Ronan Farrow on Hollywood acquiescence to sexual abuse

The New York Times exposure of Harvey Weinstein's decades-long reign of predatory sexual behavior toward young women has led to a long line of actresses coming forward to tell their own horror stories about Weinstein.

Incredibly, Weinstein's employment contract with the Weinstein Company protected him from firing for sexual abuse allegations (TMZ 10/12/17) as long as Weinstein reimbursed the company for any settlements paid for his behavior.  How many of these contract clauses exist in Hollywood?

Previously, Woody Allen was arguably the sleaziest Hollywood fixture, eclipsing even the sordid story of Roman Polanski drugging and having sex with a 13-year-old girl before fleeing to Europe in 1978.  In 1992, Allen's "relationship" with his and Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, then in her late teens, was exposed when Farrow discovered "a stack of Polaroids taken by him of her daughter, her legs spread in full frontal nudity" (Mia's Story Vanity Fair 11/1992).  Allen eventually married Previn, and they remained married to this day.

Ronan Farrow, Farrow's and Allen's biological son, corroborated the Times story with an equally explosive New Yorker piece a mere five days later, the result of his own ten-month investigation.

This was not the first time Mr. Farrow confronted sexual abuse in Hollywood.  In a piece for the Hollywood Reporter in May 2016, he lamented "the culture of acquiescence" regarding his own father, the aforementioned Woody Allen, as well as Bill Cosby.

Farrow noted the media's squashing of his sister Dylan Farrow's allegation of sexual abuse by Allen:

In fact, when my sister first decided to speak out, she had gone to multiple newspapers – most wouldn't touch her story. An editor at the Los Angeles Times sought to publish her letter with an accompanying, deeply fact-checked timeline of events, but his bosses killed it before it ran. The editor called me, distraught, since I'd written for them in the past. There were too many relationships at stake. It was too hot for them. He fought hard for it.

Farrow reflected on how the media has historically treated sexual abuse victims and powerful men and how even he initially tried to suppress his sister's allegations:

My sister's decision to step forward came shortly after I began work on a book and a television series. It was the last association I wanted. Initially, I begged my sister not to go public again and to avoid speaking to reporters about it. I'm ashamed of that, too. With sexual assault, anything's easier than facing it in full, saying all of it, facing all of the consequences.

The exposure of Weinstein's horrific behavior can only be a good thing for Hollywood and American society generally.  Mr. Farrow's examination of the media's historic fear of reporting these allegations against Hollywood power brokers is nothing short of brilliant.  Exposing the prevalence of sexual abuse in Hollywood will surely empower more victims to come forward, bring accountability to their abusers and diminishing sexual abuse in Hollywood and elsewhere.

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