This year’s Cannes Film Festival opens with director Woody Allen’s 47th film “Café Society,” a comedy-drama about a Brooklyn kid (Jesse Eisenberg) who heads out to Los Angeles to get a job with his Hollywood agent uncle (Steve Carell) and eventually falls in love with his mistress (Kristen Stewart). Though many media outlets will certainly cover the film’s premiere, many people aren’t happy about the silence around Allen’s sexual abuse allegations, especially Allen’s son Ronan Farrow. In a new column for The Hollywood Reporter, Farrow sharply criticizes Hollywood as well as the media for roundly ignoring his sister Dylan Farrow’s accusations and contributing to the culture of silence around sexual abuse.
“Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film,” Farrow writes. “There will be press conferences and a red-carpet walk by my father and his wife (my sister). He’ll have his stars at his side — Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg. They can trust that the press won’t ask them the tough questions. It’s not the time, it’s not the place, it’s just not done. That kind of silence isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous. 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.”
Even more enlightening is Farrow’s deeper exploration into how the media continually ignores taking on sexual abuse stories. In September 2014, Farrow, a reporter by trade, was prepping an interview with a fellow journalist about his new biography of Bill Cosby. The novel had omitted all the allegations of rape and sexual abuse against Cosby, but Farrow was intent on asking the journalist about this issue. The reporter faced pressure from his producer to lay off the questions (they negotiated and agreed he could ask just one), and even the interviewee acted surprised when Farrow warned him that he would be bringing up this topic.
“Today, the number of accusers has risen to 60,” Farrow writes. “The author has apologized. And reporters covering Cosby have been forced to examine decades of omissions, of questions unasked, stories untold. I am one of those reporters — I’m ashamed of that interview.”
Farrow finds the media reacting in exactly the same way toward his father. Allen has been accused by daughter Dylan Farrow of sexually assaulting her when she was 7 years old, yet the media often refuses to ask a single question about the issue. Dylan Farrow decided to speak out in 2014, but she was declined the opportunity to do so at several newspaper outlets since nobody wanted to touch the story. Even when she did land an article in The New York Times, Farrow only had 936 words online to share her story. As Ronan reveals, The Times gave her alleged attacker double the space.”
“With sexual assault, anything’s easier than facing it in full, saying all of it, facing all of the consequences,” he writes. “Even now, I hesitated before agreeing to The Hollywood Reporter’s invitation to write this piece, knowing it could trigger another round of character assassination against my sister, my mother or me.”
Farrow goes on to even criticize THR for their recent Woody Allen cover story, citing it as a “sterling example of how not to talk about sexual assault.” Click here for the entire interview.