Director Woody Allen won the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement in film at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards, but not everyone was impressed by the distinction — most notably not Allen’s estranged ex-partner, Mia Farrow, and son Ronan Farrow.
Unbeknownst to many young viewers, however, the tweets were far more than run-of-the-mill shade: 20 years ago, the Allen/Farrow scandal was the tabloid sensation of its time, and a major stain on Allen’s (still contested) legacy. Farrow has 14 children, the majority of them at-risk kids who were adopted from low-income countries. In the early-’90s, Farrow discovered pornographic pictures of one of her adopted daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, in Allen’s apartment. Shortly after, one of Farrow’s other daughters, 7-year-old Dylan, accused adopted father Allen of molesting her. The case drew on for years, and Allen was never convicted. (He denies doing anything wrong, and has accused Farrow of inventing the abuse and as an attempt to blackmail him.) He did, however, leave Farrow — and marry her daughter, Soon-Yi, who no longer speaks to her family. The opening to a 1992 Newsday profile of the couple gives a sense of the drama involved:
On Valentine’s Day, the embattled ex-lovers exchanged gifts. In the kitchen of Mia Farrow’s Central Park West apartment Woody Allen gave her an embroidered heart and a red satin box of chocolates. She looked at him, friends of Allen say, with a gentle, almost kindly glance and handed him a slim box, neatly wrapped … Inside lay an ornate Victorian Valentine meticulously adorned with a photograph of Farrow and her children in the center. The picture included the three children she and Allen share, as well as Soon-Yi. Farrow had stuck steel turkey skewers through the hearts of the children and she had carefully slid a steak knife into her own heart, according to Allen’s friends.
While Allen was never convicted, many of his critics — including his son, MSNBC host Ronan Farrow — consider his Golden Globes honor an insult to sexual abuse victims.
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?
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 13, 2014
It’s perhaps best that Allen, who is “not an awards person,” neglected to show up to collect his award; his longtime friend and collaborator Diane Keaton awkwardly accepted it on his behalf.