The filmmaker is facing scrutiny after Dylan Farrow, adopted daughter of his former partner, Mia Farrow, made disturbing abuse claims in an open letter to The New York Times. Allen's spokeswoman says Allen read the piece and "found it untrue and disgraceful." NBC's Kate Snow reports.
The adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and film director Woody Allen penned a harrowing open letter published on The New York Times website Saturday, renewing accusations that Allen sexually assaulted her when she was a child.
"[W]hen I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me," reads Dylan Farrow's letter, which was published on Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's blog.
Kristof — a friend of the Farrow family — explained in an editor's note that Farrow was writing publicly for the first time about her allegations.
Farrow, now 28, detailed instances of inappropriate touching and one-on-one encounters with Allen, which she said she dreaded and did anything she could to avoid.
"These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal," Farrow wrote. "I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters.
"But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn't keep the secret anymore," she said of the alleged incident in 1992.
Ron Galella / WireImage via Getty Images
Woody Allen and Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow in New York, 1989.
Allen and Mia Farrow, who were never married, split up that year, after the accusations came out.
Dylan Farrow wrote that Allen "got away with what he did" and it "haunted" her.
The celebrated movie director, who is now 78, was investigated on child molestation allegations, but was never charged.
Known for staying out of the public eye, Allen vehemently denied the claims at the time in in a news conference.
"This is an unconscionable and gruesomely damaging manipulation of innocent children for vindictive and self-serving motives," he said, according to the Times.
And in a statement to NBC News on Sunday, Allen's lawyer dismissed the Farrow story.
"It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces even though it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities," said attorney Elkan Abromowitz. "The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen."
The renewed accusations resurfaced as Allen's latest project, the movie Blue Jasmine, is nominated for three Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for the director. In her letter, Farrow also called out Blue Jasmine actors Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, and Louis C.K., asking, "What if it had been your child"?
Allen was also recently honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes, which actress Diane Keaton accepted on his behalf on Jan. 12.
Following that announcement, Allen's son, Ronan Farrow, tweeted: "Missed the Woody Allen tribute — did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?"
NBC News' Hasani Gittens contributed to this story