Hello. I apologize for this being the first time I address you in print, what will be the first of several apologies today. I am writing to express my belief in and support of you.
I confess that at the time I worked for Woody Allen I was a naive young actress. I swallowed the media’s portrayal of your abuse allegations against your father as an outgrowth of a twisted custody battle between Mia Farrow and him, and did not look further into the situation, for which I am terribly sorry. For this I also owe an apology to Mia.
What I have to say next is not a justification, simply a description of my background with Woody at that time and since. As an adolescent, I cherished my copy of his book “Without Feathers.” I played the Diane Keaton role in a high school production of “Play It Again, Sam” and had grown up, like so many in my generation, in awe of his films. As a young actress I landed the dream role of Linda Ash in “Mighty Aphrodite,” and the artistic license he allowed me to create the character was thrilling. We were friendly though not close, but in no way did he ever overstep his bounds with me; I never personally experienced what has now been described as inappropriate behavior toward young girls. But this does not excuse my turning a blind eye to your story simply because I wanted desperately for it not to be so.
It is difficult to sever ties and denounce your heroes, your benefactors, whom you fondly admired and felt a debt of gratitude toward for your entire career’s existence. To decide, although they may be fantastically talented and helped you enormously, that you believe they have done things for which there can be no excuse. But that is where we stand today.
In December I called your brother Ronan, sharing about the aftermath of my and other women’s coming forward about Harvey Weinstein. How it had been a sometimes empowering, sometimes bitter and heartbreaking experience, as more and more details came out of hidden damage this man had done me. Of how I felt somehow more vulnerable and triggered (though certainly grateful) when millions of people showed me their support online, as though now my life had been reduced to one victimization... I told him I wanted to learn more about you and your situation. He pointed me toward publicly available details of the case I had ruefully never known of, which made me begin to feel the evidence strongly supported your story. That you have been telling the truth all along.
I am so sorry, Dylan! I cannot begin to imagine how you have felt, all these years as you watched someone you called out as having hurt you as a child, a vulnerable little girl in his care, be lauded again and again, including by me and countless others in Hollywood who praised him and ignored you. As a mother and a woman, this breaks my heart for you. I am so, so sorry!
We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it. The cognitive dissonance, the denial and cowardice that spare us painful truths and prevent us from acting in defense of innocent victims while allowing “beloved” individuals to continue their heinous behavior must be jettisoned from the bottom of our souls. Even if you love someone, if you learn they may have committed these despicable acts, they must be exposed and condemned, and this exposure must have consequences. I will never work with him again.
I am sorry it has taken me a few weeks to come out in support of you since that conversation, but it has been a process for me to own this truth and make this irrevocable break.
I send you love and inclusion and admiration for your courage all this time. I believe you!!! I am grateful to you and admire your integrity and bravery, one woman who has had to stand virtually alone all these years speaking her painful truth. You are a true hero, and I stand with you.
In gratitude and solidarity,
Sorvino is an actress, activist and mother. She has been a Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime since 2009.