It's no secret that there's discord in the extended Allen and Farrow families. Sex abuse allegations from Woody Allen's daughter Dylan Farrow circulated heavily a couple of years ago, at the same time Allen was attracting Oscar buzz for Blue Jasmine and they have been brought to light again, right in time for the Cannes Film Festival. This time, Allen's estranged journalist son Ronan Farrow has hit out at the press for wilfully playing down or straight out ignoring the serious allegations against his dad. In an article published by The Hollywood Reporter, Farrow explores his personal experience with TV producers who sought to overlook serious allegations aimed at powerful men, likening it to the Bill Cosby issue.
"Some reporters have drawn connections between the press' grudging evolution on Cosby and a painful chapter in my own family's history," he writes. "It was shortly before the Cosby story exploded anew that my sister Dylan Farrow wrote about her own experiences - alleging that our father, Woody Allen, had "groomed" her with inappropriate touching as a young girl and sexually assaulted her when she was seven years old."
Farrow goes on to highlight Allen's uncomfortable relationship with Dylan Farrow. "I believe my sister. This was always true as a brother who trusted her, and, even at 5 years old, was troubled by our father's strange behaviour around her: climbing into her bed in the middle of the night, forcing her to suck his thumb - behaviour that had prompted him to enter into therapy focused on his inappropriate conduct with children prior to the allegations."
He goes on to compare major news outlets treatment of the allegations, comparing them to treatment of Woody Allen's art.
"When The New York Times ultimately ran my sister's story in 2014, it gave her 936 words online, embedded in an article with careful caveats. Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, put it on his blog. Soon afterward, the Times gave her alleged attacker twice the space - and prime position in the print edition, with no caveats or surrounding context. It was a stark reminder of how differently our press treats vulnerable accusers and powerful men who stand accused."
The timing of Farrow's piece isn't accidental. With Allen's latest film Café Society opening the Cannes Film Festival, the director has already been the butt of a joke at the opening ceremony. Master of ceremonies, French comedian Laurent Lafitte apparently drew gasps from the audience when he addressed this joke at Allen: "You've shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven't even been convicted of rape."
At the end of Farrow's article, he addresses this himself: "Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film. 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."
When asked about the piece Woody Allen refused to comment on the allegations of his son. "I said everything I had to say about that whole issue in The New York Times. I have moved so far past it. I never think about it. I work. I said I was never going to comment on it again. I said everything I have to say about it," he told Variety.