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Soon-Yi Previn speaks out about claims against Woody Allen, abuse by Mia Farrow and #MeToo

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Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen’s wife of 20 years and Mia Farrow’s adoptive daughter, has broken her silence in a lengthy and explosive interview with New York magazine. 
The interview, conducted by Daphne Merkin, who acknowledges in the story that she’s been a friend of Allen’s for more than 40 years, details what Previn, 47, describes as an abusive childhood, explains how her relationship with Allen began and addresses allegations that Allen molested adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.
“What’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust,” Previn tells the magazine. Mia "has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t.”
Merkin has previously written of her admiration for Allen in her 2014 book "The Fame Lunches," a collection of essays.
Previn married Allen, who is 35 years her elder, in 1997. She was brought to the United States from South Korea by Farrow and her then-husband Andre Previn in 1977 and adopted.
Mia and Dylan Farrow aren't quoted in the story. Nor is Ronan Farrow, whose investigative reports in the New Yorker uncovered allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, setting the #MeToo movement into motion.
The Farrow family denounced the report in statements sent to USA TODAY by their representative, Chris Bastardi. 
Dylan Farrow, who says she was contacted by New York magazine, criticized the report for "multiple obvious falsehoods."
"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," her statement says in part. "The idea of letting a friend of an alleged predator write a one-sided piece attacking the credibility of his victim is disgusting."
"None of us ever witnessed anything other than compassionate treatment in our home," says a statement from seven of Farrow's children, including Ronan. "We reject any effort to deflect from Dylan's allegation by trying to vilify our mom. 
Ronan Farrow described the story as "a hit job," writing that "survivors of abuse deserve better."
"As a brother and a son, I'm angry that New York Magazine would participate in this kind of a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen's," he wrote. "As a journalist, I'm shocked by the lack of care for the facts, the refusal to include eyewitness testimony that would contradict falsehoods in this piece, and the failure to print my sister's responses."
USA TODAY has reached out to Mia Farrow's representative for comment.
Among the report's key allegations:
► Soon-Yi didn’t like Mia from the start:“I remember the second I laid eyes on her,” Previn says. “There was a big excitement and hoopla around her. And she came to me and she threw her arms around me to give me a big hug. I’m standing there rigidly, thinking, Who is this woman, and can she get her hands off of me? She didn’t ring true or sincere.”
►  Farrow once asked her to describe on tape how she’d been born to a prostitute who beat her. Previn, who says she ran away from her biological mother to escape poverty, refused.
► Her adoptive mother thought she was “hopelessly backward” and would “arbitrarily (show) her power,” by slapping Soon-Yi, spanking her with a hairbrush or calling her “stupid” and “moronic.” Once, Farrow threw a porcelain rabbit at Soon-Yi, smashing it to pieces and startling both of them. “I could see from the expression on her face that she felt she had gone too far. Because it could have really hurt me.”
► Previn says she has a learning disability she's never spoken about, "because Mia drummed it into me to be ashamed about it. ... She would also tip me upside down, holding me by my feet, to get the blood to drain to my head. Because she thought – or she read it, God knows where she came up with the notion – that blood going to my head would make me smarter or something.” 
► Previn describes a “hierarchy” among Farrow’s children. “She didn’t try to hide it,” Soon-Yi says. “Mia always valued intelligence and also looks, blond hair and blue eyes.” She claims she and her adopted sisters were used as domestic help. “We did the grocery shopping, starting in third grade, for the entire family,” Soon-Yi says. “We cleaned the bathrooms, cleared the dishes, washed up, and did the sweeping.”
► She says she she hated Allen on sight. “I didn’t understand why anyone could be with such a nasty, mean person (as Mia). I thought he must be the same way.” 
► Previn describes the start of her relationship with Allen as happening over an Ingmar Bergman movie. "We were like two magnets, very attracted to each other.”

► She says she didn’t pursue Allen. “Where would I get the nerve? He pursued me.” So why did she betray her mother? “Mia was never kind to me, never civil. And here was a chance for someone showing me affection and being nice to me, so of course I was thrilled and ran for it.”
She “regrets” that Farrow found naked Polaroids in early 1992 that Allen shot of her. “I think it would have been horrible for her,” Previn says. It was a "huge betrayal on both our parts, a terrible thing to do, a terrible shock to inflict on her.”
When Farrow confronted her about the relationship, “I – survival instinct – denied it. And then she said, ‘I have photos.’ So I knew I was trapped. Of course, she slapped me, you know the way of things. And then she called everyone. She didn’t contain the situation; she just spread it like wildfire.”
► Shortly after finding the Polaroids, the report says, Farrow sent Allen a Valentine's Day collage, a heart upon which she'd pasted a family photo. She stuck skewers and a real knife through the hearts of everyone in the picture. 
Allen’s sister, Letty Aronson, quotes Farrow as subsequently telling her, “He took my daughter, I’m going to take his.”
“I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous. (Dylan) loves Woody. A child should have a father,’ “ Aronson told Merkin. “She said, ‘I don’t care.’ ”
New York Magazine spokesperson Lauren Starke defended the story, telling The Hollywood Reporter: "This is a story about Soon-Yi Previn, and puts forward her perspective on what happened in her family. We believe she is entitled to be heard. Daphne Merkin’s relationship to Woody Allen is disclosed and is a part of the story, as is Soon-Yi’s reason for speaking out now. We hope people will read it for themselves."
Contributing: Bryan Alexander and Susan Haas

