In a surprise move, Woody Allen's memoir published on Monday, less than a month after Hachette dropped it following a firestorm of outrage

By Sam Gillette
March 24, 2020 03:55 PM
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty

In a surprise move, Woody Allen’s autobiography Apropos of Nothing published quietly on Monday, less than a month after Hachette dropped it following a firestorm of outrage.

In the 400-page overview of his life in Hollywood and a defense of his character, the filmmaker, 84, once again denies the allegations of child molestation brought against him by Dylan Farrow, his adopted daughter with actress Mia Farrow. Allen also adamantly defends his romance with one of the actress’ other adopted daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, 49. The two have been married for more than two decades.

“I adored Soon-Yi, and despite the huge amount of flack I got for pursuing her, it was worth every second of it,” Allen writes in his memoir, which was published by Arcade Publishing. “Sometimes, when the going got rough and I was maligned everywhere, I was asked if I had known the outcome, do I ever wish I never took up with Soon-Yi? I always answered I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

In Apropos of Nothing, Allen says that his romance with Previn has been one of the happiest times of his life — though they didn’t like each other when she was a child.

RELATED: Woody Allen Says He’d ‘Welcome’ Daughter Dylan Farrow ‘with Open Arms’ After Molestation Accusations

“Soon-Yi and I had no interest in knowing about each other,” Allen writes of their relationship when Previn was a kid. “I thought she was a quiet, boring kid, and she thought I was her mom’s patsy. All that was missing was a ring through my nose.”

After they attended a basketball game together, he writes, a friendship began. It took “a long, long time to move from square one to this mutual caring, but it would happen and surprise us both,” Allen says.

Previn was 21 and visiting from college when Allen kissed her.

RELATED VIDEO: Woody Allen Responds to Dylan Farrow Interview Where She Claims ‘He’s Been Lying for So Long’

According to the book, Previn told him, “I was wondering when you were going to make a move.”

In a 2018 interview with New York Magazine, Previn discussed her relationship with Allen and pushed back against Dylan’s molestation accusations. She also detailed alleged mistreatment by Mia when she was in her care, claiming she couldn’t “come up with a pleasant memory” of their time together. (A Farrow family spokesperson denied Previn’s allegations of physical abuse and neglect.)

For years, Dylan has defended her mother against Allen’s claim that her mother coached her to make a false molestation allegation.

“Woody Allen molested me when I was seven years old, part of a documented pattern of inappropriate, abusive touching that led a judge to say there was no evidence I was coached and that it was unsafe for me to be in Woody Allen’s presence,” Dylan wrote in a statement in response to Previn’s New York Magazine interview. “The author has written about her friendship and infatuation with Woody Allen. The idea of letting a friend of an alleged predator write a one-sided piece attacking the credibility of his victim is disgusting.”

While neither Allen or Previn thought their romance would become serious, that all changed when Mia discovered erotic photos of her daughter and Allen in his apartment.

“Of course I understand her shock, her dismay, her rage, everything,” Allen writes of Mia’s furious response. “It was the correct reaction.”

Allen’s relationship with Previn got more serious after they were discovered and the molestation accusations were brought forward, according to his book and Previn’s New York Magazine interview.

“It only became a relationship really when we were thrown together because of the molestation charge,” Previn told the magazine.

Apropos of Nothing is part a filmmaker’s reminiscing and part an attack on Farrow and her associates. Allen claims Mia was the originator of the molestation accusations and turned both Dylan and their biological son Ronan (named Satchel at birth) against him after Mia discovered his romance with Previn.

In an excerpt from her 1997 memoir What Falls Away, Farrow described in detail the behavior she claims Allen demonstrated toward Dylan.

“Woody’s behavior with Dylan was getting worse. ‘Obsessed’ was the word most frequently used by my family and friends. He whispered her awake, 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 wrote. “He brought her into bed when he was wearing only his underpants. Twice, I made him take his thumb out of her mouth.”

In late 2017, Allen faced resurfaced allegations of child molestation by Dylan, who claimed in a New York Times open letter in 2014 that Allen molested her as a child. Allen has long denied the allegations, which were first reported during his explosive 1992 split from Mia. The director was not charged, though a Connecticut prosecutor said there was probable cause for a criminal case. Beyond Dylan and Ronan, Allen also also shares adopted son Moses with the actress. The three children were in the center of a 1993 custody battle in which both sides testified about Allen’s affair with Previn, whom Allen went on to marry in 1997. Farrow was awarded custody of her and Allen’s three children. Moses supported Allen in 2014, defending him against Dylan’s claims.

RELATED: Woody Allen’s Controversial Memoir Dropped by Publisher Amid Protests

Even before the book’s contents were known, both Dylan and Ronan —one of the lead journalists whose reporting helped bring down Harvey Weinstein and reignited the #MeToo movement — condemned Hachette’s initial decision to publish Allen’s book.

Arcade Publishing

“Hachette’s publishing of Woody Allen’s memoir is deeply unsettling to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother whose brave reporting, capitalized on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men,” Dylan wrote in statement.

“For the record, I was never contacted by any fact checkers to verify the information in this memoir, demonstrating an egregious abdication of Hachette’s most basic responsibility,” she added, a reference to her brother’s 2019 book Catch and Kill, which was published by Hachette.

In his own statement, Ronan wrote that he “was disappointed to learn” about the news and claimed that Hachette “concealed the decision from me and its own employees while we were working on Catch and Kill — a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability for sexual abuse.”

“The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one,” said Hachette in a statement. “We take our relationships with authors very seriously and do not cancel books lightly. We have published and will continue to publish many challenging books.”

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