Woody Allen was swift in his retribution for a piece published by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday—Allen used his enormous influence to ban reporters from the well-respected outlet at an event at the Cannes Film Festival.
THR published a column written by Ronan Farrow, son of Allen’s ex-wife Mia Farrow; Farrow slammed the media for remaining silent and neutral regarding rape allegations toward Allen made by his sister, Dylan Farrow.
The media has effectively chosen to ignore Farrow’s allegations that Allen sexually abused her when she was a small child, as have numerous actors who continue to work with Allen without qualms.
Comedian Laurent Lafitte alluded to these claims during a monologue at the Cannes opening ceremony: “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,” he shot at Allen.
Apparently, Allen did not take kindly to the continued references to his past. Tatiana Siegel, a reporter for THR, tweeted that she and three of her colleagues were unable to attend a luncheon for “Café Society” (Allen’s new film) due to Allen’s publicist, Lelsee Dart.
But Woody's team definitely has. That's why I was banned from Cafe Society lunch today (and three of my colleagues). https://t.co/MTADFn782l— Tatiana Siegel (@TatianaSiegel27) May 12, 2016
The fact that THR reporters were banned from an A-list event because they had the temerity to publish an unfavorable Woody Allen article epitomizes the problem Farrow points out in his column:
“Being in the media as my sister’s story made headlines, and Woody Allen’s PR engine revved into action, gave me a window into just how potent the pressure can be to take the easy way out. Every day, colleagues at news organizations forwarded me the emails blasted out by Allen’s powerful publicist, who had years earlier orchestrated a robust publicity campaign to validate my father’s sexual relationship with another one of my siblings…
The open CC list on those emails revealed reporters at every major outlet with whom that publicist shared relationships — and mutual benefit, given her firm’s starry client list, from Will Smith to Meryl Streep. Reporters on the receiving end of this kind of PR blitz have to wonder if deviating from the talking points might jeopardize their access to all the other A-list clients.”
For journalists, access is everything, and limiting this access is a powerful means of controlling the press.
In this instance, Siegel spoke out, which puts Allen and his team in a difficult spot—he will be forced to address these allegations for the remainder of his career.
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