My selfie with Woody Allen makes me doubt Allen vs. Farrow

Here’s why the timeline presented in the HBO docu-series is problematic for me.

When I think about the above selfie I took with Woody Allen, I am troubled by the photo. In fact, like I discuss in this article, it makes me feel guilty. But, the photo also puts into question the accuracy of the timeline presented in the HBO docu-series Allen vs. Farrow. Which in turn might challenge it’s credibility.

Let me explain:

By all public accounts, the abuse accusations by Dylan Farrow came out in 1992. From what is implied in the film, unless I am mistaken, this led to a custody lawsuit that Allen lost in 1994 and prevented him from seeing his adopted daughter Dylan. Additionally, the film implied that he wasn’t to see his biological son Satchel, who now goes by Ronan; however, in the ruling, he’s awarded supervised visitation with his son.

If you look at the photo above, you notice me taking basically a selfie (snapped by my dad) before selfies really existed. You also see Allen holding the hand of Satchel/Ronan. (Normally, I would be uncomfortable showing him as a child in the photo, but the documentary, with ample photos of him used by permission, makes me feel like this can be shared without ethical issues). 

What you don’t see is that this was taken in October of 1995. My family was in New York City for my cousin’s wedding. While exploring the city, my mom, dad, sister and I ran into Allen. He was there, on what appeared to be a break from filming. We have other pictures of him behind the camera filming Alan Alda while the actor walked down the street wearing a tennis outfit.

The photo was taken three years after the accusations were made. I was an oblivious college student who didn’t keep up with the news, so I wasn’t cognizant of the sordid details. All I knew was that he had left Farrow for her adopted daughter.

What is wonky about the timeline is that Allen clearly was still interacting with Ronan Farrow even after the accusations and custody trial. Like I said, the documentary made it seem like, after the custody battle, he was cut off from seeing his children. Even if I’m mistaken about this being implied, the fact that he was still allowed access to his children (at least Ronan) after such shocking accusations is troubling. And it might call into question the accuracy of the HBO series.

The dynamics presented in the docu-series and ruling contradict what I saw. Specifically, there was no one else visibly supervising father and son. So, unless the agreement was modified or I just didn’t see the supervision, he was seeing Ronan inappropriately under the circumstances. Certainly, the ruling had made it clear that unsupervised visitation wasn’t thought to be in the best interest of his son.

Obviously, I’m not privy to the inter-workings what went on within their family, but the apparent contradiction opens up the question of what actually was going on. Or at least raises questions about what they were telling the public.

That’s the trouble with litigating complicated family dynamics on the screen. You can’t possibly deal without all the intricacies. It’s hard enough to get to any truth in a trial.

My doubts about the film doesn’t take away from all of the arguments in the film. But, it does suggest that there is more to the story.

(I talk more about this selfie and the other implications of it in my latest article: “My Selfie With Woody Allen Makes Me Feel Guilty.”)

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