Ronan Farrow Criticizes the "System That Protects Powerful and Dangerous Men"

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist credited a long list of #MeToo sources that ensured "fewer women have to face these fights alone" in a speech Wednesday at The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women in Entertainment event presented by Lifetime.

Ronan Farrow on Wednesday criticized the "system that protects powerful and dangerous men" and threatened both his immediate family and #MeToo sources in a speech at The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women in Entertainment event presented by Lifetime.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators talked about how his mother Mia Farrow and sister Dylan Farrow shaped his character while receiving THR's Equity in Entertainment Award from former Fox News anchor and journalist Gretchen Carlson. The Equity in Entertainment Award recognizes an individual who has worked against gender-based discrimination and toward greater inclusion of women and people of color in the entertainment industry.

Previous honorees of the Equity in Entertainment Award include producer Nina Jacobson, producer Amy Pascal and producer Ryan Murphy. Farrow is the first journalist to receive the honor.

"I’m the person I am because of two brave women in my life, my mother Mia and my sister Dylan. They faced the same system that protects powerful and dangerous men, and in so many ways, my mother was so alone in that fight," Farrow said. In the 1990s, Dylan Farrow accused her adopted father, Woody Allen, of molesting her as a child, a claim that her mother Mia supported through a public controversy over the claims.

Continued Farrow, "And how good to know that now, however much more work there is to do, however much change is yet to happen, fewer women have to face these fights alone."

Earlier in the speech, he downplayed his role in helping to spark the #MeToo movement with a blockbuster New Yorker story on sexual misconduct allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein by thanking many of his sources in his stories about sexual misconduct. "As I stand before the Women in Entertainment Gala, let’s face it: I don’t belong on this stage for a pretty obvious reason. I’m not in entertainment," said Farrow to laughs in the room. "In all seriousness, any award I’ve gotten, it’s because of brave women who were sources in my reporting."

He then named some of the many sources in his #MeToo stories: Ally Canosa, Ambra Gutierrez, Annabella Sciorra, Brooke Nevils, Christine Peters, Daryl Hannah, Deborah Green, Deborah Morris, Debra Williams, Debra Kitay, Dinah Kirgo, Emma de Caunes, Emily Nestor, Habiba Nosheen, Illeana Douglas, Jane Wallace, Janet Jones, Jennifer Laird, Jessica Barth, Jessica Pallingston, Karen McDougal, Katrina Wolfe, Linda Silverthorn, Lucia Evans, Maxine Page, Michelle Barrish, Mira Sorvino, Mo Cashin, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, Rosanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, Rowena Chiu, Sophie Dix, Sarah Johansen, Sophie Gayter, Tanya Selveratnam and Zelda Perkins.

The journalist concluded his speech by taking a step back from the women in the room at the gala. "Thank you for this award. I’ll leave it there. As a man on this stage, I’m well aware of the importance of shutting up and listening," he said.

In introducing Farrow, Carlson called him "our ally, among allies." She said, "We have a certain kinship as fellow journalists who have fought to expose injustices that ended up changing our industry and the world," and later added that Farrow provides "proof that the pen is truly mightier than the sword."

Farrow, in taking the stage, in turn discussed Carlson's latest initiative, the organization Lift Our Voices, which aims to end the company practice of using NDAs to silence stories of discrimination and sexual misconduct. "So true about nondisclosure agreements, the bane of all reporters," he said.

Two years after he helped set off the #MeToo movement, Farrow has had another big year as he released his book about the process of reporting that story, Catch and Kill, and accompanying podcast. Some of the bombshells in the book include a report that Weinstein was using reporting by the National Enquirer on NBC host Matt Lauer's alleged sexual misconduct to stop Farrow's reporting on him (the New Yorker story was originally at, and killed by, NBC). The network denies it was ever threatened with information about Lauer.

Farrow additionally wrote that NBC News knew about prior workplace misconduct allegations before Lauer was fired for a complaint over "inappropriate sexual behavior" in November 2017, contrary to public NBC statements. The network stands by its prior stance that it did not know about alleged bad behavior before the complaint that ousted Lauer two years ago.

Also in 2019, Farrow brought MIT Media Lab's close relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to light in another major story for The New Yorker. Farrow's report found that, despite publicly claiming Epstein was disqualified from donating, the media lab "continued to accept gifts from him, consulted him about the use of the funds, and, by marking his contributions as anonymous, avoided disclosing their full extent, both publicly and within the university." Not long after the story's publication, the director of the MIT Media lab stepped down.

Reese Witherspoon — who appears on the cover of THR's latest issue — was also honored at the event with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which was presented to her by Kerry Washington.

Washington, Carlson, Stacey Abrams, John Legend and Charlize Theron served as speakers and presenters. Deanna Brown, president of MRC Media, which includes THR and Billboard, and publisher Lynne Segall also made remarks, as did editorial director Matt Belloni and guest editor Olivia Wilde.

Also in attendance were notable names such as Niecy Nash, Sophia Bush, Janet Mock, Bonnie Arnold, Gigi Gorgeous, Connie Britton, Jennifer Salke, Bob Gersh, Maggie Rogers, Anna Paquin, Channing Dungey, Lori Greiner, Meg Whitman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Nina Shaw, Donna Langley, Dawn Hudson and Kaitlyn Dever, among others.

The Power 100 Women in Entertainment gala presented by Lifetime took place at L.A.'s Milk Studios and was sponsored by Cadillac, Fiji Water, Moroccan Oil, eOne, Gersh, SAG-AFTRA and Loyola Marymount University and presented in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.