50 Things I Loved About 2014

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble.  Two stellar talents putting on a clinic in the first match of a pay-per-view that easily bested the disappointing WrestleMania 30.

2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ WWE Hall of Fame induction speech.  Poignant, cathartic, painfully honest & even funny.  A much deserved honour for a superior ring psychologist.  Thanks for “masturbating our emotions”.

3. Coldplay’s Ghost Stories.  Who knew a “conscious uncoupling” would lead to a lovely set of tunes?

4. Rob Ford is no longer the Mayor of Toronto & Doug Ford is no longer on Toronto City Council.

5. Dylan Farrow’s powerful statement on the New York Times website against her estranged father & childhood abuser, Woody Allen.  It opened up a wide ranging public conversation about sexual assault & the celebrity assailants who often get away with it.

6. The executive summary of the CIA torture report was finally released after multiple delays.  Despite excessive redactions, its shocking revelations should inspire worldwide pressure to prosecute all guilty parties, past and present, even though the Obama Administration is very reluctant to do so themselves, the fucking depraved cowards.

7. Bruce Springsteen’s long awaited studio recording of American Skin (41 Shots).  His timing couldn’t have better.  The song of the year.

8. Germany won the World Cup for the 4th time while defending 2010 champions Spain didn’t even get out of their own group.

9. Jian Ghomeshi & Bill Cosby were finally exposed for the serial predators they’ve secretly always been for decades.  More proof that “nice guy” images are powerfully deceptive.  May their many victims finally get justice after all these decades.

10. Glenn Greenwald’s thoroughly frightening No Place To Hide.  The book of the year.

11. The ending of the final Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.  Very funny homages to The Drew Carey Show, Newhart & The Sopranos.

12. “We’ll Meet Again”, the charming, strangely moving celebrity sing-a-long from the last Colbert Report.  The fake conservative pundit character might be resting in a coffin somewhere but the lid isn’t sealed.

13. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 30.  The match of the year.  The post-match steel chair beatdown by H on Bryan’s arm was brutality at its finest.

14. Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, his 4th such title, at that same event.  Despite a slow start, the Triple Threat match with Randy Orton & Batista ultimately evolved into an entertaining main event featuring the pinnacle of the most unlikely babyface superstar of all time.  The right guy went over that night.

15. Interpol’s El Pintor.  Still plumbing the darkness for sexual release, this time without Carlos D.  Let’s not take another four years for album number six, ok guys?

16. Being asked to become a Huffington Post Contributor.  Seven posted pieces, thus far, with hopefully many more to come.  Talk about a big career break.  If only it was a paying gig.

17. Robyn Doolittle’s Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story.  Just a small, fascinating taste of the insanity that is the Ford Family, plus a revealing look at how a difficult series of stories came together at The Toronto Star.  I’d love to see a sequel.  God knows there’s more than enough material for one.

18. Canada’s performance at the Winter Olympics.  Winning 25 medals four years after winning a record-setting 26 in Vancouver is pretty god damn impressive.

19. The eruption sequence in Pompeii.  Too bad the rest of the film isn’t as fun to watch.

20. U2’s Songs Of Innocence, the two-disc version.  There’s still plenty of vitality flowing through these middle aged bodies.

21. Weezer’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End.  The record Blue Album fans have been waiting 20 years to hear.  Rivers Cuomo’s voice hasn’t aged a day & he still has a trunkful of catchy melodies to share with the world.

22. Green Day is going into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year.  Fuck you, Johnny Rotten.

23. The astonishing fall of former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  What took so long?

24. Invisible Children is on the verge of extinction.  You won’t be missed, phony White Savours.  Kony 2012 was an absolute fucking failure.

25. The #BlackLivesMatter movement.  The spirit of Martin Luther King lives on in a peaceful yet rightfully pissed off community tired of systemic mistreatment & disrespect by governments & law enforcement.  May they succeed in their ongoing quest for real change.  A tip of the hat as well to protesting fast food workers, Canada’s native community for demanding an inquiry into missing women & girls as well as fighting against the construction of new gas & oil pipelines and Palestinians for fighting their evil Israeli occupiers.  Righteous, moral courage is contagious.  May we all catch it.

26. Sloan’s Commonwealth.  More melodic elegance from The Canadian Beatles.

27. Belle Knox.  Smart, honest, defiant, ballsy & incredibly sexy.  After being outed by an asshole schoolmate at Duke University, she made the absolute most of a scary situation.  An excellent writer whose young voice will only grow stronger & smarter over time.  She’s also very sweet.

28. Mr. T’s hilarious yet completely sincere WWE Hall of Fame speech, an incredible tribute to his mom.  He shouldn’t have been cut off, though.  Let the man get all his thoughts out, for Christ’s sake.

29. CNN’s explosive reports on Veteran Affairs hospitals in the US shamefully covering up long waiting lists for patients, an uncomfortable reminder that governments still don’t give a shit about the damaged people who implement their heartless & failed foreign policies.  Drew Griffin deserves much praise for his dogged work.

30. Edward Snowden’s prime time interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.  He is the strongest, living reason to impeach President Obama.

31. The continuing bombshell reports on the NSA’s illegal, immoral mass surveillance programs.  Snowden’s whistleblowing continues to reverberate around the world.  Keep sweating, President Obama.

32. Recreational marijuana became legally available for sale in Oregon & Washington State.  The beginning of the end of the war on pot.  How much longer before everyone wants a piece of this lucrative action?

33. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL.  If only he had beaten up little kids & grown women, he’d be on a team right now.

34. The Intercept.  Finally rolling with regular updates, it’s the best new news site out there right now.  Fiercely adversarial & consistently revelatory.  Glenn Greenwald was absolutely right to leave The Guardian for this venture.

35. Kim Kardashian’s beautiful bare ass.  I like big butts & I cannot lie.

36. Damien Mizdow, The Miz’ stunt double.  Hilarious, despite being somewhat of a comedown from “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” gimmick.  On the plus side, however, he’s finally gotten a title push.

37. Big Wreck’s Ghosts.  Yes, Ian Thornley can scream like Chris Cornell but that’s part of the appeal.  Nearly 20 years after In Loving Memory Of…, they can still bring the rock.

38. Lana Del Rey’s inescapably dreamy West Coast.  I finally get it.

39. Police in Holland arrested a man they believed shamed & tormented Amanda Todd online to the point of suicide.  As CBC’s The Fifth Estate revealed, there are dozens more victims in multiple countries including Canada.  It is such a shame his arrest couldn’t have happened much sooner.  Todd may very well still be alive.  God knows it was possible.  But in a story full of so much tragedy, this very positive development may finally get us closer to understanding the full truth.

40. Antonio Cesaro bodyslamming The Big Show over the top rope to win the first ever Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30.  Also, the handshake at the end was classy.  The Swiss Superman should’ve turned ‘face that night, one of the many fuck-ups the WWE made in 2014.

41. Barack Obama apologist Sophia Bush is still blocking me on Twitter, 18 months and counting.  My second proudest writing achievement next to becoming a Huffington Post Contributor.

42. Edward Snowden was given permission to stay in Russia for three more years, far away from the corrupt tentacles of Obama’s evil National Security State.  Plus, his girlfriend is now living with him.  Suck on that, Michael Hayden, you lying, spying, torturing, bald piece of shit.

43. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s numerous, growing political scandals including the now infamous George Washington Bridge closing.  May his political reputation continue to take the critical beating that it deserves.

44. Eric Cantor surprisingly lost a primary and resigned from Congress.  Now he can enjoy all the Britney Spears concerts he wants.

45. Eric Holder announced his forthcoming resignation as Attorney General.  His legacy will be decidedly mixed.  His constant hounding of whistleblowers & journalists, James Risen in particular, should not be forgotten or forgiven.

46. Egypt’s sham “justice system” which punishes critics, members of the Muslim Brotherhood & journalists doing their jobs like the Al Jazeera Three, & Obama’s continued financing of it.  Disgraceful on so many levels.