Soon-Yi Previn Speaks Out for the First Time on Woody Allen and Mia Farrow


After years of relative silence, Woody Allen's wife, Soon-Yi Previn, is addressing the controversy surrounding the filmmaker, his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow and his ex-partner Mia Farrow, in a lengthy new profile.
In the profile, published by New York Magazine's website Vulture, Previn staunchly defended her husband and slammed Mia for allegedly manipulating the #MeToo movement to defame her former partner, and accused her former adoptive mother of physical and emotional abuse.
"I was never interested in writing a Mommie Dearest, getting even with Mia — none of that," Previn said in the profile. "But what’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t."
In Feb. 2014, Dylan penned an open letter published on The New York Timesblog accusing her father of sexually assaulting her at the family's home when she was seven. According to the accusations, the alleged assault took place on Aug. 4, 1992. 
An investigation into the allegations was launched in 1993, and no charges were brought against the filmmaker. Allen has staunchly denied all allegations of wrongdoing and said in an interview with The Guardian in 2016 that he has "no interest" in discussing the claims.
However, Allen did join Previn for a portion of her profile and opened up about the impact the allegations had on his career.
"I am a pariah," Allen said. "People think that I was Soon-Yi’s father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter."
The two are married to this day. Despite common misconception, Allen was never Previn's adopted father -- that was Mia's second husband, Andre Previn -- and it is believed the two began their relationship after Soon-Yi was an adult.
Allen's romantic relationship with Previn reportedly began when she was around 20. However, the filmmaker first began dating her adoptive mother when Previn was 10. They began their physical relationship while Allen was still involved with Mia.
According to Previn, she disliked Allen when she first met him as a child.
“Woody wasn’t interested in meeting us children. And the feeling was mutual; we weren’t interested in meeting him. I hated him because he was with my mother, and I didn’t understand why anyone could be with such a nasty, mean person. I thought he must be the same way," Previn claimed.
Previn's accusations toward Mia are varied, but she claims the controversial actress -- who is the mother of four biological children and seven adopted children -- was emotionally manipulative and physically abusive.
“Mia wasn’t maternal to me from the get-go," Previn claimed, alleging that she had a "hierarchy" in her house among her children. "Mia always valued intelligence and also looks, blond hair and blue eyes."
Previn also opened up about having "a little learning disability" but that she doesn't talk about it, claiming, "Mia drummed it into me to be ashamed about it."
“Mia used to write words on my arm, which was humiliating, so I’d always wear long-sleeved shirts. She would also tip me upside down, holding me by my feet, to get the blood to drain to my head. Because she thought… that blood going to my head would make me smarter or something," Previn stated in the profile.
She also claimed that Mia would try to "arbitrarily show her power" and claimed to have gotten hit and slapped while being called derogatory names, insulting her intelligence.
In January 1992, Mia reportedly found a box of nude photos of Previn at Allen's home, leading to their high-profile and contentious break-up. 
"I remember the phone call when she found the photos," Previn said. "I picked up the phone and Mia said, ‘Soon-Yi.’ That’s all she needed to say, in that chilling tone of voice. I knew my life was over and that she knew, just by the way she said my name. When she came home, she asked me about it, and I — survival instinct — denied it. And then she said, ‘I have photos.’ So I knew I was trapped."
"Of course, she slapped me, you know the way of things," Previn claimed. "And then she called everyone. She didn’t contain the situation; she just spread it like wildfire, and then she was screaming at Woody when he came over. Meanwhile, Dylan and [Ronan] are living under her roof and they are very small, 6 and 4 years old. They hear their mother going crazy, screaming in the middle of the night for hours."
Previn's alleged account, and her allegations against Mia, echo claims previously presented by one of Mia's other adopted children, Moses Farrow, who penned a scathing editorial titled "A Son Speaks Out." Posted to his own personal website back in May, Moses made similar claims regarding mental and physical abuse at the hands of his adoptive mother.
In stark contrast to the story presented by Previn, Dylan released a statement in response to the Vulture profile, calling the allegations that she was manipulated by her mother "offensive" and said that she "grew up in a wonderful home."
She also called into question the reliability and journalistic ethics of the author of the profile, Daphne Merkin, who repeated several times throughout the article that she is friends with Allen, and has had a long, personal history with the filmmaker.
"The author has written 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," Dylan wrote in her official statement posted to Twitter, in which she reiterates her accusations against Allen and defended her mom.

