Woody Allen's representatives have denied sexual abuse allegations made against the filmmaker by his estranged adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in a New York Times article. Farrow, who was adopted by Allen and his ex-wife Mia Farrow, has broken her silence for the first time since she accused the acclaimed director of abuse in 1992. In her shocking new online piece, which was published on Saturday (01Feb14) as part of family friend Nicholas Kristof's blog, she gave a detailed account of the alleged abuse that took place in Connecticut when she was seven years old.
Farrow wrote, "For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn't like.
"These things happened so often, so routinely, (they were) so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal."
She added, "(It was) far worse than people know. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself."
Following the breakdown of his relationship with Mia Farrow in 1992, the abuse allegations were made during a subsequent custody battle. Police investigated the alleged incident, but lawmakers opted not to pursue charges because Dylan was ruled too "fragile" to face a trial. Allen has always maintained his innocence.
The matter reared up again last month (Jan14), after Allen was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globe Awards. His estranged son Ronan raised the allegations while poking fun at his father's tribute.
Representatives for Allen have now responded to Dylan's accusations, insisting they are not true.
A statement from Allen's attorney Elkan Abramowitz reads, "It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces after it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities. The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen.
His publicist Leslee Dart, adds, "Mr. Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful. He will be responding very soon.
"At the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court appointed independent experts. The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation; that Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality... No charges were ever filed."
On Sunday (02Feb14), a day after the column was published, Kristof told People magazine that Dylan felt "really heartened by the response and support she's getting".
He added, "She was nervous about what the reaction would be to an essay so personal, but she put herself out there... She sends a big thank you to all those speaking up about sexual abuse and trying to break the silence.
"She has been traumatised for more than two decades by what took place."
Kristof reveals Dylan was belatedly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder just last year (13) and when she heard of the Golden Globes tribute to Allen, she "curled up in a ball on her bed, crying hysterically."
Now 28, Dylan Farrow is married and living in Florida under an assumed name.
Allen and Farrow split when it was revealed he was having an affair with the actress' adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. The pair married in 1997 and has two children.
Meanwhile, the stars of the filmmaker's latest movie Blue Jasmine, who were mentioned in Dylan's open letter, have opened up about the drama - speaking at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California on Saturday night (01Feb14), Cate Blanchett said, "It's obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace."
Her co-star Alec Baldwin took to Twitter to respond to followers' questions about the column, writing, "What the f**k is wrong w (with) u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?"
He added, "So you know who's guilty? Who's lying? You, personally, know that? You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family's issue."
Among the celebrities offering Dylan Farrow support is actress Lena Dunham, who tweeted: "To share in this way is courageous, powerful and generous."
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
The Tron: Legacy star has interviewed female entrepreneurs and toured the Kibera School for Girls in the run-down slums of Nairobi for TV documentary Half the Sky, which she is shooting with writer Nicholas D. Kristof.
The actress also met with women working at the Jamii Bora organisation, which seeks to eliminate poverty through microfinancing, and admits she was inspired by the visit.
In a post on her Twitter.com page, she writes, "Spent the day in Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, with the strong women of the Jamii Bora micro financing org. My mind is officially blown."
Actresses Diane Lane, America Ferrera and Nicole Kidman are also filming installments for the Half the Sky documentary.
The actress visited the red-light district in Calcutta to shoot upcoming U.S. TV documentary Half the Sky, based on Nicholas D. Kristof's book of the same name.
Ferrera visited a local school and met with officials at the New Light charity, who work to provide education and protection for women and children at high risk.
Kristof, who accompanied Ferrera, says, "America (met) with a terrific 10-year-old girl who has studied English with the help of New Light and wants to be a doctor. Most of the girls in the area get little or no education and follow their mothers into prostitution. America was terrific to work with on the (TV network) PBS version of Half the Sky."
Washington, whose son Malcolm attends the prestigious Ivy League college, will deliver the commencement address and also receive an honorary degree.
Author Joyce Carol Oates and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof are among several others who will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony on 16 May (11).
Producers of the short film, Woineshet, asked Tomei if she'd like to take charge of the project at the last minute after the original director pulled out.
The actress took a huge leap of faith and found herself in Africa days later, interviewing Woineshet Zebene - the subject of the film - and casting local actors.
Tomei tells WENN, "It was a narrative 15-minute short that just kind of came up, spur of the moment... Someone else was supposed to direct it and they dropped out at the last minute, and I happen to know the people who are producing and they were like, 'Do you want to go to Africa on Tuesday and make your directorial debut?'
"I was like, 'Can I bring Lisa Leone', my dear friend who is a cinematographer and who also directed her own shorts? We co-directed and we went to Ethiopia and we met Woineshet.
"She was kidnapped and raped when she was 13 and then fought to change the laws in the whole country. Now she's 21 and, in less than 10 years, she has taken on a codified patriarchal system and made it different for everybody in the whole country. It's a piece of her story."
Tomei admits she's glad the project just happened - because if she'd had time to think about it, she would probably have turned it down.
