Ronan Farrow, the reporter who helped expose the Harvey Weinstein scandal with his piece in The New Yorker, says there’s still much more to be revealed. Speaking with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Friday night, Farrow said his next article will attack “this machine that was so instrumental in keeping this quiet as long as it was quiet.”
“People have asked, ‘How could this many allegations have stayed undercover this long?’” he explained. “I think there’s much more to be said about just how far that went.”
Colbert asked if that meant “the people who aided and abetted it, how this was institutionalized in Hollywood.” Farrow replied, “In ways that, honestly, I didn’t even fathom going into this — and that’s not just Hollywood, Stephen, that’s people with power and money in this country and the way they wield it in every industry.”
Farrow mentioned this “machine” earlier in the interview when he reflected on the ongoing reporting. “The thing that was striking to me, too, was there was this particularly ugly and powerful machine aimed at securing silence, but also there’s a whole range of reasons why sexual assault survivors don’t come forward in every walk of life — whether it’s a woman in a blue-collar job or a woman in Hollywood,” he said. “There are the same profoundly personal reasons why it is sometimes almost impossible to come forward.”
After The New York Times published the initial exposé that brought decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein to the public eye, Farrow published his article in The New Yorker, which included an audio file of Weinstein admitting to groping model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.
Colbert pressed Farrow, who also contributes to NBC, on why his network wasn’t the one to break the story. The journalist didn’t want to address the situation, but stated, “It is very clear if you look at this story and how long it stayed quiet that it is of the utmost importance that any news organization that has damning evidence of ongoing criminal activity needs to run that, needs to investigate and interrogate it and run it.”
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Numerous other women have since come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, who has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex. The New York Police Department is gathering evidence against the now-disgraced Hollywood producer, and the Los Angeles Police Department is now probing for “lewd conduct” in 2015.
Farrow said he never believed the reporting would prompt so many women from various industries to come forward with their stories. “There were multiple moments where people around me would sit me down and say, ‘Look, are you sure you want to keep going with this?’” he recalled. “There’s a lot of pressure, and that’s something I’ve reported on, too. It wasn’t just directed at me, it was directed at a whole range of reporters.”
“Fundamentally,” he added, “it was very apparent early in the reporting on this that it was a public safety issue. You can’t stop going if you have evidence that there’s maybe an ongoing pattern of behavior that’s endangering people.”
Colbert concluded the interview by addressing allegations against Farrow’s father, Woody Allen, who has been accused of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. Allen adamantly denied the claim. Farrow, though, published a column in The Hollywood Reporter condemning the media for not asking Allen — and the stars who have worked with him — about the accusations.
Since Farrow’s Weinstein reporting was published, Allen called the situation “very sad for everybody involved” and hoped the scandal doesn’t “lead to a witch hunt atmosphere.”
“There was no direct link in the sense that there was some personal connection there that motivated me to look at this story [about Weinstein]. It was an assignment I received and I actually didn’t know about it until then,” Farrow said. “What was instrumental in linking these two things [Weinstein and Allen] and helping drive me during this story was sexual assault was an issue that had touched my family.”
He continued, “I understood over time the importance of confronting it honestly and the importance of tough, meticulous reporting in exposing these kinds of crimes. In my case, I was for many years one of the people around the victim of sexual assault saying, ‘Why bother coming forward more? What’ll it achieve? It’s just gonna bring shame and trouble, and it’s a powerful guy,’ and it was a long process of my realizing, you know, no, the fact that she wants to speak is something important ethically and I, as a reporter, too — whether you’re looking at Bill Cosby or Roger Ailes or Harvey Weinstein — have to get tougher. We all have to get tougher.”
Watch Farrow on The Late Show in the video above.