When Woody Allen took to the podium during an Aug. 18, 1992 press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, he was there to deny allegations that he’d molested his 7-year-old little girl Dylan Farrow. But he also took the opportunity to publicly profess his love for Soon-Yi Previn – his ex-girlfriend’s 21-year-old daughter, the child’s sister.
Now, in the third installment of HBO’s Allen v. Farrow, Mia Farrow’s friends allege that the director did so to present the “narrative” of the actress (who months earlier had found her adult daughter’s naked pictures in Woody’s apartment) as an “unhinged woman.”
In fact, the announcement came on the heels of two official investigations being opened into Dylan’s allegations that her father had touched her inappropriately when she was at her mom’s Connecticut home. Within days of the Connecticut State Police launching a criminal investigation and the New York City Child Welfare Administration starting to probe, the usually press shy Woody held a conference.
Then aged 56, the Annie Hall director told the waiting media that he was speaking out now “because of all the rumors and innuendos and cruel untruths circulating over the past week.” “This is an unconscionable and gruesomely damaging manipulation of innocent children for vindictive and self-serving purposes,” Woody said. “In the end, the one thing I have been guilty of is falling in love with Miss Farrow’s adult daughter…”
In Allen v. Farrow, Farrow family friend Priscilla Gilman shared her stunned response to the director’s statement. “Woody gave a press conference where he talked about being wildly in love with Soon-Yi and our jaws all dropped,” she said. “He said to Mia, ‘I don’t love Soon-Yi’. I heard him say this. ‘This is just a silly little fling. I don’t love her. I’m not in love with her.’
“There’s a calculated reason why love enters the picture. He’s trying to distract. This is a woman scorned. This is an unhinged woman. That’s Woody’s narrative.”
Another family friend, Casey Pascal, agreed saying, “He’s turned it all back, turned it all upside down and around and focused on his relationship with Soon-Yi and the media ran with that story.”
In a private recorded phone call Mia begged her ex to tell her where he was for “those 20 minutes” their daughter Dylan went missing in her Connecticut home. In public he was professing his innocence and declaring his love for Soon-Yi to the media. In one 60 Minutes clip he suggested the child was “coached methodically to tell this story” by “Mia.”
In contrast the actress shied away from talking to the press. According to NBC News, the actress told them that she “wouldn’t be interviewed about this story and asked that her friends not talk” to them either. “I didn’t feel that it was seemly to get into a public fight with him,” the actress, now 76, told HBO. “I just had to keep my focus on the kids and try to keep them safe and try to keep whatever semblance of normal that we could under the circumstances.”
Nearly 30 years later, the case continues to spark interest and Woody repeatedly denies the allegations. “As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the director, 85, and his wife Soon-Yi, 50, said in a joint statement when Allen v. Farrow premiered on Feb. 21. “Multiple agencies investigated them at the time and found that, whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, absolutely no abuse had ever taken place.” The fourth and final episode of Allen v. Farrow airs on HBO on March 15 at 9pm ET.