Selecting Woody Allen’s Cafe Society to open Cannes was always going to be fraught with danger. The decision appears to have already caused controversy with Laurent Lafitte, French comedian and master of ceremonies for the opening night, beginning the event by saying, "It's very nice that you've been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S."
Now Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow, has penned a scathing attack on his father, the media and Cannes for the constant forgiveness he has received in the wake of sexual assault allegations from his daughter, Dylan Farrow.
The activist, journalist and lawyer wrote in his op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter about how tough the allegations were on his family and drew parallels with Bill Cosby and how the media were slow to react or question the famed director’s character in the face of uncertainty.
“Very often, women with allegations do not or cannot bring charges,” he explained. “Very often, those who do come forward pay dearly, facing off against a justice system and a culture designed to take them to pieces. A reporter's role isn't to carry water for those women. But it is our obligation to include the facts, and to take them seriously. Sometimes, we're the only ones who can play that role.”
“Confronting a subject with allegations from women or children, not backed by a simple, dispositive legal ruling is hard. It means having those tough newsroom conversations, making the case for burning bridges with powerful public figures. It means going up against angry fans and angry publicists.”
"It hurts my sister every time one of her heroes like Louis C.K., or a star her age, like Miley Cyrus, works with Woody Allen. Personal is exactly what it is – for my sister, and for women everywhere with allegations of sexual assault that have never been vindicated by a conviction.”
Unfortunately, in Farrow’s opinion, he feels his father has been given a free ride by those within the industry. “Amazon paid millions to work with Woody Allen, bankrolling a new series and film. Actors, including some I admire greatly, continue to line up to star in his movies. ’It’s not personal’, one once told me. But it hurts my sister every time one of her heroes like Louis C.K., or a star her age, like Miley Cyrus, works with Woody Allen. Personal is exactly what it is – for my sister, and for women everywhere with allegations of sexual assault that have never been vindicated by a conviction.”
The final punch from Farrow comes when he doubles down on Cannes giving Allen top billing to open the festival. “Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film," he wrote. "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.”
Read the full piece in The Hollywood Reporter here.