Ronan Farrow was born into fame. Both of his parents, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, were household names by the time he entered the picture and he’s been immersed in celebrity ever since. But fame isn’t always glamorous and Ronan has made a career of exposing the grim underbelly of Hollywood — something that’s won him a Pulitzer Prize and much acclaim in the process.
This need to help others get their voices heard has always been a part of Ronan’s personality. Long before he was championing the #MeToo movement or toppling Harvey Weinstein‘s empire, he was working with the United Nations and UNICEF. He then turned his sights to diplomacy as a State Department special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan before finally landing on investigative journalism. But while his work for The New Yorker has earned him plenty of praise, it’s also resulted in numerous enemies. Here are all of the celebs who simply can’t stand Ronan Farrow.
Woody Allen thinks his son is not ‘an honest journalist’
If blood is thicker than water, Ronan Farrow and dad Woody Allen are an exception. Over the years, they’ve publicly criticized each other and exchanged increasingly harsh words. For example, when Allen was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2014 Golden Globes, Farrow took to Twitter to denounce the win. "Missed the Woody Allen tribute, did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?" he slammed in a since-deleted tweet (via ABC News).
Said woman was Farrow’s adoptive sister, Dylan, who told CBS This Morning that Allen sexually assaulted her in 1992 — a claim the director has denied while publicly criticizing his son’s fact-checking. When The New York Times questioned Ronan’s journalistic integrity in 2020, Allen told The Telegraph that his estranged son’s journalistic shortcomings are something he’s always known about. "I found him to not be an honest journalist in relation to me at all," he said, adding that "now people are beginning to realize that it isn’t just in relation to me that his journalism has been kind of shoddy, and I’m not so sure that his credibility is going to last."
Another point of contention occurred when Allen lost his 2020 publishing deal with Farrow’s publisher, Hachette, in part due to Farrow’s criticism that pubbing Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing, was "wildly unprofessional." It was eventually picked up by the independent Arcade Publishing.
Moses Farrow is sure Ronan Farrow was ‘brainwashed’
Ronan and Dylan Farrow may want nothing to do with their father, but brother Moses Farrow (whom Mia Farrow adopted in 1980 and Allen adopted in 1991), took the director’s side. He went on record to discredit his siblings’ claims that Woody assaulted Dylan in a May 2018 essay in which he explained that "given the incredibly inaccurate and misleading attacks on my father … I feel that I can no longer stay silent as he continues to be condemned for a crime he did not commit."
Moses, who was 14 at the time of Dylan’s alleged assault, claims he was "present for everything that transpired in our house before, during, and after the alleged event." He says there were also seven other people there and that "none of us would have allowed Dylan to step away with Woody, even if he tried." He then accuses their mother, Mia Farrow, of physical abuse and "brainwashing," claiming that after she learned of Woody’s intimate relationship with Mia’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi, she began "drilling it into our heads like a mantra: Woody was ‘evil,’ ‘a monster,’ ‘the devil.’" Noting that "this was the constant refrain," he added that Ronan soon became a believer. "So often did she repeat it that [four-year-old Ronan] would announce to one of our nannies, ‘My sister is f***ing my father.’"
Ronan responded (via IndieWire) that it’s "not worth saying much to dignify the repeated campaign to discredit my sister, often by attacking our mother."
Harvey Weinstein might not be in jail if not for Ronan Farrow
Harvey Weinstein was easily Hollywood’s biggest producer until Ronan Farrow helped strike him down. In March 2020, he was sentenced to 23 years behind bars after being convicted of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, as reported by CNN. While it was undoubtedly the #MeToo movement that toppled Weinstein, Ronan’s 2017 expose in The New Yorker, titled "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories," helped launch the movement itself.
As The Washington Post noted, Farrow played an integral role as he "overcame spies and intimidation to break some of the biggest stories of the #MeToo era." He managed to conduct numerous interviews with victims whom Weinstein and "his legal and public-relations teams" had kept quiet for decades, thus blowing down Weinstein’s house of cards. The New Yorker feature went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and although the disgraced movie mogul has never addressed Farrow, it’s safe to assume he might not be in jail were it not for him. As the The New York Times pointed out, Farrow’s "ability to shine a light on some of the defining stories of our time … culminated with Mr. Weinstein’s conviction."
Did Hillary Clinton cut Ronan Farrow out of her life?
Ronan Farrow worked as a special adviser on global youth issues to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 2011 to 2012, and the two built a friendship, which he says Clinton ended following his New Yorker expose on Harvey Weinstein. In Catch and Kill, Farrow claims that, while working on the Weinstein feature, he wanted to interview his former boss about foreign policy for an unrelated book. That’s when he received an email from her publicist, Nick Merrill, telling him (via Insider) that the "big story" he was writing was a "concern for us."
