Woody Allen says 'well-meaning but foolish' actors who now denounce him are 'persecuting a perfectly innocent person and they're enabling this lie'

Erin Donnelly
·4-min read
Woody Allen maintains his innocence against molestation allegations in a rare interview with CBS. (Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)
Woody Allen maintains his innocence against molestation allegations in a rare interview with CBS. (Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Woody Allen says actors who have distanced themselves from his films — a list which includes the likes of Colin Firth, Kate Winslet and Timothée Chalamet — are "well-meaning but foolish." 

"All they're doing is, they're persecuting a perfectly innocent person and they're enabling this lie," the 85-year-old director says in a rare interview with CBS Sunday Morning's Lee Cowan taped in July 2020 at Allen's Manhattan home. The televised interview, billed as the first that Allen has given for U.S. audiences in nearly 30 years, aired this Sunday as a CBS exclusive on Paramount Plus alongside a 2018 Gayle King interview with his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow

The interview's airing comes two weeks after the conclusion of the four-part HBO Max docuseries Allen v. Farrow, which covered allegations that Allen molested then-7-year-old Dylan in 1992 amid a heated custody battle with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. Allen and Farrow, who starred in 13 of his films, split after she discovered his relationship with her then-21-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, to whom Allen has been married since 1997. 

Allen and Previn have called the series a "hatchet job riddled with falsehoods," so it's little surprise that the filmmaker maintains his innocence in the face of Dylan's claims. 

"There was no logic to it on the face of it," he tells Cowan, who admitted to viewers at the top of the show that CBS had been torn over whether or not to run the interview. "Why would a guy who's 57 years old... I never was accused of anything in my life, I'm suddenly going to drive up a contentious custody fight?" he stammered. "Mia's country home, a 7-year-old girl... I didn't think it required any investigation even."

He continued, "It's so preposterous, and yet the smear has remained and they still prefer to cling to, if not the notion that I molested Dylan, the possibility that I molested her. Nothing that I ever did with women in my life could be misconstrued as that."

Though he hasn't seen her since the allegations went public, Allen told Cowan he'd like to speak with a now-35 -year-old Dylan about her memories of being molested. Allen added that he believes his adopted daughter believes the claims against him — presumably suggesting that she's been misled. 

"I believe that she thinks it," he shared. "She was a good kid and I believe that she thinks it. I do not believe that she's making it up. I don't believe she's lying. I believe she believes that."

The Oscar winner also defended his marriage to Soon-Yi — which he called "the deepest relationship of my life" — which sparked controversy but because of their 35-year age difference as well as her connection to his then-longtime girlfriend, Farrow. 

"I would say, the many women I've dated in my life — many women — they were all what the appropriate police would call appropriate, age appropriate," he said. "Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, [second wife] Louise Lasser, my first wife... until Soon-Yi, which is unusual for me.

"If you had told me that I was going to wind up married — happily married — to an Asian woman, much younger than me, not in show business, I would have said, 'Well, the odds of that are very slim. I don't think you're going to be right.' But that's what happened."

Calling his relationship with Soon-Yi "the most natural thing in the world," he explained why it "didn't me pause" that he was seeing his girlfriend's adopted daughter. 

"I never slept at Mia's house in all the years I went out with her," Allen told Cowan. "We had a relationship but there was never gonna be a marital relationship... It got to be a relationship of convenience after a while."

He did acknowledge that "the last thing in the world that anybody wanted was to hurt anybody's feelings. What we wanted to do was to eventually make it known that we had a relationship."

Farrow finding nude photos of her daughter meant that "it got known before we were ready to make it known," however. 

He pointed to his family life with Soon-Yi, with whom he shares two adopted daughters now in their 20s, as proof of his innocence.

"They don't give two baby girls to someone they think is a pedophile," he said.

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