47. Lenny Kravitz’ Strut, which features some of his sexiest & most soulful arrangements.  Glad he’s still rocking out.  It’s not fair that he’s better looking than me, though.

48. Rachel Nichols’ welcome, adversarial grilling of serial woman beater Floyd Mayweather on CNN.  I wish every journalist treated him like the disgusting misogynist that he is.  Iron Mike Gallego’s stinging round-up of his criminal acts on DeadSpin deserves high praise, as well.

49. Sheldon Cooper telling his girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler that he loves her for the first time, then kicking her out of his bedroom because girls aren’t allowed in there on The Big Bang Theory.  Perfect.

50. Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic’s grand slam breakthroughs.  How long before either of them take home a major championship for Canada?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 29, 2014
3:06 a.m.

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Four)

26. Tam hated him.

Besides the unannounced visits to the bedroom she shared with Dylan, Allen “never ever spoke to her”, encouraged Satchel to “pull her hair” and never bought her a single gift.  Satchel and Dylan would get routinely spoiled and she would get nothing.

27. He wanted Farrow to lie to the public about their troubled, dying relationship.

By the mid-summer of 1992, several weeks before the release of Husbands And Wives, rumours were circulating in the press about Allen and Farrow’s deteriorating relationship “and that it had something to do with one of my daughters”.  The panic-stricken filmmaker had his “people” trying to deny the early reports.  He even went so far as to ask Farrow “to issue a joint press release” that painted as rosy a picture of their relationship as humanly possible.

Farrow wasn’t interested in saying anything about his moral failings, nor would she lie.

Allen then warned her if she didn’t cooperate, he was going to defend himself (“I told him his position was indefensible”) and publicly declare his love for Soon-Yi.  After making his desperate pitch for the press release and reminding her of their upcoming film shoot (Manhattan Murder Mystery which Farrow ultimately backed out of), he said with all seriousness, “If that can be done, there’s no limit to what we can have together…”

Farrow’s reply:  “I don’t feel very safe with you.”

28. Allen couldn’t defend himself when Farrow confronted him about Dylan’s accusations.

“Where were you when everybody looked all over the house?  If you weren’t in the attic [with Dylan], where were you?”  Allen “stumbled and stuttered, but he wouldn’t answer my question.”  She kept asking it over and over again.  “I asked him every which way, maybe twenty times:  ‘Woody, just tell me where you were.’  But he would not answer me.”

29. He made numerous false accusations in his fruitless child custody petition.

When he wasn’t erroneously accusing Farrow of physical abuse towards her kids and being “emotionally disturbed”, he also defended himself from a non-existent sexual abuse claim from Satchel (Allen did try to twist his leg in a furious rage once, however) whose birth month he got wrong.  (He said it was September when he was really born in December.)  He also wrongly claimed that Farrow was hoping to adopt two more blind children.  She wasn’t.

30. Faced with incriminating DNA evidence he reluctantly admitted to being up in Farrow’s attic.

Despite telling the media he was too “claustrophobic” to spend any time in Farrow’s summer home attic, after police found samples of his hair up there he gave a different explanation under oath during the custody trial:

“Mia showed me the crawl space up there.  I’m not saying I didn’t pop in and say it’s a very nice place and search it.  By the way, I may have reached in.”

31. Farrow’s lawyer warned her about Allen’s nosey private investigators.

Farrow and her family were told “to be wary of new friends.  The house might be bugged…and the car; the phone could be tapped, and there might be a transmitter near the house.” And forget about accepting flowers.

While it’s not certain whether any of that actually happened, Allen’s team did get in touch with Farrow’s babysitters and even interviewed members of his own film crew, hoping to get useable dirt.  They even bothered Farrow’s brother in Vermont.

A mysterious voice on the phone ominously warned about a possible vehicular accident.  (“Watch out for yourself on the road.”) And for three straight Sundays, their garbage was confiscated by somebody in a “grey car”.

32. He was an unapologetic jerk during his last phone conversation with Farrow.

“When I begged him for the children’s sake to stop the publicity circus, he told me he hadn’t even begun…”  Allen went on to absurdly claim that she had become “the laughing stock of the country” and “by the time I’m finished with you, there will be nothing left.”  After Farrow reminded him that he wouldn’t get away with any of his lies in court, he arrogantly replied, “It doesn’t matter what’s true; all that matters is what’s believed.”

Curiously, in an earlier conversation, he said, “Is there any way out?  I just want to be friends.”

Farrow’s appropriate reply:  “You’re crazy, Woody.”

33. He wouldn’t agree to a supervised visit with Satchel unless he could also see Dylan.

The New York State Supreme Court granted him the right to see his biological son with proper supervision but not his daughter for obvious reasons.  Allen was so upset about this he refused to visit Satchel unless he could be with Dylan as well.  The court refused to give him what he wanted.  As a result, Allen didn’t want to any spend time with either of them.  He wanted to see both or neither.  The incredulous NY State Justice presiding over the case remarked, “I find that bizarre.”

34. During the custody battle he falsely attributed a submitted drawing he made to Satchel.

In a pathetic attempt to paint Farrow in an unmotherly light Allen claimed under oath his biological son drew a picture “of a heart with five faces inside and names beneath them:  Satchel, Dylan, Moses, Mommy, and Daddy, drawn with glasses.”

It turns out he made the drawing himself, a fact that came out when Farrow’s attorney cross-examined him.  Allen confessed that Satchel only “blackened my face out…drew a heart…drew a line through it and wrote the word no, and crossed out my name.”

35. He repeatedly appealed the child custody decision.

“I have lost count of how many times Woody has brought me back into court to challenge the custody decision or to dispute its visitation restrictions.”  He lost every one.  In losing the first appeal, the court noted Allen’s “tendency to place inappropriate emphasis on his own wants and needs and to minimize and even ignore those of his children.”  Although “the five judges stated that the allegations of sexual abuse of Dylan were inconclusive, they also stated that the testimony at the trial suggested that abuse did occur.”

Even his needlessly petty legal attempt to prevent Farrow from moving her family permanently out of the city was a flop.

36. Farrow’s family hoped to avoid encountering Allen & Soon-Yi as much as humanly possible.

As Farrow and her children worried about running into her ex and their estranged sister in person, they couldn’t avoid their presence on their own Television set.  “When the older kids settled in to watch a Knicks game…and the camera suddenly cut to Woody and Soon-Yi, Moses got up and silently left the room.  Minutes later the others switched off the set.”

When Fletcher worked a Christmas job “in the packing room at a chic Manhattan clothing store” in late 1993, he was asked to deliver a package to someone in a limousine.  When he found out it was intended for Soon-Yi, “Fletcher declined.”

37. His celebrity may have helped end the ongoing New York investigation into his abuse of Dylan.

According to Paul Williams, “the Child Welfare caseworker”, based on his previous “experience…interviewing hundreds of children who had been abused, I concluded that abuse did occur and that there was a prima facie cause to commence family-court proceedings against Woody Allen.”

Indeed, regarding the attic incident alone, Dylan told Farrow herself, “He was kissing me…I got soaked all over the whole body…I had to do what he said.  I’m a kid, I have to do whatever the grown-ups say…It hurt, it hurt when he pushed his finger in [my vagina]…He just kept poking it in…”  Throughout the ordeal, Allen told her, “Don’t move…I have to do this.  If you stay still, we can go to Paris.  Don’t tell.”  (Not uncoincidentally, the filmmaker had previously suggested to the whole family that they move to Paris.)

Unfortunately, Williams noted, “[M]y superior said that Woody Allen is ‘an influential person’, she talked about his films and his ‘position’.”  After “insist[ing] that the case should have been filed”, “[m]anagers at the Child Welfare Agency responded that ‘pressure’ [to drop the case] is coming all the way from the mayor’s office.'”  They denied it but Farrow, quite understandably, wasn’t buying it.

