Barbara Walters is firmly taking a side in the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow war. On The View Monday, Feb. 3, the 84-year-old veteran journalist got into a fight with cohost Sherri Shepherd for defending her friend, director Allen, against his daughter Farrow's Feb. 1 open letter claiming he sexually abused her at age 7.
"I have rarely seen a father as sensitive, as loving and as caring as Woody is and Soon-Yi to these two girls," longtime New Yorker Walters said of Allen's relationship with his wife of 17 years and their adopted daughters Bechet, 14, and Manzie, 13. "I don't know about Dylan. I can only tell you what I have seen now. That it's a good marriage, and he's a loving, caring father. I think that has to be said."
"She has nothing to gain by coming out and saying this, so it just makes me stop and question," View cohost Jenny McCarthy countered of Dylan's letter, published in the New York Times over 20 years after the abuse claims first surfaced.
"Supposedly she is very angry, but she is doing it now because he is up for an award," Walters explained of the director's latest Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Blue Jasmine. "So the question is: does you personal life interfere with the awards you may get?"
But the ladies didn't debate that question, and rather continued debating Allen's character.
"We've heard so many cases of people going, 'He was the most wonderful person in the world. I would have never thought he would've done . . .'" Shepherd said. Walters interrupted: "That's not what I'm saying."
"Barbara, when you say, 'I'm speaking from what I've seen,' there are so many things that go on behind closed doors," Shepherd said. "We also know that he was with Soon-Yi when she was very young. Mia [Farrow] had adopted this girl when she was young and Woody was around her . . . He was dating a 17-year-old at one point. You've also got a man who's got a track record. He liked younger women," Shepherd said. "So it's not that far off."
"The fact that he likes 'younger women,' that has nothing to do with . . ." Walters told Shepherd.
"But they're not of age!" Shepherd argued. "Seventeen is not of age, Barbara."
"But it was mutual," Walters said. "To condemn this man now is unfair."
"It was his stepdaughter that he messed around with!" Shepherd said. "That was his stepdaughter, Barbara. He married his stepdaughter!"
Allen, 78, adopted Dylan and her brother Moses with Mia Farrow, 68, who he began dating in 1980. They also welcomed son Ronan together in 1987. During their relationship, Allen did not adopt any of Farrow's previous children — including Soon-Yi — with her ex-husband, musician Andre Previn. Allen and Farrow, who never wed, split in 1992, after he admitted to having a relationship with Soon-Yi, who he went on to marry in 1997. Allegations of abuse against Dylan began in 1993, and Allen consistently denied any wrongdoing, and the case was later dropped.
The Blue Jasmine director's lawyer, Alkan Abramowitz, issued a statement Feb. 3 in response to Dylan's recent letter. "It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces," Abramowitz told CNN. "Even though it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities." He added: "The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen."
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