AP Photo/Frankie Ziths
AP Photo/Frankie Ziths
Woody Allen did not appear on the Tuesday, Feb. 4, edition of NBC's Today, but his lawyer Elkan Abramowitz showed up to speak on the filmmaker's behalf. Abramowitz addressed Dylan Farrow's recently renewed allegations that Mia Farrow's former partner sexually assaulted her as a child.
Allen's "reaction is one of overwhelming sadness because of what has happened to Dylan," Abramowitz said. "She was a pawn in a huge fight between him and Mia Farrow 20 years ago, and the idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother. And that memory is never going to go away. The fact that she says this now, that it happened 20 years ago, is totally understandable."
Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie then asked what "a lot of people" seem to be wondering about 28-year-old Dylan's open letter in The New York Times. "She's an adult now. Why would she lie? Why would she make up these allegations? Is she asking for anything from Woody Allen at this point?"
"My view is she's not lying. I think she truly believed this happened," Abramowitz said. "That's what the divisiveness is. When you implant a story in a fragile 7-year-old's mind, it stays there forever. It never goes away." Guthrie then clarified, "You're accusing Mia Farrow of essentially coaching the little girl at the time. The judge, who presided over the custody case at the time, said there wasn't credible evidence of coaching."
"The custody judge is not the most important factor here," Abramowitz argued. "The charges were brought to the Connecticut state police. The state police got...the sex abuse clinic of Yale-New Haven, a nationally recognized group, to investigate those charges. They determined after six months' inquiry, not only that it didn't happen, but that Dylan was coached by her mother. And that's important, because everybody now talks about the presumption of innocence. He is innocent! They determined that the molestation never took place."
The custody judge, however, found Allen's s actions to be "grossly inappropriate" and denied the screenwriter visitation rights. "I'd say that the judge was wrong. The judge favored Mia Farrow for a variety of reasons," Abramowitz alleged. "I think that a lot of the confusion about the case relates to how the relationship with Soon-Yi evolved. Soon-Yi was not Allen's daughter. She was Mia Farrow and André Previn's daughter. But in everybody's mind, everyone believed—maybe too many people believed—that Soon-Yi was his daughter and he was having a relationship with his adopted daughter. That is just not true. It never was true. I think a lot of the confusion that has arisen around the case—and particularly in the custody case—rises from that fact."
Allen married Soon-Yi in 1997 and they later adopted two daughters: Bechet Dumaine and Manzie Tio.
Guthrie then asked what Allen's legal options are. "Is there somebody he can sue for defamation, for example?" she wondered. "Woody Allen is not interested in suing anybody for defamation. He was determined not to have molested his daughter 20 years ago. The case is over. There is no case," Abramowitz said. "The fact that it's being brought up now is suspect. The timing is suspect. Nothing's happened. They haven't had any relationship in the last 20 years, so all of a sudden, we're seeing these allegations surface again, and one has to wonder why."
"Do you have an opinion as to why?" Guthrie asked.
"I think that it's a continuation of Mia Farrow's desire to hurt Woody Allen," Abramowitz answered. "And Woody Allen is now riding fairly high—he got the Golden Globe Award for Lifetime Achievement, which he totally deserved. And I believe it revived the anger she has toward him."
Allen himself previously denied the charges in Dylan's letter, calling them "untrue and disgraceful."
(E! News and Today are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)