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Ronan Farrow: My ‘Family Background’ Helped Me Understand ‘Abuse of Power’

Son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen who wrote ‘New Yorker’ expose last fall says, “I’m a reporter, not an activist”

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow, who wrote 'New Yorker' expose on Harvey Weinstein last fall, says, "I'm a reporter, not an activist."

Kay Nietfeld/AP

Ronan Farrow’s game-changing New Yorker feature, which ran last October following The New York Times’ own explosive piece, helped to bring accusations of sexual harassment by media mogul Harvey Weinstein to light.

In a new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, the journalist opened up about the hurdles he faced in getting the story published, as well as the factors that helped him determinedly push the story through despite blowback and threats.

“There were a number of people who did tell me, ‘Look, you’ve got to drop this, this is causing too many speed bumps for you,'” he said. “Harvey Weinstein reveals how the most powerful men in this country have tendrils in to every kind of institution. That is one reason why I switched agencies.” (Farrow switched from CAA to WME last December despite CAA’s public apology following the Weinstein fallout).

As he uncovered more in his reporting, Farrow said, he recognized that his employer NBC News, where he had originally pitched the piece, would not provide him with the support he needed to get the story out there. NBC strongly disputes Farrow’s claims that it tried to quash the story. 

Farrow also noted that during his year of reporting, he was followed by “mysterious men,” received threatening phone calls and was even approached by an undercover female Black Cube agent – the very same one that also ingratiated herself with Rose McGowan by posing as a women’s rights advocate.

His famous mother, Mia Farrow, told THR that she became seriously concerned for her son’s safety as he got deeper into the investigation.

“He shared enough of what he was uncovering for me to be increasingly concerned for his safety,” she said. “But he knew and I knew that it was a moral issue. He had to continue, even when that meant putting a lot on the line.”

Asked whether he believed that his own family’s history with allegations of abuse may have led him to pursue the story as a personal vendetta, the journalist clarified how the two were and were not related. (Ronan’s older sister, Dylan Farrow, has long maintained that their father, Woody Allen, molested her when she was seven years old).

“You see early in life with that kind of a family background the way in which the most powerful men in America wield power for good and for ill,” he said. “And probably, yes, the family background made me someone who understood the abuse of power from an early age. … I didn’t want to confront this. I wanted to move on.”

Added Mia of Ronan’s reporting on Weinstein, “It’s not a subject we discussed as a family. I never got the sense the Weinstein story was personal for him. He was a reporter on a huge assignment.”

In This Article: Harvey Weinstein

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