The case was dropped and Allen was never charged in New York.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
5:27 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm  Comments (3)  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Three)

19. He hates Christmas.

According to Farrow, the Jewish comedian never celebrated it on his own “(except for one year, when he put up a bare tree for us in his apartment with a black bat at the top).”  On one Christmas Day, Allen showed up as he always did at Farrow’s apartment, this time handing out 50 dollar cheques for each of the kids.  When his girlfriend tried to tell him about the family’s experience at Mass (“how beautiful the carols had been and what a fine voice [son] Matthew has”), he responded, “Pardon me while I puke.”

For some inexplicable reason, he then decided to use Farrow’s juicer for the very first time in his life.  After roping Lark into cutting up some apples for him, he made apple juice.  When no one accepted his repeated offers to taste it (they already had plenty of egg nog and punch on the dinner table), instead of drinking it himself, “he poured the juice into the sink.  Then, he took Dylan out of her chair and went to another room.”

20. After Farrow found those naked Polaroids he took of Soon-Yi he still wouldn’t leave his angry girlfriend alone.

The day she discovered them on a mantel at his place she yelled at him over the phone.  He then proceeded to spend several consecutive hours talking and pleading and apologizing and reassuring an increasingly irritated and thoroughly distraught Farrow in her apartment.  (“Let’s use this as a springboard into a deeper relationship,” he told her at one point.)

He said he was in love with Soon-Yi and wanted to marry her, then quickly took it back saying he really didn’t.  He kept repeating his love for Farrow, even half-heartedly offering to marry her.  (“It’s conceivable that somewhere down the line we might even get married.”)  Previously, he was completely dismissive of the idea saying marriage was just “a piece of paper”.  He promised it was over with Soon-Yi (“Look, it was just a tepid little affair that probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a few weeks longer anyway.”) and he would never slip up like that again.  He only left when Farrow escorted him to her apartment building elevator.  (He was still talking as the doors closed.)

Then, he came back for dinner, pretending everything was ok.  (He still had the key to her apartment.)  One by one, her kids took their food, left the table and went to their rooms making sure the doors were closed behind them.  Farrow ended up exiting her own building when she really just wanted to have a relaxing bath.

He called her 10-20 times a day begging for forgiveness and understanding, then returned to her apartment again and again hoping to salvage their withering relationship with more endless yammering, hoping to once again wear her down.  He brought her flowers.  Two weeks after she saw the Soon-Yi photos, she sent one of her babysitters over to Woody’s personal screening room to finally retrieve his key to her place, something she never had the courage to do on her own because of his awful temper.

Contact would be limited to supervised child visits and occasional, teary-eyed dinners from that point on.  Farrow’s older kids made sure they weren’t around when he was.

21. He failed to convince Farrow to return the naked Soon-Yi Polaroids.

Allen “was terrified that the public would find out” about his affair with Soon-Yi and was “desperate to get the Polaroids back.”  He had no reason to worry.  Farrow wisely kept them safe in her bedroom until she discretely handed them over to a lawyer “who put them in a vault”.   Furthermore, she advised her kids to not say anything to anyone outside the family about what had happened.

But Allen wouldn’t give up.  He suggested they burn the photos together.  Farrow refused.  He “promised to leave Soon-Yi alone, if you will give me the pictures.” Farrow rejected that proposal, as well.  “…I told him they would stay in the vault for the rest of my life.  I would never take them out, but I wouldn’t destroy them either”.  She instinctively realized that if she gave in to Allen’s demand, “he would deny they ever existed”.

22. He thought his relationship with Soon-Yi was good for her.

“I thought this would be just a pleasant little footnote in Soon-Yi’s history,” he told Farrow.  “I think it was good for Soon-Yi.  I think it gave her a little confidence.”

23. His antics greatly angered two of Farrow’s protective sons.

During an argument with Farrow in her apartment the “entirely unrepentant” Allen “threatened to put me in a mental hospital and have the children taken away” whenever she expressed her completely justifiable rage or sorrow.  As he refused to leave at Farrow’s insistent request, after repeatedly screaming, “I’m going to take these kids out of here,” Fletcher confronted him.  “Get out now.  Get out and leave Mom alone.”

As Farrow recalls, “Woody fled.”

Moses gave Allen an letter that left no doubt where the man stood with him:

“All you want is the trust and relationships you had in the beginning…You can’t have those worthy things because you have done a horrible, unforgivable, needy, ugly, stupid thing, which I hope you will not forgive yourself for doing…I hope you get so humiliated that you commit suicide…You brought these things to yourself, we didn’t do anything wrong.  Everyone knows you’re not supposed to have an affair with your son’s sister including that sister [Soon-Yi], but you have a special way to get that sister to think that it’s OK…I just want you to know that I don’t consider you my father anymore.”

Shockingly, more than 20 years later, Moses has now turned against his own family to side with the man who tried to destroy it.

24. He didn’t want to tell Dylan about his affair with Soon-Yi.

According to Farrow, the filmmaker “wanted the little girl to be told that somehow I misinterpreted a joke between him and Soon-Yi.”  Unfortunately, Dylan had already witnessed them having sex at Allen’s apartment.  Farrow ended up telling her in the presence of a therapist.  (“I would have preferred to cut my legs off.”)

25. He freaked out Farrow’s blind daughter Tam when he snuck in her bedroom to see Dylan.

Before Allen was forever banned from family sleepovers, in the middle of the night he would sneak out of the guest room to sleep on the floor next to Dylan’s bed in her room, despite Farrow’s constant, preemptive protestations.  Unfortunately, when her roommate, Tam, who is blind, needed to use the bathroom, she would accidentally step on him and scream her head off, awakening everyone from their deep slumbers.

One time when Tam realized Allen was reading Dylan a bedtime story, she freaked out once again.  A coldly indifferent Allen kept on reading aloud even though “nobody could hear anything but screams”.  When Farrow pushed him to “hurry the story a little…he glared at me” and kept going until he was done.  Then, he left the room threatening to fire Farrow from their next movie if she didn’t “shape up”.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:35 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Two)

10. He didn’t look after Fletcher during a shoot.

Allen hired Farrow’s 11-year-old son to act in Radio Days.  During an all-day roof-top shoot on a cold, windy afternoon, because the film was a period piece set in the 1940s Fletcher was wearing clothing more suitable for the camera than the weather.  “Instead of breaking for lunch, cups of hot soup had been handed out to the crew, but nobody gave anything to Fletcher.”  Meanwhile, Allen was wearing his “Eddie Bauer arctic gear, drinking hot soup, without any thought or feeling or sense of responsibility for Fletcher.”  The poor kid returned home freezing and “beyond hunger”.

11. Soon-Yi hated him as a child and he wanted nothing to do with her.

Long before their notorious affair, Allen’s future third wife reacted badly to Farrow’s pregnancy (“she burst into angry, uncomprehending tears”) and declared “he was nasty and ugly, and the baby [Satchel] would be ugly like him.”  When Farrow would ask Allen to do fatherly stuff with her like going for walks or buying her ice cream, he always refused.

12. Despite breaking up with him, he kept seeing Farrow until she gave him another chance.

Realizing her scary dependency on a cold, abusive artist was greatly interfering with her own happiness and self-identity, not to mention putting her kids at risk, a fearful Farrow dumped Allen in his dressing room.  (“He was surprised and angry.”)  But because she didn’t ask him to return the key to her apartment (which he wanted so he could show up whenever he desired) he kept coming over unannounced and uninvited “every single day”.  Despite “politely ignor[ing] each other” during his unwelcome visits, she broke down and took him back.

13. He hated his own biological child.

After the birth of his son, Allen was more interested in pursuing a terrified Dylan than bonding with the boy he personally named after the famous ballplayer Satchel Paige.  Farrow recalls, “He rarely came in to see me and he hardly glanced at the new baby.  He never held or touched him, and he didn’t seem to like me nursing him.  He seemed stern – or was it angry?  It made me cry.”  Allen also referred to him as “the little bastard” and “the completely superfluous little bastard”, awful comments made “[n]ot entirely in jest”.  Ultimately, Farrow “realized that he was not withholding his affection:  it simply did not exist for Satchel, or Moses, or any of the other children.”

