Woody Allen sexual abuse allegations to be told through the eyes of adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in haunting HBO documentary

Woody Allen sexual abuse allegations feature in HBO documentary Allen v. Farrow

Woody Allen (L) w. Dylan Farrow (2L) and her mother, actress Mia Farrow (2R), and Allen and Farrow's son Satchel (R).
(Image credit: Time Life Pictures / Contributor Getty)

Woody Allen's sexual abuse allegations that have hung over him for many years are to be told through the eyes of his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in the new four-part HBO documentary Allen v. Farrow.

The popular filmmaker faced investigations in 1992 following allegations of a sexual assault after Dylan claimed her father abused her at the age of seven at her mother's Connecticut home.

At the time he filed for custody of Dylan and adopted son Moses farrow, in addition to the son Ronan Farrow he shared with partner Mia Farrow. And although Allen was never charged, he was refused custody of his three children after a judge deemed his behavior with Dylan as "grossly inappropriate: following. a trial.

And while Allen has maintained that the sexual assault allegations are false, many celebrities and studios no longer want to be associated with him. He accused ex-partner Mia of being behind these claims in an attempt of trying to distance the children from him. He has linked her behavior to a form of retaliation for him falling in love, and ultimately marrying her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, from a previous relationship with Andre Previn.

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Directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, Allen v. Farrow chronicles the relationship between Allen and Mia Farrow - a seemingly quintessential love story between two high-profile New Yorkers.

Focusing on the emotional impact these allegations against Allen had on Dylan, Mia, and other members of the Farrow family, allows the viewers to face the evidence around what happened at the Connecticut home in 1992. Now Dylan is given a platform to tell her side of the story which she was unable to do as a child. Viewers are able to see her physical reactions, shaking, and starting to panic when recalling the alleged assault.

In the gripping documentary, she describes Allen’s “intense affection” towards her, explaining uncomfortable moments when she would suck Allen’s thumb and he would put his head in her lap. 

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Viewers are also shown a series of videos, which are difficult to watch, that show seven-year-old Dylan explaining where and how her father touched her, and how he allegedly said he would take her to Paris, during that moment.

While Allen did not respond to interview requests from the filmmakers, his side of the story is presented through the audio of his 2020 memoir "Apropos of Nothing," voicing over eerie scenes of Mia Farrow’s Connecticut home, and old family pictures and video. 

Dylan Farrow previously spoke out in 2017 when she wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times asking why the #MeToo movement spared her father. Her opinion piece read, 'It isn’t just power that allows men accused of sexual abuse to keep their careers and their secrets. It is also our collective choice to see simple situations as complicated and obvious conclusions as a matter of 'who can say'? The system worked for Harvey Weinstein for decades. It works for Woody Allen still.'

Dylan retweeted HBO's tweet below about the documentary.

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And while this latest four-part docuseries is set to be an uncomfortable watch for some, former Connecticut state prosecutor Frank Maco, who is featured in the docuseries, explains that he found probable cause to launch a criminal case against Allen but ultimately decided to not move forward due to concerns about re-traumatizing Dylan Farrow.

But that's not the only worry, speaking near the end of the documentary series, Mia Farrow admits she is scared of Allen, a man who largely held the key to her career as an actor, and she is scared about his response to this docuseries.

Since the first episode aired, Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi Previn have issued a statement through a spokesperson. It reads, 'These documentarians had no interest in the truth. Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods. Woody and Soon-Yi were approached less than two months ago and given only a matter of days to respond.’ Of course, they declined to do so.

“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false. 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. It is sadly unsurprising that the network to air this is HBO – which has a standing production deal and business relationship with Ronan Farrow. While this shoddy hit piece may gain attention, it does not change the facts.”

Meanwhile, show producer, Amy Herdy, told Variety, "I reached out to his rep a few times to try and interview him then — and got crickets back. I know they got my request because I was able to get an assistant on the phone saying, ‘You are getting my emails, right?’ And she said yes. But they never responded.”

Allen v. Farrow debuted on Sunday, 21st February (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on Crave in Canada.

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.