Right-wingers make capital out of Allen scandal

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THE ALLEGATIONS and counter- allegations in Woody Allen's dispute with Mia Farrow are a gift to the Republican convention, where 'family values' are a main theme.

It has been alleged that Allen sexually abused one or more of his children, that Farrow attempted to extort dollars 7m ( pounds 3.6m) from him and that he warned her 'there would be nothing left of her standing' if she claimed custody in court. New York's Daily News yesterday said Farrow had a videotape of their adopted daughter in which the girl describes how Allen allegedly abused her.

Tales of the entire Farrow family being in psychiatric care following the discovery of the affair between Allen and Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon- Yi Previn, have led some to question her motives in touching off a police investigation into whether her former lover abused their two youngest children, daughter Dylan, 7, and their son Satchel, 4.

In Houston, however, the spectacle of two of the film world's Democratic champions scrapping in public over a scandal so sordid that it makes other showbiz contretemps seem tame, is relished by Republicans, who have trained their sights on Hillary Clinton as a radical feminist.

Congressman Robert Dornan of California said of the scandal: 'That's wacko Hollywood. I'm a big fan, Woody. Why did you do this to us?' The conservative Patrick Buchanan called Mrs Clinton a champion of 'radical feminism' and derided her for encouraging children to sue their parents if they were abused.

In New York, the Woody-Mia saga eclipsed the Republican convention as yesterday's talking-point. The conductor Andre Previn, Soon-Yi's adoptive father, condemned Allen for having an affair with her. 'I'm terribly shocked and saddened that Woody would choose to have a relationship with Soon-Yi,' he told the New York Post yesterday. 'I would have wished a lot better for her.'

Maria Roach, godmother to one of the children and a confidante of Farrow's, said that Allen warned he would destroy her if she sought custody of their children. 'Woody told (Farrow) that by the time this custody hearing comes about on the 25th, there would be nothing of her left standing,' Ms Roach said. She said that Allen had accused his former lover of being an unfit mother, partly because she was taking anti-depressant drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist.

A mystery surrounds Miss Previn's age. She may be 21, or only 18. She is in her first year of university in New Jersey. A Korean orphan, she was adopted by Farrow and her former husband, Andre Previn.