After a lifetime isolating herself from the media, Dylan Farrow wrote a public letter in 2014 in which she detailed her sexual abuse by her father, famous writer/director Woody Allen. She spoke about the pain of having to tell her story over and over and over again during the bitterly fought custody battle between her mother (actress Mia Farrow) and Allen – a battle that left Allen to continue to pursue his fame and awards and the Farrows painted as lying maniacs.
Even still, she was largely ignored and dismissed.
In a twist that was made for the movies, it was her own brother who finally legitimized her story by breaking one of the biggest Hollywood scandals in history. Suddenly everyone who had once turned a blind eye to the perversion of the Hollywood power set was shouting #MeToo and rushing to take the hand of the nearest victim. Even still, no one was brave enough to at least question Allen.
No one, that is, until Thursday when actress Mira Sorvino penned a letter in the Huffington Post to Farrow. Sorvino has been a very public presence in the Harvey Weinstein scandal and while she’s been fairly quiet about her experience with Weinstein, she did promise to make a public statement eventually.
That she did, only Sorvino quite admirably didn’t make her first statement about herself. Instead she directly apologized to Dylan Farrow for ignoring her story for so long. Sorvino won an Oscar in the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. In her open letter she apologized to Farrow, explaining that she was a young actress who idolized Woody Allen and she just didn’t want to believe the worst.
I confess that at the time I worked for Woody Allen I was a naive young actress. I swallowed the media’s portrayal of your abuse allegations against your father as an outgrowth of a twisted custody battle between Mia Farrow and him, and did not look further into the situation, for which I am terribly sorry. For this I also owe an apology to Mia.
What I have to say next is not a justification, simply a description of my background with Woody at that time and since. As an adolescent, I cherished my copy of his book “Without Feathers.” I played the Diane Keaton role in a high school production of “Play It Again, Sam” and had grown up, like so many in my generation, in awe of his films. As a young actress I landed the dream role of Linda Ash in “Mighty Aphrodite,” and the artistic license he allowed me to create the character was thrilling. We were friendly though not close, but in no way did he ever overstep his bounds with me; I never personally experienced what has now been described as inappropriate behavior toward young girls. But this does not excuse my turning a blind eye to your story simply because I wanted desperately for it not to be so.
It is difficult to sever ties and denounce your heroes, your benefactors, whom you fondly admired and felt a debt of gratitude toward for your entire career’s existence. To decide, although they may be fantastically talented and helped you enormously, that you believe they have done things for which there can be no excuse. But that is where we stand today.
Sorvino goes on to say that after meeting with Ronan Farrow she finally came to believe Dylan’s story and felt ashamed for ignoring it for so long.
I told him I wanted to learn more about you and your situation. He pointed me toward publicly available details of the case I had ruefully never known of, which made me begin to feel the evidence strongly supported your story. That you have been telling the truth all along.
We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it. The cognitive dissonance, the denial and cowardice that spare us painful truths and prevent us from acting in defense of innocent victims while allowing “beloved” individuals to continue their heinous behavior must be jettisoned from the bottom of our souls. Even if you love someone, if you learn they may have committed these despicable acts, they must be exposed and condemned, and this exposure must have consequences. I will never work with him again.
I am sorry it has taken me a few weeks to come out in support of you since that conversation, but it has been a process for me to own this truth and make this irrevocable break.
It seems tragically ironic that Sorvino has been the only person so far brave enough to publicly break with Woody Allen and yet wasn’t even given an invitation by the #MeToo contingent at last Sunday’s
strokefest Golden Globes.
If any of them had any decency they’d feel ashamed of themselves for letting Sorvino make then all look like the hypocrites they are.
But decency seems sorely lacking in Tinsel Town.