Despite disturbing allegations of abuse by his own daughter, Hollywood continues to say ‘yes’ to Woody Allen. Celebrities still sign on to work with him, studios continue to bankroll his films and the media still treat him as the quirky movie legend.
But now his son is ramping up his longstanding opposition to the way his father is feted and supported in Hollywood.
Ronan Farrow, a journalist for NBC News, has penned a passionate piece in the Hollywood Reporter in solidarity with his sister, Dylan, whom he says is a victim not only of his father’s alleged abuse but of the of culture of “impunity and silence” around sexual assault.
According to Dylan, her father had carefully groomed her, inappropriately touched her and ultimately sexually assaulted her when she was just seven years old.
Yet despite the prosecutor admitting that he had “probable cause” to prosecute Allen, he and Dylan’s mother, actress Mia Farrow, decided to spare the little girl further trauma and not pursue the charges.
“Very often, women with allegations do not or cannot bring charges,” wrote Ronan. “Very often, those who do come forward pay dearly, facing off against a justice system and a culture designed to take them to pieces.”
This, he argues, is the very reason that Allen was never put behind bars, and consequently why the press and the people continue to choose to overlook his dark past. Why actors continue to bow and scrape, and clamber over one another to be cast in his films.
“‘It’s not personal,’ one [actor] once told me,” Ronan wrote. “But it hurts my sister every time one of her heroes like Louis C.K., or a star her age, like Miley Cyrus, works with Woody Allen. Personal is exactly what it is — for my sister, and for women everywhere with allegations of sexual assault that have never been vindicated by a conviction.”
But there are others to blame, says Ronan. His fellow journalists. The people with the pens and the ink who, in theory, ought to take on the omnipotent PR machine that protects his father.
Instead, he claims, without a hard and fast legal ruling to stand upon, they are too afraid to have “tough newsroom conversations”, to ask the awkward questions, to risk burning bridges with the celebrities and publicists who so often provide their column inches.
“That kind of silence isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous,” wrote Ronan. “It sends a message to victims that it’s not worth the anguish of coming forward. It sends a message about who we are as a society, what we’ll overlook, who we’ll ignore, who matters and who doesn’t.”
The stunning Hollywood Reporter article has drawn praise across social media, with countless shares, comments and messages of support. Yet many have also noted that at a press conference for Allen’s latest film, Café Society starring Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart, not a single reporter questioned him or the cast about The Hollywood Reporter essay.
That, Ronan has since told CNN, shows precisely how far we have to go.
“If you’re sitting at Hotel du Cap filing a Q+A with Blake Lively that asks who she’s wearing but not why she worked with an alleged child molester,” he said, “it might be time for some soul searching.”
You can watch Blake Lively on the Cannes red carpet below.