Ronan Farrow: Media Gives Woody Allen, Cosby a Pass
He takes on PR, reporters, himself for being complicit in silencing sex-abuse survivors
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2016 11:33 AM CDT
In this Sept. 22, 2011, file photo, Ronan Farrow speaks during the Social Good Summit in New York.   (AP Photo/United Nations Foundation, Gary He)

(Newser) – Woody Allen's star-studded Cafe Society is the opening flick Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival, and in a probably-not-coincidentally-timed piece in the Hollywood Reporter, his son with Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, pens a scathing essay on the "culture of acquiescence" surrounding his famous filmmaker dad, specifically regarding Allen's alleged sexual abuse of Dylan Farrow, Allen's adopted daughter and Farrow's sister. Farrow notes the link that the media has made between his family's own situation and that of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, looking at it all from both his personal perspective and that of a journalist—he's written for publications like the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times and previously hosted his own MSNBC news show—and he comes down on the "self-perpetuating spin machine" he says protects men like Allen and Cosby from being fully exposed.

He notes that big stars' PR reps, who get in tight with the media, as well as lack of a criminal conviction in cases like his dad's, "[make] Allen, Cosby and other powerful men so difficult to cover ... [but no conviction] is not an excuse for the press to silence victims, to never interrogate allegations. Indeed, it makes our role more important when the legal system so often fails the vulnerable as they face off against the powerful." The New York Times posted Dylan's take online in 2014, but it "gave her alleged attacker twice the space" in print to respond, Farrow adds. He admits his shame for initially begging her himself to not speak up, and he takes the Reporter to task for a May interview with Allen with only a "parenthetical mention" of Dylan's accusations. He also doubts media at Cannes will ask "tough questions" of Allen and his film's stars. "That kind of silence isn't just wrong. It's dangerous," he says. "It sends a message to victims that it's not worth the anguish of coming forward ... [of] what we'll overlook, who we'll ignore, who matters and who doesn't." (Read Farrow's entire piece.)