She adds, "It was quite a crazy thing and I think I only could've done it spontaneously. I mean it's (film) in another language, which I don't speak, and I got there and had to cast within days with no script. This wasn't even the movie they were going to do.
"When I got there Woineshet had just gotten the head of the whole African conglomeration's personal phone number and was calling him and insisting he speak with her to make further changes. It was such a humbling experience and I'm grateful to her for what she's done for everybody and to see that perseverance. If I'm asked, I would do it again."
Tomei and Leone's short film will debut on public broadcast television in America later this year (10) as part of a series of movies based on New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof and his partner Sheryl Wudunn's book Half The Sky, which chronicles injustices in the Third World.
The Oscar winner and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador agreed to front the hard-hitting film after being moved by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof's stories about the death, mutilation and despicable discrimination against young women and teenagers in the world's poorest places.
In the video, shot by Kristof and aired on Oprah Winfrey's talk show on Tuesday (01Dec09), Jolie, whose adopted son Maddox is Cambodian, reveals the girl was kidnapped from her village when she was just 13, sold to sex slavery and forced into prostitution before she had experienced her first period.
The tragic teen in the video also revealed she was electrocuted twice a day for arguing too much, and tied up at night so she couldn't escape.
Through a translator, she revealed her virginity was sold four times before she managed to escape and she was "stitched up three times".
Jolie revealed, "Virgins bring in hundreds of dollars for brothel owners are are in high demand by men with Aids, who believe having sex with a virgin will cure their disease.
"Because these enslaved girls are forbidden to request condoms, they're vulnerable to STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases), Aids and pregnancies."
The girl fell pregnant twice and was forced to abort both children - the second when she was four months gone.
Jolie picked up the story: "(She) was in so much pain after her second abortion she asked for a few days rest." But the madam at the brothel showed no mercy, and instead stabbed her in the eye with a metal rod.
Jolie added, "As her wound became more infected, her eye began oozing blood and puss. Now, considered mutilated and worthless by the brothel, her captors mercilessly discarded her on the streets."
Kristof, who was appearing on Oprah to promote his new book Half The Sky - which recounts the terrible truth about the world's most desperate teenage girls and women - revealed the girl found help, but hers is one happy ending in a global sex trafficking and slavery industry that he estimates has ensnared three to tens of millions of young girls.
Kristof returned to the site of one of the brothels that housed the Cambodian teen and her fellow sex slaves with one reluctant former child prostitute, who showed him the basement which acted as a torture chamber for the most unruly girls.
From a translated script, Jolie explained what the girl was telling the journalist: "There must be many girls who died in those rooms. I spent two years in a place like this."
The actress has narrated a harrowing new public awareness video, which focuses on the story of a young African woman's pregnancy nightmare.
The video aired on Oprah Winfrey's U.S. talk show on Tuesday (01Dec09).
In the hard-hitting film about the woman called Prudence, the Ghost star reveals, "An African woman has one chance in 20 of dying in pregnancy. In much of the world, the most dangerous thing a woman can do is become pregnant.
"This is Prudence, a 24-year-old mother of three from a remote village in Cameroon. After suffering three days of agonising labour, a midwife sat on her stomach in a desperate attempt to force the baby out, but instead ruptured her uterus.
"Hoping to save the baby, Prudence's family found someone to drive her 75 miles to the hospital on a motorcycle."
Moore explains Prudence's story was picked up by acclaimed New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who found the desperate mum lying ignored and untreated in an empty hospital room two days after she was admitted.
She adds, "The now-dead foetus was rotting inside her belly."
Moore reveals Prudence needed a blood transfusion to save her life and an emergency Caesarean section to remove the baby, which was slowly poisoning her. But the doctor refused to operate until he was paid $100 (£62.50).
Kristof, who filmed the video, reveals he and his crew "chipped in" to pay the doctor and offered his blood for the transfusion - but the medic left the hospital for the day without operating.
Moore picks up the story: "The next morning Nick found Prudence lying in her own vomit and her urine bag overflowing. The doctor had finally performed the operation and there seemed to be a bit of hope for Prudence, but she slipped into a coma and, without antibiotics, infection raged throughout her body."
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kristof, who chronicles the plight of struggling women in the world's poorest countries in his New York Times column and in new book Half The Sky, adds, "It's completely unnecessary that that mother of three died."
Moore isn't the only celebrity who has been moved by Kristof's crusade to highlight the plight of women killed, murdered and neglected in the Third World - George Clooney admits the journalist's work inspired him to visit Darfur, Sudan to find out more about the horrors the writer described.
Clooney has since become an outspoken campaigner, fighting the genocide in the Sudan. The actor returned to the region with Kristof earlier this year (09).
Ben Affleck also accompanied the journalist to the Congo and agreed to film and narrate a video about the country's rape crisis.
His harrowing tale focused on a 41-year-old teacher who had been beaten and raped and left for dead by soldiers. Locals in her village had deemed her unfit to wed and refused to help her. She was dying of starvation when Affleck and Kristof found her and begged a villager to take her to a hospital.
Like Prudence, the woman died weeks later.