(JTA) — A former teen model has accused famed Jewish filmmaker Woody Allen, already dogged by decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct involving his adopted daughter, entering into an illicit sexual affair with her when she was only 16 years old.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Babi Christina Engelhardt described how she began seeing the then 41-year-old filmmaker in 1976 while she was still in high school. The relationship would last for eight years and allegedly served as the real life inspiration for Allen’s 1979 film “Manhattan,” in which Allen played a 42-year-old character who has a romantic relationship with a 17-year-old.
Allen, who had previously been accused of sexual assault by adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.
Engelhardt was quoted as saying that she began to reevaluate her memories of the relationship in the light of the #MeToo movement but that she was “still impressed with him as an artist. How he played with characters in his movies, and how he played with me.”
“What made me speak is I thought I could provide a perspective,” she told the Reporter. “I’m not attacking Woody. This is not ‘bring down this man.’ I’m talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets. I was a pleaser, agreeable. Knowing he was a director, I didn’t argue. I was coming from a place of devotion.”
An ethnic German, she noted the difference in background between her and her erstwhile lover, stating that “Woody’s the uber-Jew, and I’m the uber-German. There was a chip on my shoulder about wanting to please those who cast me aside. I wasn’t confrontational because I thought, ‘Nobody likes Germans.’”
Several years into the affair, Woody introduced her to his girlfriend Mia Farrow, with whom he would eventually have a biological son and two adopted children. Engelhardt wrote that she “felt sick” but that she “couldn’t find the courage to get up and leave. To leave would mean an end to all of this. Looking back now, that’s exactly what I needed, but back then, the idea of not having Woody in my life at all terrified me. So I sat there, patiently, calmly trying to assess the situation, trying to understand why he wanted the two of us to meet.”