Journalist Accuses Ronan Farrow (& Family) of Trying to Kill Her Soon-Yi Previn Profile

Wednesday May 27, 2020

It hasn't been a great last few days for Ronan Farrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose investigative reporting is at the core of the Me Too Movement. First, New York Times media reporter Ben Smith published a damning piece in which he wondered "if Mr. Farrow didn't, at times, fly a little too close to the sun," and claims he ignored journalistic standards in his reportage.

"He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic," Smith writes. "At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove."

Matt Lauer, whom Farrow accuses of raping a NBC news producer in 2017 in his best-seller "Catch and Kill," struck back the next day with a piece on Mediaite claiming that Farrow, a former NBC employee who briefly had his own show on MSNBC, published "deeply flawed" material in reporting on him, saying Farrow ignored basic journalistic guidelines and was biased against the network.

Then this weekend the New York Post reported that Farrow (and his family) put pressure on New York magazine not to published a profile by journalist Daphne Merkin of Soon-Yi Previn, the wife of Previn's father and his step-sister (through adoption) in 2018. According to Merkin, Team Farrow directed a pressure campaign toward top brass at New York magazine in the days before they published her profile.

"I wasn't used to this level of fear ... fear of Ronan, of being sued, of the power of Mia and Ronan, simply culturally, their power on Twitter," Merkin said.

"Merkin's story included Previn's brutal assessment of Mia Farrow's parenting and her dismissal of decades-long Farrow family allegations that Allen sexually assaulted his 7-year-old adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992," writes the New York Post.

"The alleged pressure campaign succeeded in knocking the story off the cover of the Sept. 17 issue, which Merkin says she was promised in exchange for agreeing to changes from Team Farrow."

Team Farrow demanded that Merkin call herself a "friend" of Allen, though she says she knew him, but had seen him maybe once or twice a year for a drink, and was never invited to his "Christmas parties or any of that stuff."

But despite her claim, "critics zeroed in on this admission of friendship to savage Merkin as incapable of reporting objectively," writes the Post.

Merkin, a former staff writer for the New Yorker, said she "never had this much interference [and] oversight." She said, "I said more than once that maybe I should pull it."

New York magazine editor-in-chief Adam Moss also got a phone call from Ronan "demanding he pull the plug on the 9,000-word story, a person who spoke to the former editor about the matter told The Post."

"Ronan did call Moss and Moss expressed unhappiness about the call. [Farrow] definitely tried to prevent New York magazine from publishing, the source said. The magazine also confirmed Farrow did try to 'discourage' the piece," adds the Post.

Merkin also claims that Farrow's legal team received a partial or full-draft of her story prior to publication, which she addressed in a email to her editors. "I feel there is some cowering going on in the face of The New Yorker's holy status & Ronan's cultural capital," she wrote.

The Post reached out to Farrow, but he declined to comment, though a close associated said that he "didn't want to kill that story" and accused the magazine of "deeply unethical" behavior.

He "only wanted to understand the story better, so he could advise his sister, who was worried about a piece that discussed her sexual assault," the source continued.

New York magazine denied that Merkin was promised the cover or that Farrow's team saw an advance copy of her story.

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