Once the New Yorker piece was published, Clinton released a statement saying she "was shocked and appalled by the revelations," but Farrow maintained that "the conversation [with Merrill] did happen. People can interpret the fact how they will, whether she was nervous about associating with someone who was reporting on a friend of hers who held a lot of power and held the strings to a lot of fundraising," Farrow told Insider.
While Clinton has never spoken out against Farrow, he told the Financial Times (via Daily Mail) that Clinton (who "took more cash from Harvey Weinstein than any other Democrat," according to the New York Post) shut him out. "It’s remarkable how quickly even people with a long relationship with you will turn if you threaten the centers of power or sources of funding around them," he said, adding, "They’re beholden to powerful interests, you become radioactive very quickly."
Matt Lauer says Ronan Farrow lacks common sense
While the main focus of 2019’s Catch and Kill is Harvey Weinstein, Ronan Farrow also addresses Matt Lauer’s fall from grace. The Today anchor was fired from NBC in 2017 after being accused of "inappropriate sexual behavior" by fellow employee Brooke Nevils. While she originally remained anonymous, she went on the record in Catch and Kill in what Variety dubbed an "explosive" interview.
Lauer remained quiet until May 2020 when he denounced Farrow’s reporting in an Mediaite op-ed, admitting to a "consensual, yet inappropriate relationship with a fellow employee," but writing that he was "falsely accused of rape" by Nevils and that Farrow didn’t bother to fact-check her account. "At no time did Brooke Nevils ever use the words ‘assault’ or ‘rape’ … while filing her complaint with NBC," Lauer alleged. He went on to list how he felt "Ronan betrayed the truth," claiming that he "failed to confirm" claims, "used misleading language to manipulate readers," failed to present certain evidence, and twisted narratives to "suit his activist goals." Lauer concluded by accusing Farrow of "[abandoning] common sense and true fact checking in favor of salacious, and deeply flawed, material."
Farrow replied on Twitter, writing, "All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong." Both the journalist and his publishing house backed the reporting in the book, with the latter stating (via Deadline), "[Ronan’s] impeccable attention to detail and nuance make us proud to be his publisher.
Asia Argento said Ronan Farrow ‘ruined’ her life
In April 2018, The New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for Ronan Farrow’s headline-making takedown on producer-turned-predator, Harvey Weinstein. Just four days before, one of the women interviewed for the award-winning story was telling a Harvard auditorium she wasn’t happy with the way it turned out.
Italian director and actor Asia Argento criticized Farrow, saying he failed to grasp the full scope of Weinstein’s abuse, which began in 1997 when she was 21 years old. Saying that Farrow’s reporting was "a simplification" of the truth, she added that it resulted in a "re-victimization," which was "worse than the rape." Noting that she had voiced her opinion to Farrow, she continued, "It’s hard for him to accept that this summarization, this simplification ruined my life. He told me, ‘I am sorry that you feel this way.’ Well, it’s not that I feel this way; it’s what’s written that is wrong."
Later speaking with Non è l’arena in October 2018, Argento also accused Farrow of making false claims. Farrow wrote in The New Yorker that Argento "eventually yielded to Weinstein’s further advances and even grew close to him" and that "she said that she had consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years." Argento told the Italian show (via the Daily Mail), "I never went to dinner, never slept with him or lived with him, and I never worked with him again after the rape."
The media is turning against Ronan Farrow
Ronan Farrow has alienated siblings, celebrities, and investigation targets, but perhaps most surprisingly, fellow journalists turned on him, too. In May 2020, New York Times reporter Ben Smith (above left) penned a scathing review dubbed "Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?" Calling into question everything from Farrow’s sources to his fact-checking, Smith alleged that "a close examination reveals the weaknesses in what may be called an era of resistance journalism."
Writing of Farrow’s "Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records," Smith claims "prosecutors and court documents" later invalidated much of the reporting. As for his #MeToo work and Catch and Kill book, Smith says that Farrow is so concerned about delivering "narratives that are irresistibly cinematic" that "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."
Even Ken Auletta, The New Yorker writer who helped Farrow get his Weinstein piece published, was forced to admit, "Are all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted? No." As for Smith, he echoed Matt Lauer, in part, characterizing Farrow’s work as "resistance journalism" that services "the tides of social media and produce[s] damaging reporting about public figures most disliked by the loudest voices," rather than adhering to "the old rules of fairness and open-mindedness."
Farrow, once again under fire, launched a lengthy Twitter thread debunking many of Smith’s claims, which he concluded with: "I stand by my reporting."