Britain’s Prince Andrew and America’s Woody Allen may seem to occupy different realms of global celebrity on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
But both Queen Elizabeth’s son and the Oscar-winning Brooklyn-born filmmaker are back in the news following separate but explosive media events. Both also face renewed calls to be held accountable for decades-old sexual abuse allegations involving underaged girls.
The Duke of York and Allen also have something, or someone, else in common: Jeffrey Epstein. Both Andrew and Allen reportedly were good friends with the late multimillionaire financier, who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while facing federal sex trafficking charges.
Epstein, moreover, brought friends Andrew, 61, and Allen, 85, together for an infamous dinner party he hosted in December 2010 at his Upper East Side mansion, according to a new Daily Beast report.
The party, in Andrew’s honor, took place about a year after Epstein completed a 13-month jail sentence in Florida after pleading guilty to child-prostitution charges. Epstein’s widely criticized “sweetheart” plea deal and lenient sentence followed an FBI investigation into how the financier groomed dozens of underage girls to perform sex acts with him, his socialite ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and his famous friends.
The guests at the lavish dinner included other members of New York City’s media elite — Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Rose. But the Daily Beast report focuses on some of Andrew and Allen’s interactions, including when Allen tried to hit up a “jolly” Andrew for an invitation to the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Chelsea Handler also was a guest, having tagged along with Couric and apparently not aware of who Epstein was. She recently told actor Rob Lowe for his podcast that the evening was “weird” and “awkward,” as she was seated next to Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, Yahoo News reported.
Woody Allen, Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew at Dinner#AllenVFarrow Never Forget https://t.co/Tw2N6YLaPx
— Nonquiescent (@nonquiescent) March 15, 2021
“I was like, what are we doing here?” Handler said. “And then I asked Woody Allen how he and Soon-Yi met. I had forgotten for a moment.”
What Handler had forgotten is that Previn is the adoptive daughter of Mia Farrow, Allen’s ex-girlfriend and longtime movie muse. Mia Farrow’s January 1992 discovery of Previn and Allen’s affair launched the epic scandal that reverberates to this day.
The scandal most disturbingly includes the allegation by Dylan Farrow, Allen and Mia Farrow’s adoptive daughter, that Allen molested her in August 1992 when she was 7 years old. The allegation was the subject of the recent HBO four-part docuseries “Allen v. Farrow.”
Handler knew immediately she was wrong to ask how Allen and Previn met. “As it came out of my mouth, I knew that it was too late.” But Allen apparently was amused, Handler told Lowe. “He loved it, and Soon-Yi, I don’t think she heard it.”
The new Daily Beast report comes as HBO aired the fourth and final part of “Allen v. Farrow” Sunday night. The documentary also suggests that Allen may have begun grooming Previn when she was in high school. The affair became public when a 21-year-old Previn was a college freshman and Allen was 56.
Andrew’s ties to Epstein also face renewed scrutiny in the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive allegations to Oprah Winfrey on March 7 that the royal family has at least one racist member, and that the family turned their backs on Meghan’s mental health struggles and declined to protect her from a malicious tabloid press.
Supporters of the Sussexes have called out the royal family for declining to rally around the couple, while continuing to let Andrew evade consequences for his friendship with Epstein and his other unsavory actions over the years. These supporters say Andrew has caused far more damage to the monarchy than the Sussexes, especially because he has been accused of having sex with one of Epstein’s teenage sex-trafficking victims and has reportedly refused to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation into Epstein’s “sex slave” operation.
In a disastrous November 2019 BBC interview, Andrew also offered jaw-dropping explanations to justify his friendship with Epstein and to deny having sex with the alleged victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, in 2001.
The prince also claimed he ended his friendship with Epstein after that dinner in New York in December 2010. He acknowledged it was “wrong” to go see Epstein personally in New York because the financier had “quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming… ”
BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis, taken aback, interrupted the duke to say: “’Unbecoming’? He was a sex offender.”
With regard to Allen and Epstein, it’s not clear when the prominent New Yorkers first crossed paths, but they were longtime neighbors on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the Daily Beast reported. Over the years, the “Manhattan” director and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, were photographed leaving the financier’s townhouse, the Daily Beast added.
Sometime after Allen and Previn married in 1997, they started socializing with Epstein, though more evidently in the last 10 years, after Epstein’s child-prostitution case officially made him a registered sex offender, the Daily Beast said.
For example, the couple were spotted with Epstein in September 2013, five years after Epstein’s conviction.
A Page Six report on the visit carried the headline: “Woody Allen pals around with child-sex creep.” It quoted a witness who said Epstein “was hugging (Allen) and talking close to his ear,” and “had his arm on Woody’s shoulder.” The friends were photographed with Allen’s 35-years-younger wife, strolling down Madison Avenue before arriving at Epstein’s seven-story mansion on East 71st Street.
Woody Allen spotted chumming up with convicted child-sex creep Jeffrey Epstein http://t.co/ziZl1wkhaP
— Page Six (@PageSix) September 24, 2013
The Daily Beast also reported Epstein hosted another dinner of “influential individuals,” where he introduced Allen to Joi Ito, the former director of the MIT Media Lab.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast also reported that Epstein and Allen had a friend in common — Allen’s former teenage mistress, model Christina Engelhardt. She was 16 when she began dating the director in 1976, and they carried on a secret eight-year relationship, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Engelhardt was likely the inspiration for Allen’s teen girlfriend character in “Manhattan,” who was played by Mariel Hemingway, the Hollywood Reporter said. Engelhardt told The Daily Beast that she worked as a personal assistant for Epstein in the early 1980s, and he “wasn’t there yet” when it came to sex-trafficking underage girls. She said she told Epstein that she’d dated Allen, but that the two New Yorkers weren’t friendly yet.
Engelhardt said that working for Epstein eventually became “toxic,” so she left. About her time with both him and Allen, she said: “I escaped one monster and ran away from the other.”