No wonder the kid changed his name to Ronan.

14. He once thought he had the AIDS virus.

In the fall of 1991, a greatly fatigued Allen was readying his next film, Husbands And Wives, under less than ideal physical conditions.  Uncertain about what was ailing him he told a perplexed Farrow he needed to get an HIV test.  Why, she wondered. “He answered that there was a long incubation period for HIV.”  After convincing the neurotic filmmaker to get the damn test already Allen was relieved when it came back negative.  Unless he was secretly cheating during their dozen years together (Farrow was worried that an unnamed actress was getting a little too cozy with him on sets in the mid-to-late 80s), he was ultimately obsessing over nothing.

15. Dylan was traumatized by his constant attention.

“He whispered her awake, he caressed her, and entwined his body around her as she watched television, as she played on the floor, as she ate, as she slept.”  Farrow writes that “there was a wooing quality to his approaches:  a neediness, an aggressive intensity that was relentless and overpowering.”  Young Dylan was so repulsed by him that whenever she heard “the sound of the doorbell and the slam of the front door”, she looked for any place to hide as he entered Farrow’s apartment.  On three separate occasions, the bathroom became her sanctuary.  (She once locked herself in there for four straight hours.)  Later, she developed headaches and stomach aches from all the stress of his pursuits.  After he molested her in August 1992, she started wetting the bed again, “something she hadn’t done since she was three years old.”

When he wasn’t around, she “was a bright, chatty little girl, brimming with opinions and observations.”  But when he was constantly hounding her, “she withdrew, her talk became sketchy and hard to follow, and instead of answering his questions, she looked around the room.”  She tried imitating animals, singing, baby talk, “anything to deflect his attentions; and this only made him more insistent.”

When he was putting her to bed one night he wouldn’t let her be until she said “good night”.  As she avoided his gaze, “he pinned her shoulders to the bed and demanded a response while her head thrashed back and forth.”  Farrow ultimately pulled him away.

On another occasion, while they were in bed together “he had been wrapped around her like a python in Jockey underpants.”  As Farrow pulled Dylan away from his relentless grasp he called his girlfriend a “spoilsport” in an explosion of anger, a typical Allen response.

It was only after several therapy sessions that Allen appeared to have stopped “putting his hands under Dylan’s covers…putting his face in her lap…the constant caressing” and having her suck his thumb.  (Whenever Farrow caught him doing the latter she yelled at him to stop.)  Unfortunately, his indecent behaviour would continue.

At the family’s summer retreat in Massachusetts, Allen decided to put suntan lotion on his naked 5-year-old daughter while she was playing with her cousin, Farrow’s sister’s two-year-old daughter, who was also nude.  According to Tisa Farrow (Mia’s aforementioned sibling), “It was buggy and sunny.  Woody started rubbing some sunscreen on Dylan’s shoulders.  Then he got to her bottom, and there he took his time.  It was a momentary thing, but it was so glaringly inappropriate.  Just not something a grown man does to a child…This was such a classic example of ‘bad touching’.”  Their mother, actress Maureen O’Sullivan, was also disturbed by Allen’s actions.

16. He tried to have inappropriate sex chats with Farrow’s teenage daughter Daisy.

When she was between the ages of 14 and 17, “Woody had tried to initiate four intimate conversations with her.  He had asked her how old her friends were when they began doing things with boys, and how old she was when she started fooling around, and what sorts of things she’d done.”  He once told Farrow’s daughter, “Tell me everything you’ve done that you wouldn’t tell your mother.  I promise I won’t tell her.”  Needless to say, Daisy “was uncomfortable with his line of questioning”, especially since “Woody had never talked to Daisy privately before”.  “She didn’t have anything to tell him anyway, and she didn’t stick around.”

17. He was caught on four different occasions in compromising positions with Soon-Yi.

Daughter Lark and her boyfriend Jesse were in a limousine with Allen and Soon-Yi one summer day.  As he awoke from a nap, Jesse “saw Woody place his hand on Soon-Yi’s thigh and caress it.”

Fletcher walked in on Allen and Soon-Yi in the middle of something (Farrow doesn’t offer specifics) as he “walked into the laundry room” in their building.  (“…Woody had spun away from Soon-Yi.”)

Another time, Moses went over to sit on the family sofa with Allen and Soon-Yi to watch a sports event on TV.  As Woody made room for him, “he dipped his head for a very long second and looked between Soon-Yi’s bare legs.”  She was wearing a mini-skirt.

Dylan and Satchel were watching TV in Allen’s apartment when the filmmaker and Soon-Yi “disappeared”.  Dylan found them “out on the terrace with their arms around each other.”  When the little girl tried to get their attention, “they told her to ‘go away,’ they wanted ‘a little private time.'”  Instead of listening, “she hid on the staircase next to the bedroom door, facing the glass doors to the terrace.”  As they left the terrace for the bedroom (“the door was left partially open”), Dylan observed them having intercourse.  “…he was putting his penis into Soon-Yi’s vagina,” she said later.

18. He took advantage of a troubled, inexperienced Soon-Yi.

Allen’s wrongful relationship with Farrow’s teenage daughter began during her last year of high school.  (He actually attended her graduation, an unexpected gesture on his part.  It was the only one he showed up for.)  According to Farrow, “Soon-Yi was quiet, reserved, and cautious.”  Her tutor of six years (grades 6-12), Dr. Audrey Sieger, “whose doctorate is in learning and reading disabilities”, describes her as “a very typical learning-disabled kid, very socially inappropriate, very, very naïve…She has trouble understanding language on an inferential level.  She’s very literal and flat in how she interprets what she sees and how she interprets things socially.  She misinterprets situations…”

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:03 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm  Comments (1)  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part One)

In 1997, Mia Farrow released her autobiography.  Named after a line in the 1953 Theodore Roethke poem, The Waking, What Falls Away vividly documents her topsy turvy life up to that point.  Her mostly happy Catholic tomboy childhood, her scary bout with polio at age 9, her high-profile acting career, her misdiagnosed stomach ailment that had future repercussions, her remarkable parenting skills, her world travels and her famous friends & loves are all reviewed through a kaleidoscope of emotional memories, some of which are guilt-ridden.

By Chapter 8, Woody Allen enters the picture, thanks to a personal introduction from Farrow’s pal, Michael Caine.

With renewed interest in Allen’s past sexual misconduct this year, thanks to a devastatingly written testimonial from estranged daughter Dylan Farrow, here are the most interesting albeit forgotten revelations about the filmmaker almost 20 years after they were first published:

1. He hated Siskel & Ebert.

According to Farrow, Allen “reserved special contempt for film critics on television. ‘The Chicago morons’ was his label for one high-profile pair.”  He was more concerned with what The New York Times thought of his work.  He checked out their latest review “the minute it hit the stands.”  Along with Farrow, he “had dinner with the major critics of Time and Newsweek.”  But while working on set, “everyone around us knew not to mention reviews in our presence.”

2. He has a weird relationship with his sister.

Despite having “shared an unusually close childhood” and “help[ing] her financially” as an adult, Allen mostly interacts with his sibling on the phone and rarely in person.  The reason?  “He described her as ‘pushy,’ and as an example told me about her unwelcome and futile efforts to involve him with her children when they were younger.” Farrow says Allen and herself had exactly one meal with her in the twelve years they were a couple.  Furthermore, he never allows her to visit him while he’s working on set, either.

3. He’s paranoid about his health. 

Farrow notes, “…he had a doctor for every single part of his body.  He carried around his doctors’ home numbers, he rushed to the doctor before a twinge could reach symptom status.  If he felt the least bit unwell, he would take his temperature at ten-minute intervals.  He kept his own thermometer at my apartment.  In his pocket he carried a silver box full of pills for any conceivable ailment.  Whenever one of his movies came out, he’d have a screening for his doctors and their wives.  It was called ‘the doctors’ screening,’ and the room was always full.”

