Tonight (May 11), the Cannes Film Festival will kick off with a screening of Woody Allen's latest film Café Society. But according to Allen's son, Ronan Farrow, any celebration of the film sets a dangerous precedent for sexual abuse survivors. After all, Allen was accused of sexually abusing Ronan's sister, Dylan Farrow, in the 1990s.
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter ran a Woody Allen cover story that was packed with bizarre quotes. Now, they've given Ronan a turn with a lengthy guest column.
In the piece, Ronan draws comparisons between allegations against Bill Cosby and allegations against his father, Woody Allen. He explains that the media was hesitant to question Cosby about the allegations, because they were only allegations and not criminal convictions.
"Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film," Farrow wrote. "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."
He added that he's seen Woody Allen's publicist spin the media's perception of him in the past:
Being in the media as my sister's story made headlines, and Woody Allen's PR engine revved into action, gave me a window into just how potent the pressure can be to take the easy way out. Every day, colleagues at news organizations forwarded me the emails blasted out by Allen's powerful publicist, who had years earlier orchestrated a robust publicity campaign to validate my father's sexual relationship with another one of my siblings. Those emails featured talking points ready-made to be converted into stories, complete with validators on offer — therapists, lawyers, friends, anyone willing to label a young woman confronting a powerful man as crazy, coached, vindictive. At first, they linked to blogs, then to high-profile outlets repeating the talking points — a self-perpetuating spin machine.
Further, he blasted The Hollywood Reporter's own cover story on Allen. "On May 4, The Hollywood Reporter published a cover interview with Woody Allen, quirky auteur," he said. "To me it is a sterling example of how not to talk about sexual assault. Dylan's allegations are never raised in the interview and receive only a parenthetical mention — an inaccurate reference to charges being 'dropped.' THR later issued a correction: 'not pursued.'"
Ronan is the child of Allen and Mia Farrow, who split up in the mid '90s when Allen started an affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn (now his wife). In 1992, Allen was accused of sexually abusing Farrow's adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was just 7 years old.
The scandal was a major news story in the '90s, and resurfaced again in 2014 when Dylan Farrow detailed the alleged assault in a New York Times open letter.
To read Ronan Farrow's full guest column, go here.