In his last book, Michael Wolff, the famous journalist who prefers to be regarded as a writer, has gathered a collection of essays on famous media figures and other big bad men. After three inflammatory books on the Trump administration – his 2018 “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” followed by his 2019 “Siege: Trump Under Fire,” and his recent 2021 “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency” – his last book, “Too Famous, The Rich, the Powerful, the Wishful, the Notorious, the Damned,” is a series of portraits of powerful monsters and media whores. Among essays on Jeffrey Epstein, Tucker Carlson, Jared Kushner, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Harvey Weinstein, Boris Johnson, Steve Bannon, there is one on Ronan Farrow, and this chapter is surely not going to make everyone happy. An excerpt from Wolff’s book (precisely the chapter on Ronan) has just been published by LA Mag and this is everything I expected and more.
Since the publication of his book “Catch and Kill,” Ronan Farrow has made a career as a champion of the #metoo movement and has revived a campaign against his estranged father Woody Allen, drawing comparisons between the sexual abuse allegations against Allen and the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, while forcing a culture dominated by virtue signaling to cancel everything-Woody-Allen.
Wolff is one of the few people who dares to offer a very different perspective on the Farrow phenomenon: it is the perspective of a man who has been around and is obviously not fooled by the Farrow machine. Wolff even advances that Ronan’s book “is much less about Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes than it is about the unfairness and deceit and downright corruption of the media overlords working full-time against Farrow.” Ironically, Farrow always portrays himself as the underdog, the victim fighting against powerful media people whereas Farrow is himself is a pure product of media: Think about it, he was given his own show without any television experience, was advertised as the possible son of Frank Sinatra by his mother during an interview with Vanity Fair – although they have never provided any sort of evidence to prove or disprove this affirmation. He was also introduced by Mia into high political circles, ending working briefly for Hillary Clinton, and there was even an effort to cast him as a would-be diplomat. Let’s say he gets around, especially due to his mother’s powerful connections. Even his position at the New Yorker seems to be due to a family connection.
Meanwhile, Farrow has managed to let the public believe that his revival of the charges against Allen, which has been “dormant for more than two decades,” was the “David facing the Goliath media,” whereas Woody Allen is far from being media savvy: “the eighty-four-year-old Allen’s media team is mostly a relic from the 1970s,” Wolff writes
As usual, Wolff is here to tell us how it is and he dissects Farrow’s rise without sparing any fraudulent detail: Farrow was basically fired because his NBC show was a flop, and was given a temporary assignment to the Today show. He then jumped on the Weinstein story that became the center of his career. Once again Farrow presented himself as the avenger fighting the bad sexual predator and the media, largely focusing on the conspiracy to silence him. In the wake of the success “Catch and Kill,” Wolff compares Farrow to Weinstein: if the powerful sex offender was this demanding figure threatening people, Farrow, then a Pulitzer Prize recipient, acts the exact same way: the righteous fighter “accuses virtually every ranking news-division executive at NBC of some form of sexual transgression,” threatens and pressures New York Magazine to make significant changes in Daphne Merkin’s story on Allen’s wife Soon-Yi Previn – “the piece would have been much more devastating, except that Farrow closely tracked the story—as Weinstein would track Farrow’s story about him.” Farrow also campaigns against his father’s memoir “Apropos of Nothing,” which was soon dropped by the publishing company, Hachette. To Michael Wolff, Ronan Farrow is a fraud who is never afraid to act like a bully.
“It is undoubtedly heretical to compare Farrow to Weinstein,” Wolff writes. “And yet each seems to have seen the media business as a personal battlefield, a kill-or-be-killed prison yard. And for many, there are similar fears in crossing them—part of the reason so many young actors and actresses have publicly elected not to work with Allen is the fear of Farrow’s condemnation.”
Michael Wolff even suggests that Ronan Farrow may have pursued the vendetta against his father while knowing it was a likely fake. I don’t know, but it’s certainly a possibility, Farrow cannot ignore his brother Moses’ damaging revelations, and he cannot ignore his mother’s more than flawed behavior: she met Sinatra when she was still a teenager (and married him at 21; he was 50); she got pregnant with Andre Previn when he was still married, leading to wife Dory Previn’s nervous breakdown and hospitalization; her brother is in prison for sex abuse (something that, ironically, Farrow has never alluded to); Mia has defended Roman Polanski when he was convicted of raping a 13-year-old; three of her fourteen children died at a young age under bizarre circumstances – Thaddeus died by suicide at 29, Tam died at 17 from an overdose or suicide depending whom you believe and estranged daughter Lark died at 35 from AIDS; Mia broke Ronan’s legs to make him taller, a painful surgery that was part of the making of Ronan, a blue-eyed GQ model, a perfectly crafted media creature.
The story sold by the media has largely ignored what Michael Wolff is telling us in his book, and the truth is long overdue although it will, unfortunately, not stop Ronan Farrow’s rise.
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