The first episode of Allen v. Farrow, a docuseries from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering focused on sexual assault allegations made against Woody Allen by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, premiered on Sunday night via HBO and HBO Max.
Part one of the four-part series opens with an excerpt from a 1992 press conference Allen held at the Plaza Hotel in New York. During that presser, Allen denied the abuse allegations, which saw Allen accused of having assaulted Dylan when she was seven years old. The alleged incident was said to have occurred roughly seven months after Mia Farrow—to whom Allen was married from 1980 to 1992—found nude Polaroids of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn at Allen’s apartment.
On the night of the inaugural episode’s release, a rep for the writer/director and Soon-Yi Previn shared a statement with Deadline in which they allege they were both given “only a matter of days” by the filmmakers to respond to the series. They also called Allen v. Farrow “a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods” and criticized HBO for airing it.
“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the rep said in the statement. “Multiple agencies investigated them at the time and found that, whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, absolutely no abuse had ever taken place. It is sadly unsurprising that the network to air this is HBO—which has a standing production deal and business relationship with Ronan Farrow. While this shoddy hit piece may gain attention, it does not change the facts.”
Allen and Previn married in 1997. In a People interview years later, Mia said she doesn’t really think of Previn as her daughter anymore.
“I can’t,” she said. “She isn’t. She’s estranged—and strange.”
While Allen and Previn were not interviewed for the HBO docuseries, portions of the audiobook version of Allen’s 2020 autobiography Apropos of Nothing are included. Skyhorse Publishing’s president and publisher Tony Lyons claimed to the Hollywood Reporter that “neither the producers nor HBO ever approached Skyhorse to request permission to use excerpts from the audiobook.”
“Skyhorse received information second hand only at the very end of last week that each of the documentary’s four episodes makes extensive use of audiobook excerpts. … Having now seen the first episode, we believe that its unauthorized use of the audiobook is clear, willful infringement under existing legal precedent, and that the other episodes will infringe, too, if they appropriate the audiobook in a similar manner,” Lyons said. “We will take the legal action we deem necessary to redress our and Woody Allen’s rights in his intellectual property.”
Ziering and Dick addressed those claims by saying, “The creators of Allen v. Farrow legally used limited audio excerpts from Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the Fair Use doctrine.”
Allen v. Farrow, which also examines the filmmaker’s repeated use of young women in his catalog (i.e. Manhattan), will debut its second episode this coming Sunday.