In the wake of renewed allegations that Woody Allen sexually abused Dylan Farrow when she was a child -- and Allen's subsequent denials of the allegations -- longtime Allen friend Barbara Walters and former Allen girlfriend Stacey Nelkin rose to the director's defense Monday in separate television appearances.
On her ABC morning talk show "The View," Walters said of Allen's current relationship with wife Soon-Yi Previn and their two daughters: "I have rarely seen a father as sensitive, as loving and as caring as Woody is and Soon-Yi to these two girls. I don't know about Dylan. I can only tell you what I have seen now."
Walters' cohosts then entered the debate. "The thing that makes me question it though, Barbara, is [Farrow] has nothing to gain by coming out and saying this," Jenny McCarthy said of the accusations, which come 21 years after Farrow said the abuse occurred.
Sherri Shepherd added: "Barbara, when you say, 'I'm speaking from what I've seen,' there are so many things that go on behind closed doors. We also know that he was with Soon-Yi when she was very young."
Walters continued defending Allen.
"The fact that he likes younger women, that has nothing to do with it," she said.
Nelkin, who dated Allen when she was a teenager 35 years his junior, appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" on Monday and discussed their relationship, which she insisted was entirely consensual.
The recent allegations are the result of an ugly separation between Allen and Mia Farrow, Dylan's adoptive parents, Nelkin said.
"These accusations came on the heels of a horrible custody battle, of Mia being extremely upset," Nelkin said. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and she was hell-bent and determined to destroy something that he loved. Woody loved Dylan. We were in contact at the time, and he would talk about her a lot. He loved the kids that they had adopted together, and she took Dylan away by creating this whole scenario."
Nelkin also said that someone from Mia Farrow's camp had tried to convince Nelkin to testify against Allen during the custody battle. This person wanted her to "admit that I was 15 when we dated, and I said no, because I was not 15," Nelkin said. "I was 17, 18 and 19, and to me there's a big distinction between that, and I think they were looking for the fact that, you know, 15 is jail bait. Seventeen is a very different story. And I would not go along with that."
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan weighed in Monday on op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof's publication of Dylan Farrow's accusations against Allen in an open letter on Sunday.
Sullivan quoted a reader letter that said: "I write to ask about the propriety of publishing largely one-sided columns assailing a lone individual. The writers who are permitted to 'columnize' for the Times have a tremendously influential platform, and I wonder whether they should use that platform to advocate on behalf of personal friends, as Mr. Kristof did .… Should the Times and Mr. Kristof lend their credibility to [Farrow's] argument against Woody Allen?"
In response to the letter, Sullivan said she was glad that Kristof had asked Allen for comment and had disclosed his relationship with the Farrows. "But, while acknowledging that Times columnists appropriately have very free rein in choosing subject matter and commenting on it as they see fit," Sullivan said, "I am troubled by the same questions."
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