4. He’s fussy about the location of a shower drain.

To try to make him feel most comfortable in the family’s new summer home in Massachusetts, Farrow had “a fine tile shower built just for him” because he doesn’t take baths.  But after taking his “white rubber shower mat (for germs)” with him to the bathroom he immediately returned disgruntled.  (“The drain is in the middle.”)  Why was this a problem?  No reason was ever given.  Amazingly, Farrow had a second bathroom installed “with a shower that had a drain in the corner”.  (“It was called ‘Woody’s bathroom.'”)  Allen never used it.

5. He barely made an effort to be a father to Moses.

According to Farrow, Allen went out of his way to limit the time he spent with the first child she adopted when they first started dating.  “…he sometimes played chess with Moses, or basketball, or catch, but never for longer than five or ten minutes.  Fifteen tops.”  The reason?  “He didn’t want to break a sweat, he said.”  Plus, “he still wouldn’t take a shower at our house, not even with the new bathroom, and his own shower mat, and his special shower shoes.”  He also hated his original name, Misha.  He claimed it was a “wimp’s name”, so they changed it to Moses.

6. He has a nasty temper.

Farrow recounts the time Allen showed her where a famous right-wing intellectual resided as they went on one of their typical walks around Manhattan.  Unfortunately, during a later traipse in the same East Side area, she forgot which house was his, so “I asked in passing whether a familiar-looking house might be William Buckley’s.”  (It wasn’t.)  Although she doesn’t quote Allen’s response, she notes that the angry “attack that followed…was more stunningly awful that I had ever weathered in my life, and it did not cease until I was sobbing on the sidewalk…”

Allen also freaked out when she “didn’t know the name of a certain kind of pasta”, when she was “off in my estimate of the weather by only four degrees; and when I asked about a dream he’d had the previous night, when he had mumbled the words ‘Dolly Parton.'”  Insincere apologies always followed each incident.  After a heart-to-heart, he even promised her “it would never happen again.  Ever.”  But the scary flip-outs continued.

When Farrow asked him if he would attend her son Fletcher’s sixth-grade graduation, he harshly responded, “I’ll have to think about whether you have any right to ask me that.”  Needless to say, he was a no-show.

When she tried to address his smothering behaviour towards Dylan “he got so angry” that the subject was immediately dropped, a routine occurrence.  His increasingly inappropriate conduct continued unabated despite Farrow’s growing anxieties.  Allen’s frequently cruel comments towards his terrified girlfriend “made me feel stupid and worthless.”

He referred to her children as “little bastards”.  He once “push[ed] Dylan’s face into a plate of hot spaghetti – an incident witnessed by most of our family.”  He even threatened to do it again but thankfully, never did.

7. He’s a very controlling, manipulative boyfriend.

He would call Farrow “four or five times a day, minimum.”  When they’d eat out, he picked the venue, their companions for the meal, when they would show up, what they would talk about, and when they would exit.  He always paid the bill.  In general, “[h]is opinions were the final word.  And he could cut you quicker than you could open your mouth.”  As a result, Farrow and the kids were very afraid of him.

One time when she was checking out of a hospital (following the birth of her son Satchel), Allen told her nurse the wheelchair Farrow was going to be using to “take her downstairs” was not needed.  “I was all stooped over, and I couldn’t straighten up, my stomach hurt so much.” She ended up “cr[ying] all the way up First Avenue” in their car as she “begged the driver”, not Allen, to “go slow”.

8. He hated his parents.

Farrow writes that “every encounter” the couple had with them was “awkward” and “awful”.  Whenever they would visit the elderly couple, “Woody would ring their doorbell and then cover the peephole.  They always opened it anyway.”  During their 30-minute stays, “he did not address them directly, or sit down or stop moving.”  During one visit, Allen openly accused his mom of beating him every day he lived with her.  A regretful Mrs. Konigsberg (Allen’s real last name) claims the filmmaker was a handful as a child and needed more discipline than his more agreeable sister.  Allen then instructed his daughter Dylan to “[t]wist her nose off…She’s the wicked witch.  Go on, twist it off.”  Fortunately, his mom couldn’t make out what he was saying.  She was hard of hearing.

9. He’s extremely dependent on his therapist.

“There were three of us in the relationship:  Woody, his shrink and me.  No decisions were ever made without her.  He didn’t even buy sheets without talking to her.  I know that part of several sessions went into his switch from polyester-satin to cotton.”  At the time, according to Farrow, Allen had been seeking professional help “two or three times a week for about thirty years”.  (He should demand a complete refund.)

After Farrow discovered his affair with Soon-Yi, she actually asked his shrink “for his help in protecting my family” to which she was informed, “it’s not a therapist’s job to moralize.”  No wonder she’s so skeptical of psychoanalysis.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
2:28 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Damaging Woody Allen Details From A 1997 Connecticut Magazine Article

In the November 1997 issue of Connecticut Magazine, journalist Andy Thibault profiled Frank Maco.  In the summer of 1992, Maco, the state prosecutor, was investigating the Woody Allen molestation scandal.  Allen’s then-seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused her father of fingering her vagina on multiple occasions.

Although Maco ultimately dropped his investigation (he worried about putting Dylan through a potentially traumatizing trial despite the fact that she was more that willing to testify in front of her assailant), Allen’s behaviour throughout it was suspicious.  Here are the most damaging details noted in the article:

1. Contrary to what 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft asserted in his 1992 TV interview with Allen, the filmmaker was initially quite uncooperative with both Connecticut and New York police.  He spent several months refusing to submit to interviews.  At one point, he “tried to set preconditions” before sitting down with the Connecticut side.  “One of the preconditions was that any statements made by Allen could not be used to impeach him.  The state police did not comply.”

Another precondition involved having Maco witness Allen making his statement in front of law enforcement.  Worried that this would needlessly complicate his possible prosecution of the case (the defense could potentially put him on the stand during a trial), Maco refused.

2. When Allen finally sat down for an interview with Connecticut police in January 1993, the session lasted almost four hours.  One of the focal points was the incident in the attic.  (Dylan:  “He put his finger in my vagina.  He made me lay on the floor all ways, on my back, on my side, my front.  He kissed me all over.  I didn’t like it…Daddy told me not to tell and he’d take me to Paris, but I did tell.”)

Despite first claiming he had never been up there, “[p]olice found hair fibers in the crawl space consistent with Allen’s” and even fingerprints, physical evidence that placed him at the scene of the crime but didn’t necessarily prove culpability, as one CSI expert noted in the article.  Allen later conceded that not only was it possible that “he might have reached into the crawl space on occasion, either to grab one of the children or to give them a soda… it was” also “possible that [his] prints would be found there.”  That said, because he kept going back and forth with his answers, the “police characterized Allen’s statements as inconsistent.”

3. At least 10 private investigators were “hired by different lawyers and subcontractors”, all of them on Allen’s payroll, to dig up dirt on Maco and the Connecticut police in order to discredit their investigation.  “The private detectives included former FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents” who were particularly focused on “Sgt. John Mucherino, a primary investigator for Maco.  They wanted to know if Mucherino was a drinker or a gambler, if he had any marital problems.”  Ironically, some of the PIs were “former state cops who were friends with Mucherino.”  The article doesn’t mention if they found anything useful.

4. Several Connecticut police officers believed that it was Allen’s team who started “the false rumor” that someone in law enforcement “was trying to sell a videotape of Dylan” making her accusations directly to her mother, Mia, “to the tabloid media.”  A trooper was investigated by Internal Affairs over this but was cleared of any wrongdoing.  However, if it’s true that the defense was responsible for this wild goose chase, the dirty tactic proved effective.  As a result of the IA affair, the investigation into the abuse claims was suspended for 10 days before being reactivated.  Maco told Connecticut Magazine, “About this time, I was told there was a campaign to disrupt the investigators, being orchestrated out of New York.”