Soon-Yi Previn Breaks Silence on Woody Allen Sexual Assault Claims, Alleges Years of Abuse by Mia Farrow

"But what's happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn't."

Soon-Yi Previn, wife of filmmaker Woody Allen, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding her husband and his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow and ex-partner Mia Farrow in a story publishedonline Sunday on New York Magazine's website Vulture.
"I was never interested in writing a Mommie Dearest, getting even with Mia — none of that," Previn said in the story. "But what's happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn't."
Dylan told Vulture in a statement that any implication she was manipulated by mom Mia was "offensive."
"This only serves to revictimize me," Dylan said. "Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home."
Dylan's brother Ronan, one of her strongest supporters, issued the following statement in response to the story: "I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow. She is a devoted mom who went through hell for her family all while creating a loving home for us. But that has never stopped Woody Allen and his allies from planting stories that attack and vilify my mother to deflect from my sister’s credible allegation of abuse. As a brother and a son, I’m angry that New York Magazinewould participate in this kind of a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen’s. As a journalist, I’m shocked by the lack of care for the facts, the refusal to include eyewitness testimony that would contradict falsehoods in this piece, and the failure to include my sister’s complete responses. Survivors of abuse deserve better."
The Vulture story was written by Daphne Merkin, who notes in the piece that she's been friends with Allen for more than 40 years. An online search yields several stories detailing her close relationship with the filmmaker over the years, noting on her website that her first fan letter was from Allen, telling the New York Times that he once offered her his therapist and telling the New York Post that they "share our Holocaust books." She also gushes over Allen in her book The Fame Lunches, noting that she wrote him a letter in her early 20s and that "I had fixed on [Allen] as my alter ego" and that "he was the perfect non-celebrity for a non-groupie like me."
Dylan also tweeted out a lengthy statement in response to the story:
New York Magazine spokesperson Lauren Starke defended the story earlier in the day, saying: "Soon-Yi Previn is telling her story for the first time, and we hope people will withhold judgment until they have read the feature. Daphne Merkin’s relationship to Woody Allen is disclosed and is a part of the story, as is Soon-Yi’s reason for speaking out now. I would add that Daphne approached Soon-Yi about doing this piece, not vice-versa. We reached out to both Mia and Dylan Farrow for comment; Dylan chose to speak through her representative. The story is transparent about being told from Soon-Yi’s point of view."
Later Sunday, Starke added: "This is a story about Soon-Yi Previn, and puts forward her perspective on what happened in her family. We believe she is entitled to be heard. Daphne Merkin’s relationship to Woody Allen is disclosed and is a part of the story, as is Soon-Yi’s reason for speaking out now. We hope people will read it for themselves."
In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in December, Dylan accused Allen of sexually molesting her as a child. Allen has denied those claims and an investigation in 1993 found that he had not sexually assaulted her. But at a 1993 custody ruling, a judge said that while "we will probably never know what occurred on August 4, 1992 ... Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and ... measures must be taken to protect her.” Dylan was removed from Allen's custody.
In May, Allen's adoptive son Moses defended Allen against Dylan's allegations and claimed their mother, Mia, was physically and emotionally abusive. Previn has also claimed that Mia was abusive.
Dylan's brother Ronan then came to his mom Mia's defense on social media, writing: "Not worth saying much to dignify the repeated campaign to discredit my sister, often by attacking our mother. This happens every time Dylan speaks, so this is all I’ll offer: My mother did an extraordinary job raising us, and none of my siblings with whom I’ve spoken ever witnessed anything but love and care from a single mom who went through hell to keep her kids safe."
Allen and many other of his family supporters claim that Mia manipulated Dylan into making false sexual assault allegations as payback.
Previn, who was adopted by Farrow and then-husband Andre Previn in 1978, began a romantic relationship with Allen in 1991. At the time, Allen was still in a long-term relationship with Farrow. Soon-Yi and Allen later married in 1997.
"I am a pariah," Allen told Vulture. "People think that I was Soon-Yi's father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter." He added that the couple's contribution to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign was returned.
Previn went into depth about her relationship with Allen and history with Mia in the Vulture story.
Previn claims that she and Mia were "like oil and water" from the beginning. "Mia wasn't maternal to me from the get-go," she said.
She claimed that Mia's first attempt at bathing Previn didn't go well.
