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Dylan Farrow discusses her accusations against Woody Allen in her first TV interview

“I have been repeating my accusations unaltered for over 20 years. And I have been systematically shut down, ignored, and discredited.”

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

On Thursday morning, Dylan Farrow appeared on CBS This Morning to speak out against her adoptive father Woody Allen, who she says molested her when she was 7 years old. It was her first TV interview on the subject.

Farrow first came forward with her accusation in 1992, and for the past 25 years, Allen has denied everything. At the time he was in the midst of an acrimonious custody battle with Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow, sparked when Mia found explicit photographs Allen had taken of Soon-Yi Previn, Mia’s 19-year-old daughter adopted in a previous marriage. (Allen and Soon-Yi later married and remain so to this day.) That, Allen contended, explained the accusations: Mia had coached and brainwashed Dylan Farrow to accuse him of molesting her as a twisted form of revenge.

As an adult, Farrow has maintained her accusations. “Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse,” she wrote in an open letter in 2014.

Her Thursday interview served as the first time she’s spoken about her experiences on TV, in part, she says, because of the Time’s Up movement. “With so much silence being broken by so many brave people against so many high-profile people, I felt it was important to add my story to theirs,” Farrow said. “Because it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time.”

Throughout the two-part interview, Farrow was firm, composed, and at times emotional. Speaking evenly, she described Allen leading her into her mother’s attic and sexually assaulting her while she stared at her brother’s toy train. When she told her mother, Farrow says, Mia became extremely angry. “My first impulse was that I had done something wrong,” Farrow admitted.

When CBS’s Gayle King played a clip of Allen denying the accusation on 60 Minutes, Farrow began to cry. “I’m sorry, I really thought I could handle it,” she said. “He’s lying, and he’s been lying for so long. It is difficult for me to see him and to hear his voice.”

On social media and in her published writing, Farrow has called on the actors who work with Woody Allen to acknowledge the accusations against him. “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?” she wrote in 2014, as Blanchett campaigned for an Oscar for her role in Allen’s Blue Jasmine.

In the interview, Farrow said that she wasn’t angry with Allen’s professional collaborators. But, she added, “I hope that, especially since so many of them have been such vocal advocates for the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, that they will acknowledge their complicity.”

King suggested, echoing comments Kate Winslet has made on the press tour for the Allen-directed Wonder Wheel, that some actors feel they don’t know enough about the details of the case to have an opinion on it.

“So find out!” Farrow said. “It’s so easy, in this day and age.”

“I have been repeating my accusations unaltered for over 20 years,” she told King. “And I have been systematically shut down, ignored, and discredited.”

Farrow strongly rejected the idea that her mother had brainwashed her into believing in abuse that never happened. “How is this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached more believable than me being sexually assaulted by my father?” she demanded.

“Outside of a court of law,” she concluded, “we do know what happened in the attic that day. I just told you.”

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