5. It was Maco who “commissioned” professional experts at Yale University to put together a report examining the credibility of Dylan’s abuse claims.  Furthermore, the county prosecutor specifically wanted the group “to determine whether Dylan was a viable witness who could stand up in court.”  Unfortunately, they concluded that no sexual violation of Allen’s adopted daughter had taken place.  However, there were several, notable problems with their findings:

i) “The Yale team used psychologists on Allen’s payroll to make mental health conclusions.”

ii) “Custody recommendations were made even though the team never saw Allen and any of the children together.”

iii) “The team refused to interview witnesses who could have corroborated the molestation claims.”

iv) “The team destroyed its notes.”

v) Dr. John Leventhal, “the only medical doctor on the team, did not interview Dylan.”

vi) “The night before Leventhal gave a statement to Farrow’s attorney, he discussed the scenario with Abramowitz, the head of Allen’s legal team, for about 30 minutes.”

vii) Leventhal aside, other members of the Yale team did interview Dylan a grand total of “nine times”, which an outside expert said was “excessive”.  (“The danger is the child feels like she’s not believed if she’s asked the same question over and over.”)  “For three consecutive weeks” of questioning, Dylan said Allen “violated her sexually.  In several of the other sessions, she mentioned a similar type of abuse.  When Dylan did not repeat the precise allegation in some of the sessions, the team reported this as an inconsistency.”

viii) “Leventhal himself later admitted” while under oath during the custody battle that among the “several mistakes” he made “was his false characterization of Dylan’s active imagination as a thought disorder” or “a fantasy problem”.  He initially found her “loose associations” troubling.  When Dylan talked about seeing “dead heads” in the attic, it was just a harmless reference to “a trunk” in the family “attic” where Mia “kept wigs from her movies on wig blocks”.  “The magic hour” was nothing more than Mia’s fanciful way of “describ[ing] the dark sky upon leaving New Haven in the evening…”  It wasn’t an example of “magical thinking” which Leventhal ultimately confessed, in sworn testimony, was a faulty conclusion.

ix) Leventhal never did determine Dylan’s fitness as a trial witness.  “Regardless of what the Connecticut police wanted from us…we weren’t necessarily beholden to them.  We did not assess whether she’d be a good witness in court.  That’s what Mr. Maco may have been interested in, but that’s not necessarily what we were interested in.”

Is it any wonder Maco noted in the article “that enlisting Yale’s assistance was the biggest mistake he made in the case”?

“I gave their report very little weight,” he told Connecticut Magazine.

6. After announcing in September 1993 that he was dropping the investigation against Allen to spare Dylan while simultaneously asserting that the filmmaker wasn’t exactly innocent, an infuriated Allen responded with two “ethics complaint[s] against Maco with both the Statewide Grievance Committee—a lawyers’ disciplinary group—and the state Criminal Justice Commission, which hires and fires prosecutors.”

The CJC cleared Maco at the end of 1993, two months after Allen’s desperate filing.  But a close SGC vote (6-5 “with two abstentions”) determined that an investigation was necessary into Maco’s actions.  “The vote overturned a ruling by Maco’s local committee, which had found in his favor.”  A Superior Court Judge ridiculed the overruling calling it “star-driven, sloppy and careless.”  There was suspicion that the committee might have “just wanted to see Woody Allen”.  Maco was offered a chance to apologize and settle with Allen but refused.  “I did nothing illegal, unethical or immoral,” he told Connecticut Magazine.  “I’ll go anywhere to defend that.”

In the end, according to a brief 2013 blog update published with the reposting of the original 1997 article on the official CM website, it took four years for the SGC to realize that the CJC was right all along.  As a result, Rico was cleared a second time in 2001.  Allen had lost both attempts to punish him for his aborted prosecution.  Two years later, after more than 30 years on the job, Rico retired.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, February 12, 2014
8:22 p.m.

Published in: on February 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Damning Woody Allen Details In 1993 Child Custody Decision (Part Three)

26. In denying Woody Allen custody of Dylan, Satchel and Moses, New York Supreme Court Justice Elliott Wilk noted that Allen “has demonstrated no parenting skills that would qualify him as an adequate custodian”.  Despite providing money to Mia’s family, reading and telling stories to the kids, purchasing gifts for them and “oversee[ing] their breakfasts”, none of this makes up for “his absence as a meaningful source of guidance and caring in their lives.  These contributions do not excuse his evident lack of familiarity with the most basic details of their day-to-day existences.”

27. Besides never bathing his kids and rarely getting them dressed, Allen’s other parental deficiencies: “[h]e knows little of Moses’ history, except that he has cerebral palsy; he does not know if he has a doctor.  He does not know the name of Dylan and Satchel’s pediatrician.  He does not know the names of Moses’ teachers or about his academic performance.  He does not know the names of his children’s friends.  He does not know the names of any of their many pets.  He does not know which children shared bedrooms.”  He would only attend parent-teacher events if Mia insisted he come along.

28. Allen “seldom communicated” with Mia’s children from her previous marriage to Andre Previn which, for quite a while, included Soon-Yi.  “He apparently did not pay enough attention to his own children to learn from them about their brothers and sisters.”

29. “Mr. Allen characterized Ms. Farrow’s home as a foster care compound and drew distinctions between her biological and adopted children.”  When Allen was “asked how he felt” about having sex with “his children’s sister”, he responded that Soon-Yi “was an adopted child and Dylan was an adopted child.  He showed no understanding that the bonds developed between adopted brothers and sisters are no less worthy of respect and protection than those between biological siblings.”

30. “None of the witnesses who testified on Mr. Allen’s behalf provided credible evidence that he is an appropriate custodial parent…none would venture an opinion that he should be granted custody…even Mr. Allen could not provide an acceptable reason for a change in custody.”  When his own attorney asked him point blank “why are you seeking custody of your children?”, “Mr. Allen’s response was a rambling non sequitur” that “consumed eleven pages of transcript.”

31. “Mr. Allen’s deficiencies as a custodial parent are magnified by his affair with Soon-Yi…The fact that Mr. Allen ignored Soon-Yi for ten years cannot change the nature of the family constellation and does not create a distance sufficient to convert their affair into a benign relationship between two consenting adults.”

32. “Mr. Allen admits that he never considered the consequences of his behaviour with Soon-Yi…Mr. Allen still fails to understand that what he did was wrong.  Having isolated Soon-Yi from her family, he left her with no visible support system.” Justice Wilk went on to say that Allen also didn’t care how his actions affected Mia, “the Previn children for whom he cared little, or…his own children for whom he professes love.”

33. The Justice noted that Allen’s response to Dylan’s sexual abuse allegations was to “attack” Mia, “whose parenting ability and emotional stability he impugned without the support of any significant credible evidence.”  Allen’s “trial strategy” was to “separate his children from their brothers and sisters; to turn the children against their mother; to divide adopted children from biological children”; to cause dissention within Mia’s group of professional household helpers and to create additional tensions between them and the family.

34. Allen’s “self-absorption, his lack of judgment and his commitment to the continuation of his divisive assault, thereby impeding the healing of the injuries that he has already caused, warrant a careful monitoring of his future contact with the children.”

35. When Allen tried to assert in testimony that Mia preferred her biological kids over her adopted ones, Justice Wilk noted, “There is no credible evidence that she unfairly distinguished among her children or that she favoured some at the expense of others.”

36. “There is no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.  Mr. Allen’s resort to the stereotypical ‘woman scorned’ defense is an injudicious attempt to divert attention from his failure to act as a responsible parent and adult.”

37. When Mia told a shrink that she hoped Dylan was making up her abuse story, the Justice noted that this “is inconsistent with the notion of brainwashing”, which Allen asserted in testimony.  Justice Wilk found it “highly unlikely” that “Ms. Farrow would have encouraged Dylan to accuse her father of having sexually molested her during a period in which Ms. Farrow believed they were in the presence of a babysitter.” The Justice went on to say that Mia wouldn’t have allowed the Connecticut Police to question Dylan “if she did not believe the possible truth of Dylan’s accusation.”

