Everything to Know About the Drama Surrounding Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen
The internet is bursting with cheers and jeers aimed at a recent interview with Woody Allen’s wife of more than 20 years, Soon-Yi Previn. Here’s everything you need to know about the controversial piece and how it came to be.
More than 25 years ago, Woody Allen began his legacy as one of Hollywood’s most controversial figures when news of his relationship with 21-year-old Soon-Yi, the adopted daughter of Allen’s former girlfriend, Mia Farrow, went public. Allen, 35 years Previn’s senior, was painted as a corrupting influence over the young and purportedly naïve college student, a notion that was bolstered by Farrow’s claims that the director had molested their then 7-year-old daughter Dylan.
In the quarter decade since, Allen’s career has continued to thrive — the Hannah and Her Sisters writer and director has netted 8 Oscar nominations and one win in the years since the scandal first erupted, garnering praise from a bevy of A-list collaborators, including Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, and Blake Lively.
Despite Allen’s string of professional successes, the whispers of his personal misdoings were never far from the public fore. Accusations and criticisms were continually levied by the Farrows, including Mia, Dylan, and Allen’s journalist son Ronan (who was at the forefront of the #MeToo movement as one of the leaders of the various investigative reports about Harvey Weinstein). Bathing the scandal in an enduring shade of gray, Farrow and Allen’s adopted son Moses recently wrote a blog post advocating for his father and refuting claims made by his siblings and mother.
The one member of the family to stay silent in the decades of feuding to come is — or rather, was — Soon-Yi. In a profile written by New York Magazine contributor Daphne Merkin, Previn has finally delivered her long-awaited take.
Soon-Yi’s biggest bombshell:
Throughout the interview, which published over the weekend, Soon-Yi maintains that Farrow was emotionally and physically distant and abusive, citing moments her mother called her “stupid” or threw things at her (a porcelain rabbit, alphabet blocks). “It’s hard for someone to imagine, but I really can’t come up with a pleasant memory,” Previn said of her childhood with Farrow.
Why it's controversial:
Though the whole ordeal is an inception-like nesting doll of controversy, the interview itself is receiving criticism due to the bias of its reporter, a longtime friend of Allen.
However, this isn’t Merkin’s first brush with public outcry. As the #MeToo movement reached its height in January, Merkin wrote a highly divisive New York Times op-ed criticizing the movement. “I suspect, many of us, including many longstanding feminists, will be rolling our eyes, having had it with the reflexive and unnuanced sense of outrage that has accompanied this cause from its inception, turning a bona fide moment of moral accountability into a series of ad hoc and sometimes unproven accusations,” Merkin wrote of the Time’s Up-backed spectacle that would play out at the Golden Globes in the coming weeks.
What the Farrows are saying:
Unsurprisingly, Soon-Yi’s claims were met with a swift rebuttal from both Dylan and Ronan Farrow.
“Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home, filled with love, that she created,” Dylan shared in a statement on Twitter. “I have a message for the media and allies of Woody Allen: no one is ‘parading me around as a victim’ - I continue to be an adult woman making a credible allegation unchanged for two decades, backed up by evidence.”
“I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow,” Ronan began his respective response. “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,” Farrow continued. “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. Survivors of abuse deserve better.”