"I'd never taken a bath by myself, because in the orphanage it was a big tub and we all got in it," Previn said. "Here, it was for a single person, and I was scared to get in the water by myself. So instead of doing what you would do with an infant — you know, maybe get into the water, put some toys in, put your arm in to show that you're fine, it's not dangerous — she just kind of threw me in."
She also claimed there was a "hierarchy" among Mia's children: "She didn't try to hide it, and Fletcher was the star, the golden child. Mia always valued intelligence and also looks, blond hair and blue eyes."
Previn alleged that Mia tried teaching her the alphabet and got impatient to the point of throwing wooden blocks "at me or down on the floor. Who can learn under that pressure?"
Previn also claimed that Mia would write words on her arm to help her learn them or "tip me upside down, holding me by my feet, to get the blood to drain to my head. Because she thought — or she read it, God knows where she came up with the notion — that blood going to my head would make me smarter or something."
Previn also alleged that Mia would slap her face, spank her with a hairbrush, throw objects at her and call her "stupid" and "moronic." She also said that she and her adopted sisters were treated like "domestics," doing the grocery shopping, cleaning, ironing and other chores.
Asked if she has any positive memories of living with Mia, Previn said: "It seems hard to imagine, but I really can't come up with one."
Previn also goes into detail on how she began her relationship with Allen, noting that they were both consenting adults (she was 21).
She said she never thought of Allen as a father figure — Andre served that purpose, in her mind — and actually thought he was a "major loser" due to the fact that Mia proposed marriage just weeks after they began dating and then two weeks later told him she wanted to have a child with him.
The two first interacted in a friendly capacity when she broke her ankle in 11th grade and he was helpful in taking care of her. But it wasn't until she was a freshman at college that they began their affair.
"We talked quite a bit," she explained, "and to the best of my memory I came in from college on some holiday and he showed me a Bergman movie, which I believe was The Seventh Seal, but I'm not positive. We chatted about it, and I must have been impressive because he kissed me and I think that started it. We were like two magnets, very attracted to each other."
She added: "I wasn't the one who went after Woody — where would I get the nerve? He pursued me. That's why the relationship has worked: I felt valued. It's quite flattering for me. He's usually a meek person, and he took a big leap."
Mia eventually learned of their affair when she found nude photos of Previn.
"I remember the phone call when she found the photos," Previn said. "I picked up the phone and Mia said, 'Soon-Yi.' That's all she needed to say, in that chilling tone of voice. I knew my life was over and that she knew, just by the way she said my name. When she came home, she asked me about it, and I — survival instinct — denied it. And then she said, 'I have photos.' So I knew I was trapped. Of course, she slapped me, you know the way of things. And then she called everyone. She didn't contain the situation; she just spread it like wildfire, and then she was screaming at Woody when he came over. Meanwhile, Dylan and Satchel [Ronan] are living under her roof and they are very small, 6 and 4 years old. They hear their mother going crazy, screaming in the middle of the night for hours."
Previn and Allen claimed that Mia was claiming that Previn was threatening suicide, which Previn said was a lie.
Allen's sister, Letty Aronson, claimed to Vulture that Mia told her around the time that she discovered Allen and Previn were having an affair: "'He took my daughter, I'm going to take his.' I said, 'Don't be ridiculous. [Dylan] loves Woody. A child should have a father.' She said, 'I don't care.'"
Meanwhile, Dylan late Sunday tweeted a statement on behalf of her and several of her siblings defending and standing behind Mia:
I'm grateful to my siblings for standing by me and my mother. Statement from Matthew Previn, Sascha Previn, Fletcher Previn, Daisy Previn, Ronan Farrow, Isaiah Farrow, and Quincy Farrow:
Mia is not quoted in the story, and Andre declined comment.
The Allen sexual assault scandal heated up after The Hollywood Reporter published a cover story on Allen in May 2016 and gained steam amid the #MeToo movement late last year. After THR posted its cover story, Dylan's brother Ronan Farrow wrote about the scandal for THR and the media's lack of attention to it.
Ronan went on to publish exposés of Harvey Weinstein and Leslie Moonves, alleging histories of sexual harassment and assault, leading to both executives' ousters.
Meanwhile, Allen also addressed rumors in the Vulture story that Ronan is the son of Mia's ex-husband Frank Sinatra, something Mia has not confirmed or denied. "In my opinion, he’s my child," Allen said. "I think he is, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I paid for child support for him for his whole childhood, and I don’t think that’s very fair if he’s not mine. Also she represented herself as a faithful person, and she certainly wasn’t. Whether she actually became pregnant in an affair she had ..."
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