38. Justice Wilk praised Mia’s decision to regularly allow Allen to see Satchel under proper supervision, noting that she understood “the propriety of balancing Satchel’s need for contact with his father against the danger of Mr. Allen’s lack of parental judgment.”

39. “Ms. Farrow also recognizes that Mr. Allen and not Soon-Yi is the person responsible for their affair and its impact upon her family.”

40. Justice Wilk “was not persuaded the videotape of Dylan” describing her ordeal “is the product of leading questions or of the child’s fantasy.”

41. Despite believing that “it is unlikely” Allen “could be successfully prosecuted for sexual abuse”, he wasn’t persuaded “that the evidence proves conclusively that there was no sexual abuse”.  Regarding the events of August 4, 1992, he was convinced that the “credible testimony” of Mia, Allen and two shrinks “prove that Mr. Allen’s behaviour toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”

42. Young Satchel Farrow didn’t care for Woody Allen as a young boy.  Satchel “would push him away…not acknowledge him…kick him and [scratch] his face” when his father tried putting him to bed.  He would also cry when Allen held him.  He had the opposite reaction while in Mia’s arms.  In the custody case, Allen claimed that this was because Mia made a “conscious effort to keep him apart from the child.”  However, Justice Wilk disagreed:  “Although Ms. Farrow consumed much of Satchel’s attention, and did not foster a relationship with his father, there is no credible evidence to suggest that she desired to exclude Mr. Allen.  Mr. Allen’s attention to Dylan left him with less time and patience for Satchel.”

43. While trying to get Satchel out of bed one morning in 1991, Allen in a fit of rage “grabbed Satchel’s leg” and “started to twist it” after the boy kicked him and screamed at him to leave him alone.  With Mia in the room, Allen said, “I’m going to break your fucking leg.”  Mia was able to successfully separate the two before the situation escalated much further.  Dylan later recounted the incident during her interview with the Connecticut Police.

44. Justice Wilk described Allen’s “interactions with Moses” as “superficial” and “more a response to” the boy’s “desire for a father…than an authentic effort to develop” an actual “relationship”.  In 1984, when Moses directly asked Allen if he “would be his father”, Allen “said ‘sure’ but for years did nothing to make that a reality…There is no evidence…that Mr. Allen used any of their shared areas of interest” like music and sports, to offer two examples, “as a foundation upon which to develop a deeper relationship with his son.  What little he offered…was enough to encourage Moses to dream of more, but insufficient to justify a claim for custody.”

45. Moses was so upset about Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi, he wrote down his intensely angry feelings about the betrayal in a letter he personally delivered to him.  He wrote, “…you can’t force me to live with you…You have done a horrible, unforgivable, needy, ugly, stupid thing…about seeing me for lunch, you can just forget about that…we didn’t do anything wrong…All you did is spoil the little ones, Dylan and Satchel…Every one knows not to have an affair with your son’s sister…I don’t consider you my father anymore.  It was great having a father, but you smashed that feeling and dream with a single act.  I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD TO CRUSH YOUR SON’S DREAM.”  After reading the letter, Allen decided to “wrest custody of Moses” from Mia, wrongly believing that she wrote it.  Moses confirmed to a shrink that he was the sole author.

46. “The common theme of the testimony by the mental health witnesses is that Mr. Allen has inflicted serious damage on the children and that healing is necessary.”  In light of Allen’s “serious parental inadequacies”, Justice Wilk ruled “it is clear that the best interests of the children will be served by their continued custody with Ms. Farrow.”

47. “What is clear is that Mr. Allen’s lack of judgment, insight and impulse control make normal noncustodial visitation with Dylan and Satchel too risky to the children’s well-being to be permitted at this time…It is unclear whether Mr. Allen will ever develop the insight and judgment necessary for him to relate to Dylan appropriately…she feels victimized by her father’s relationship with her sister…Mr. [Allen has a] demonstrated inability to understand the impact his words and deeds have upon the emotional well being of his children.”

48. Justice Wilk declared “that Mr. Allen will use Satchel…to gain information about Dylan and to insinuate himself into her good graces…that Mr. Allen will, if unsupervised, attempt to turn Satchel against the other members of his family.”  He was also convinced that Allen wanted Soon-Yi to be a part of the “visitation arrangement without concern” for how this would affect the children and Mia.

49. “In short, I believe Mr. Allen to be so self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive, that he should not be permitted to see Satchel without appropriate professional supervision…”

50. “Mr. Allen compounded the pain that he inflicted upon the Farrow family by bringing this frivolous petition for custody of Dylan, Satchel and Moses…Because Mr. Allen’s position had no merit, he will bear the entire financial burden of this litigation.”

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 9, 2014
2:04 a.m.

Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 2:05 am  Comments (1)  

Damning Woody Allen Details In 1993 Child Custody Decision (Part Two)

12. Allen’s relationship with Mia’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, began in 1990.  Up to that point, according to Allen himself, “She was someone who didn’t like me.  I had no interest in her, none whatsoever.  She was a quiet person who did her work.  I never spoke to her.”  That all changed when they started going to Knick games together in New York.  In the weeks that followed, Allen did something to Soon-Yi he’d never done before when visiting Mia.  He said “hello” to her.

13. Over time, the relationship between Soon-Yi and Allen grew closer, especially when she started going to college in the fall of 1991.  According to Justice Wilk, “[s]he was naïve, socially inexperienced and vulnerable.”  According to Allen, “she was lonely and unhappy at school…”.  They had daily phone conversations while she stayed with Mia on weekends.  Her frequent contacts with Allen went unmentioned to her mother.

14. It was January 13, 1992 that Mia found the six nude photographs of Soon-Yi that Allen had taken and left “on a mantelpiece” in his apartment.  “She is posed reclining on a couch with her legs spread apart.”  According to Allen, Soon-Yi had expressed an interest in modelling.  Mia angrily called Allen.  She later confronted Soon-Yi.  When she found out they were having sex, “Ms. Farrow hit her on the side of the face and on the shoulders”.  She later “told her older children what she learned.”

15. Following the tense phone call with Mia, Allen went to her apartment where he noted she was “ragingly angry” with him.  “She begged him to leave.”  But he later “came back less than an hour later” to have dinner with the kids in what Mia later testified “was a rather silent meal”.  She further noted that he acted “as if nothing had happened” while uncharacteristically conversing with her kids.  But” one by one”, five of them including Moses, “took their plates and left” the table.  Mia would exit the apartment shortly thereafter.

16. It was during this period in late 1991 that the couple “retained counsel and attempted to negotiate a settlement of their differences.”  Allen told Mia he broke it off with Soon-Yi.  He lied.  “A temporary arrangement enabled Mr. Allen to visit regularly with Dylan and Satchel but they were not permitted to visit at his residence.  In addition, Ms. Farrow asked for his assurance that he would not seek custody of Moses, Dylan or Satchel.”

17. Despite agreeing to sign a waiver in February 1992 where he would relinquish his “custodial rights to Moses, Dylan and Satchel” if Mia died before he did, he secretly signed “a second document…in which he disavowed the waiver, claiming that it was a product of duress and coercion”.  It read in part, “I have no intention of abiding by it and have been advised that it will not hold up legally and that at worst I can revoke it unilaterally at will.”

18. When Mia threw a birthday party for five-year-old Dylan in Connecticut, Allen arrived “and monopolized Dylan’s time and attention”.  On the bathroom door near the guest room where he stayed for the night, Mia posted “a note which called Mr. Allen a child molester” in “reference” to “his affair with Soon-Yi”.

