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Toxic Family Feud: Woody Allen Accuses Ronan Farrow of 'Shoddy' Journalism

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sunday May 31, 2020
Woody Allen
Woody Allen  (Source:Associated Press)

On Friday, Woody Allen joined in on trashing the Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, who happens to be his son.

The occasion for Allen's fatherly criticism came in an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph (available behind a firewall), in conjunction with the publication of his autobiography, "Apropos of Nothing." The publication of the book was fraught with controversy when its original publisher, Hachette Book Group, chose not to release it under pressure from Farrow and its own employees. The book subsequently founded a new publisher, Arcade Publishing.

In the interview, Allen calls Farrow's work "shoddy" and may not be "ethical or honest," reports the Daily Mail.

"Up until a couple of days ago I would have said 'Gee, this is great, he's done some good investigative journalism and more power to him, I wish him all the success in the world,'" the director said about Farrow to the Telegraph. "But now it's come out that his journalism has not been so ethical or honest."

Ronan Farrow  (Source: Associated Press)

Allen was referring to a damning piece in The New York Times published on May 17 by Ben Smith that skewed Farrow's methods and accuracy, claiming him too good to be true.

"He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic. At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove," writes Smith.

Farrow also made news recently for having supposedly strong-armed editors at New York Magazine to not publish and/or soften a piece about Soon-Yi Previn, Allen's wife and Farrow's stepsister and stepmother. Farrow and Allen are estranged.

"Daphne Merkin, 65, the reporter who wrote the piece, said the sheer influence of Farrow and his family was overwhelming," she told the New York Post.

"I wasn't used to this level of fear ... fear of Ronan, of being sued, of the power of Mia and Ronan, simply culturally, their power on Twitter," said Merkin.

Allen also addressed the controversies surrounding the release of his film "A Rainy Day in New York," which continues to top world-wide box office records in a severely diminished marketplace. The film, which was disowned by Amazon Studios that produced it and shunned by some of the actors who star in it, "has reportedly become the highest-earning film at the global box office" earlier this month.

"With most of the world's cinemas shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, 'A Rainy Day in New York' is reported by Box Office Mojo to have earned over $330,000 last weekend in South Korea, after the country began to ease its strict lockdown in recent days," reports the Guardian.

Asked why actors who have worked with him, such as Mira Sorvino, Greta Gerwig, Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall, are distancing themselves from him, he said it has become "the fashionable thing to do, like everybody suddenly eating kale."

"They did so after the #MeToo movement brought a renewed focus on allegations that the Oscar-winning star sexually assaulted his adoptive daughter Dylan, which he vehemently denies," writes the Daily Mail.

"Anything I say sounds self-serving and defensive, so it's best if I just go my way and work," Allen told The Guardian in a separate interview.

"It's silly. The actors have no idea of the facts and they latch on to some self-serving, public, safe position.

"I assume that for the rest of my life a large number of people will think I was a predator."

In his autobiography he specifically addresses actors Timothée Chalamet comments about appearing in "A Rainy Day in New York," in which he expressed regret for appearing in the film and giving his salary away to charity.

"Timothée afterward publicly stated he regretted working with me and was giving the money to charity," Allen writes.

"But he swore to my sister he needed to do that as he was up for an Oscar for 'Call Me by Your Name,' and he and his agent felt he had a better chance of winning if he denounced me, so he did."

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].

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