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Woody Allen hits back at daughter molestation claims

By AFP
media Dylan Farrow's (R) claim first surfaced in 1992 in the midst of Allen's split from her mother Mia Farrow (L) GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Woody Allen on Thursday accused his ex-lover's family of "cynically" exploiting the Time's Up movement to deny "discredited" allegations that he molested his daughter, seeking to fend off a growing backlash as she gave her first television interview.

The 82-year-old issued the statement after his estranged, adopted daughter Dylan Farrow revived allegations that Allen sexually assaulted her as a seven-year-old girl, with her first full television interview broadcast on CBS television Thursday.

"Even though the Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time's Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation, that doesn't make it any more true today than it was in the past," said Allen in a statement sent to AFP.

"I never molested my daughter -- as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago," he added.

Farrow's claim first surfaced in 1992 in the midst of her parents' bitter split, in which Allen left the actress and activist Mia Farrow for her adoptive daughter from a previous marriage, Soon-Yi Previn, 21 years old at the time.

The director of more than 50 movies, a four-times Oscar winner and showered with awards in Europe, Allen has always denied the allegations and has continued to enjoy a glittering career. He remains with Soon-Yi and the couple have two children.

But the sexual harassment firestorm that has brought down Hollywood titans such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, has fueled a growing backlash against Allen, with a growing number of actresses announcing they regret working with him.

With Hollywood women launching the Time's Up movement to counter sexual harassment and sexism, Farrow says it is time for the world to finally listen to the claims she has stood by for more than two decades.

Her brother, Ronan, the biological son of Allen and Mia Farrow, wrote a devastating expose of alleged rape, assault and harassment published in The New Yorker last October that helped end Weinstein's career.

Allen on Thursday said Dylan's older adopted brother Moses said he had witnessed their mother, Mia Farrow, "relentlessly coaching Dylan, trying to drum into her that her father was a dangerous sexual predator."

"It seems to have worked -- and, sadly, I'm sure Dylan truly believes what she says," he added.

- 'He's lying' -

"He's lying and he's been lying for so long," Farrow told "CBS This Morning" in the interview that aired Thursday, breaking down into tears when watching a clip of Allen denying the alleged assault.

"What I don't understand is how is this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached more believable than what I'm saying about being sexually assaulted by my father?" said the 32-year-old, who is now married and has a young daughter.

"My mother has only encouraged me to tell the truth. She has never coached me."

Allen said Thursday the alleged molestation had been "thoroughly investigated" by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and New York State Child Welfare and that both "concluded that no molestation had ever taken place."

"Instead, they found it likely a vulnerable child had been coached to tell the story by her angry mother during a contentious breakup," he said.

The New York judge who presided over the 1994 custody battle between Allen and Mia Farrow ruled that the abuse allegations were inconclusive, but at the same time lambasted the director as "self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive."

In recent weeks, a growing number of actresses, including Greta Gerwig, Rebecca Hall, Ellen Page and Mira Sorvino, have announced they regret working with Allen.

"I believe Dylan," Oscar-winner Natalie Portman told Oprah Winfrey in a recent group interview with other actresses who included Reese Witherspoon.

Hall and the actor Timothee Chalamet, who appear in Allen's upcoming movie "A Rainy Day in New York," have announced that they will donate their salaries from the film to charities including the Time's Up movement.

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.

Last December, she wrote another op-ed in the Los Angeles Times under the headline "Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?"

 
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