifetime Achievement Award and the speeches and standing ovation that came with it were just gross…there’s no other way to put it. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Dylan, if the accusations are indeed true, to watch an entire industry honor the man that violated her?
Obviously Woody has never been convicted of anything. He has every right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, I don’t think we should all be so quick to judge the victim and praise the abuser (allegedly). We should err on the side of caution when these types of claims are made. And the media needs to report ALL the facts, not just the sensational ones. There are many lessons to be learned from this whole story. But at least now you know the facts and can draw your own conclusions.