Stacey Nelkin, an actress who dated Woody Allen while he was middle-aged and she was still in high school, is continuing to defend the embattled director, saying sexual assault allegations are being unearthed to generate publicity for Ronan Farrow’s new MSNBC program.
“I, myself, was a little bit suspicious about the timing of this, with the article in Vanity Fair and this letter coming out,” Nelkin said during an appearance this week on HuffPost Live. “It just seems like maybe a publicity ploy for Ronan’s new MSNBC TV show.”
Dylan Farrow accused the “Annie Hall” filmmaker of touching her inappropriately when she was seven years old in a blog post excerpted on the New York Times’ website. The ensuing outcry has dredged up memories of the bitter child custody fight between Allen and Mia Farrow, as well as claims he is a pedophile.
Nelkin said she doesn’t think Dylan Farrow is lying, even though she questioned her motivation for breaking her silence.
“I do believe that Dylan believes that this actually happened to her, so she’s clearly in a lot of pain and very troubled about it,” Nelkin said. “But I chose to speak out because I was very disturbed by this and I’ve known Woody for a really long time. Before, during this and after all of these accusations.”
“I do not believe that this happened and I do believe that she made this up,” she added.
Nelkin’s comments echo those of Guardian columnist and media gadfly Michael Wolff, who argued in columns and on talk shows that the Farrow family is trying to profit from the sexual abuse charges. She has defended the director in an earlier appearance on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live.”
Nelkin’s association with Allen involved a romance she had with the director when she was a 17-year old senior at New York’s Stuyvesant High School and he was 42. Their May-December (or earlier on the calendar, depending on your view) relationship is said to have partly inspired the one between Allen and Mariel Hemingway in 1979’s “Manhattan.”
Nelkin noted that sexual mores were different in the 1970s when the two dated and said her mother was “totally cool” with the romance.
Allen also began dating his future wife Soon-Yi Previn, Mia Farrow‘s adopted daughter, when she was 19. Despite his unorthodox sexual history, Nelkin argued that Allen’s attraction to younger women does not mean he is a pedophile.
“I think a lot of people, including a lot of my friends and some close family members are failing to make the distinction that a man who likes younger women is not necessarily a man who is going to molest a child,” Nelkin said. “That because he perhaps didn’t have boundaries and went after his girlfriend’s adopted daughter, which, believe me, I think was absolutely horrible … that does not mean he is a child molester.”
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