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Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn call HBO Docuseries a ‘shoddy hit’

Shortly after the premiere of the first episode of “Allen v. Farrow, ”an HBO documentary series that re-examines Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against filmmaker Woody Allen, his adoptive father, a spokesperson for Mr. Allen released a statement Sunday night criticizing the series, calling it of “poor quality hit”.

Letty Aronson, Mr Allen’s sister, sent the statement – attributed to a spokesperson – shortly after the first episode aired, on behalf of Mr Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, the filmmaker’s wife and Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter. In 1992, Ms Farrow, Mr Allen’s longtime girlfriend, learned of Mr Allen’s relationship with Ms Previn while Ms Previn was a freshman at university. This relationship is also scrutinized in the four-part docu-series.

Neither Mr. Allen nor Ms. Previn participated in the series, but it does include audio clips from Mr. Allen’s recent memoir, “Apropos of Nothing.”

“These documentary filmmakers had no interest in the truth,” the statement said. “Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with lies.

On Monday, the publisher of Mr. Allen’s memoir Skyhorse raised another objection to the series: that the filmmakers had used clips from the audiobook without permission. In a statement, Skyhorse president and editor Tony Lyons said the “unauthorized” use of the audio in the first episode was “a clear and willful violation of existing legal precedent.”

Mr Lyons said in the statement that the filmmakers had not applied for permission to use the clips and that the publisher learned late last week that the episodes “extensively” use the audiobook. The publisher’s attorney informed HBO on Friday that “if the use of the audiobook was pretty much what we heard it would be copyright infringement,” he said.

The brief was originally scheduled to be published last year by Grand Central Publishing, a brand of Hachette Book Group, until dozens of Hachette employees staged a walkout in protest and the publisher gave up. About two weeks later, his book was published by Arcade Publishing, a brand of independent publisher Skyhorse.

Responding to the publisher’s objections, an HBO spokeswoman provided a statement from the filmmakers, saying, “The creators of ‘Allen v. Farrow ‘legally used limited audio clips of Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the fair dealing doctrine. The doctrine was invoked to allow artists and journalists – including documentary filmmakers – to use limited amounts of copyrighted works for certain purposes, including using the material to illustrate an argument or to serve as a subject for criticism.

Episode 1 includes in-depth interviews with Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow, who accused Mr. Allen of sexual assault when he was 7. It also included interviews with family and friends who said that even before August 4, 1992 – the day Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen assaulted her – they had witnessed Mr. Allen towards his daughter whom they considered inappropriate.

Mr Allen has long denied the abuse allegations, arguing that Mia Farrow trained Dylan to make the allegations after learning of his relationship with Ms Previn.

In Sunday’s statement, Mr. Allen continued to deny the allegations.

“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the statement said. “Several agencies investigated them at the time and found that whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, no abuse had ever taken place.”

In later episodes, the series raises questions about one of those investigations, in particular: a report released by the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which revealed that Dylan had not been assaulted by anyone after questioning the child. nine times in a seven month period. According to the series, all interview notes from those sessions were destroyed when the final report was released.

Attorneys in Connecticut, where Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen sexually assaulted her, refused to prosecute Mr. Allen in 1993. The state attorney said he did so to spare Dylan the trauma from a trial but believed she had been assaulted.

The statement said Mr. Allen and Ms. Previn had been approached about the documentary less than two months ago and had “only had a few days” to respond. He also said that it was “sadly not surprising” that HBO is airing the series, given a production deal with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow’s brother, who has spoken on behalf of his sister, y included in the series. (Mr. Farrow, an investigative reporter who has talked a lot about sexual misconduct, has made a deal with HBO to create special investigative material, though he’s not on the production team of ” Allen v. Farrow. ”)