19. “In the summer of 1992”, Soon-Yi kept getting calls from a “Mr. Simon” while she was a camp counsellor.  She went on to lose the paying gig.  Although she told Mia she quit, her mom later received a letter from the camp noting that she was actually fired thanks to the mysterious Mr. Simon.  As it turns out, “Mr. Simon was Woody Allen.”  Knowing that Mia would be monumentally pissed off if she knew she was at Allen’s apartment, “[s]he refused to tell Ms. Farrow where she was staying”.

20. On August 4, 1992, Allen went to see Mia and the kids in Connecticut.  Mia was out shopping with a friend when he arrived.  A babysitter was “previously instructed” to not let Allen “be left alone with Dylan”.  Unfortunately, “[f]or a period of fifteen or twenty minutes during the afternoon”, she lost track of both of them.

21. Later that same day, this same babysitter “observed Mr. Allen kneeling in front of Dylan with his head on her lap, facing her body.  Dylan was sitting on the couch staring vacantly in the direction of a television set”.  When Mia came back from her shopping trip, a friend observed “that Dylan was not wearing anything under her sundress”.

22. After the babysitter later told Mia about the TV incident, she asked Dylan “whether it was true that daddy had his face in her lap yesterday”.  According to Mia’s sworn testimony, “Dylan said yes.  And then she said she didn’t like it one bit, no, he was breathing into her, into her legs, she said.  And that he was holding her around the waist and I said, why didn’t you get up and she said she tried to but that he put his hands underneath her and touched her.  And she showed me where…her behind.”

23. Feeling that professional shrinks weren’t properly recognizing her growing worries about all of this, Mia personally recorded Dylan with a video camera describing another incident involving Allen.  “…Dylan told Ms. Farrow that she had been with Mr. Allen in the attic and that he had touched her privates with his finger”.  (This is the same incident that the adult Dylan later recounted in her 2014 New York Times blog posting.)  Mia openly hoped her daughter was making all of this up.  (“Let’s hope it is her fantasy.”)  A week after being informed of Dylan’s accusation, Allen broke his word to Mia and started his legal fight for custody.

24. Two days before the start of 1993, “Dylan was interviewed by a representative of the Connecticut State Police.”  During the interview, Dylan said that “while at Mr. Allen’s apartment” sometime in 1991 “she saw him and Soon-Yi having sex.  Her reporting was childlike but graphic.  She also told the police that Mr. Allen had pushed her face into a plate of hot spaghetti and had threatened to do it again.”

25. “…Dylan told Ms. Farrow…that in Connecticut, while she was climbing up the ladder to a bunk bed, Mr. Allen put his hands under her shorts and touched her.” As Mia later recounted on the witness stand, Dylan “was illustrating graphically where in the genital area” as her daughter was telling her the disturbing details.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 9, 2014
1:39 a.m.

Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 1:40 am  Comments (1)  

Damning Woody Allen Details In 1993 Child Custody Decision (Part One)

It’s been more than 20 years since the bitter split between Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.  But contrary to the cliché, time hasn’t healed all wounds.  In fact, the hurt is even stronger now.

When Allen won an unprestigious lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes last month (longtime friend and former ex Diane Keaton accepted in his predictable absence), his estranged son Ronan Farrow (an MSNBC broadcaster) tweeted the following the night of the broadcast:

“Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”

The seven-year-old he’s referring to is his sister Dylan Farrow, the now 28-year-old writer who was first publicly interviewed about her childhood trauma for a Vanity Fair article late last year.  Recently, however, she wrote an absolutely devastating firsthand account of what happened to her on the blog of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.  It is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read.

Since its publication online, the story has attracted major media attention and fierce debate.  (Her Vanity Fair comments were curiously ignored.)  Dylan’s words cut so deep Allen offered a pathetic, unapologetic, misleading rebuttal in the Times himselfShe responded exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now that she has officially transformed herself from a victim into an outspoken survivor hoping to inspire others to own their own harrowing, traumatic experiences publicly like she has, it’s important to know the history of this story.

There’s no better way to do so than by reading this, a June 7, 1993 New York Supreme Court decision that concluded the brutal, months-long custody battle between Allen and Mia Farrow over three of their kids.  Revealed in these 33 pages is a Woody Allen that will shock you, disappoint you and ultimately infuriate you.  Here are the most damning details:

1. In the first five years of their courtship, Allen wanted nothing to do with Mia’s children, including newborn Moses, who was adopted shortly before they started dating.  During this period, they had “virtually a single person’s relationship” as they maintained separate residences.  (Weirdly, they never cohabitated during their 12 years together.)  According to the late New York Supreme Court Justice Elliott Wilk who wrote the decision (he died in 2002), Allen viewed them as an “encumbrance.  He had no involvement with them and no interest in them.”

2. “In 1984, Ms. Farrow expressed a desire to have a child with Mr. Allen.  He resisted, fearing that a young child would reduce the time that they had available for each other.  Only after Ms. Farrow promised that the child would live with her and that Mr. Allen need not be involved with the child’s care or upbringing, did he agree.”  Justice Wilk goes on to say that Allen’s support for this was “lukewarm”.

3. After half a year of failed attempts at conception, Farrow instead adopted a newborn girl she named Dylan in 1985.  “Mr. Allen chose not to participate in the adoption and Ms. Farrow was the sole adoptive parent.”

4. “Mr. Allen’s attitude toward Dylan changed a few months after the adoption.”  He started visiting her at Mia’s apartment during “some mornings and evenings” as well as Mia’s “country home in Connecticut”.  He also “accompanied the Farrow-Previn family on extended vacations to Europe in 1987, 1988 and 1989.  He remained aloof from Ms. Farrow’s other children except for Moses, to whom he was cordial.”

5. After Mia became pregnant with son Satchel in 1986, “Mr. Allen did not touch her stomach, listen to the fetus, or try to feel it kick.”  He “had shown no interest in her pregnancy”.  According to Mia, he was also “squeamish about the delivery process” so she enlisted a friend to become her Lamaze coach.

6. Early on in her pregnancy, Mia “began to withdraw from Mr. Allen”, and after Satchel’s birth in late 1987, “she grew more distant” from him.  As she tended to her new son’s needs, Dylan got less attention from her.  As a result, “Mr. Allen began to spend more time with Dylan and to intensify his relationship with her.”

7. “During a trip to Paris, when Dylan was between two and three years old, Ms. Farrow told Mr. Allen that ‘[y]ou look at her [Dylan] in a sexual way.  You fondled her.  It’s not natural.  You’re all over her.  You don’t give her any breathing room.  You look at her when she’s naked.'”

8. Allen would spend “play-time in bed with her, by…reading to her in his bed while dressed in his undershorts, and by his permitting her to suck on his thumb”.

9. According to Mia, “Mr. Allen was overly attentive and demanding of Dylan’s time and attention.  He was aggressively affectionate, providing her with little space of her own and with no respect for the integrity of her body.” Four different witnesses, including Mia herself, “testified that Mr. Allen focused on Dylan to the exclusion of her siblings, even when Satchel and Moses were present”.

10. In 1990, in the midst of “evaluat[ing] Dylan to determine if she needed therapy”, Mia “expressed her concern to Dr. [Susan] Coates[, a clinical psychologist,] that Mr. Allen’s behaviour with Dylan was not appropriate”.  Dr. Coates later described Allen’s relationship with Dylan as “inappropriately intense because it excluded everybody else, and it placed a demand on a child for a kind of acknowledgment that I felt should not be placed on a child”.  She recommended therapy for Dylan by referring her to another psychologist (sessions began in 1991) and tried to explain to Allen herself  “that his behaviour with Dylan was inappropriate and…had to be modified”.

11. When Mia was eager to adopt another child in 1991, Allen was worried their increasingly distant relationship would result in her “discontinu[ing] his access to Dylan”.  They came to an agreement.  She would “sponsor his adoption of Dylan and Moses” while pursuing her additional adoption as planned and “he would not take Dylan for sleep-overs…unless I was there.  And that if, God forbid, anything should happen to our relationship, that he would never seek custody”.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 9, 2014
1:18 a.m.

Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 1:18 am  Comments (3)