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Farrow, the Pulitzer-winning whiz chronicling #MeToo

Jennie Matthew

Agence France-Presse

New York, United States  /  Thu, October 4, 2018  /  10:06 pm
Farrow, the Pulitzer-winning whiz chronicling #MeToo

Ronan Farrow attends Variety's Power of Women: New York at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (AFP/Angela Weiss)

Ronan Farrow is the whiz kid prodigy and preeminent chronicler of America's sexual harassment watershed, whose bombshell exposes have sunk a litany of powerful men, spawned the #MeToo movement and won a Pulitzer.

The only biological child of actress-activist Mia Farrow and famed director Woody Allen -- or "possibly" Frank Sinatra -- at 30 years old, Farrow bucks the trend of celebrity progeny insulated from the real world by privilege.

Much has been made of his parents' poisonous separation and his support of seven-year-old sister Dylan -- who accuses Allen of molesting her -- as having laid the foundation for his reporting.

His exposes for The New Yorker -- after months of painstakingly persuading women to speak out -- helped bring down movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, now charged, forced to wear a GPS monitor and facing trial.

While most journalists work a lifetime without ever breaking such a huge story, Farrow won the prestigious Pulitzer public service medal for his first outing for the magazine, shared with The New York Times.

Since then, he has written expose after expose, forcing the resignation of CBS ex-CEO Les Moonves, for decades one of the most powerful men in television, and New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

Last month, he and investigative journalist Jane Mayer turned their sights on Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, bringing to light a second allegation of sexual misconduct from the 1980s.

The Yale Law School alumnus was calm and articulate, hitting back at concerns about Deborah Ramirez's certainty that the jurist was the culprit, a lack of witnesses and being inebriated at the time.

Read also: Woody Allen's wife Soon-Yi weighs in on Mia Farrow

- Renaissance man -

"That's extremely typical of these stories when you're dealing with trauma, alcohol, many years in between," Farrow told ABC News.

"The more cautious witnesses that I've dealt with, in cases like this, very frequently say, 'I want to... make sure that I can affirmatively stand by these claims' in the face of what she knew would be a crucible of partisan push back."

But reporting is just one string to his bow. Farrow is something of a 21st century Renaissance man, seemingly able to turn his hand to anything.

Earlier this year, he published an ambitious, best-selling tome, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, exploring a major theme at a time of budget cuts by the Trump administration.

Farrow, who interviewed every single living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Rex Tillerson, argued that the decline has been decades in the making, and spans the Balkans to Afghanistan, China and North Korea.

Born on December 19, 1987 in New York and initially known by first name Satchel, he graduated from Bard College aged 15 and Yale Law School at 21, before going to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship.

As a 17-year-old he was a spokesperson for youth at UNICEF and an advocate for women and children caught up in the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.

Read also: NBC accused of trying to quash Weinstein harassment probe

- 'Heartbroken' -

He went on to work in Afghanistan and Pakistan for late US diplomat Richard Holbrooke before becoming an adviser to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton on global youth issues in 2011.

In 2014, he fronted an hour-long program on left-leaning MSNBC. If the program bombed, his subsequent New Yorker success has sparked blowback against the network for failing to cultivate his true talents.

Nor is he just clever: his piercing blue eyes and tousled blonde hair made him one of People magazine's sexiest men in 2013.

There is also endless public interest in his home life. He is one of 14 brothers and sisters, most of them adopted from all over the world.

His parents' relationship imploded when Allen began an affair with Mia's adopted daughter Soon-Yi and Ronan is estranged from his father.

Farrow sides with his sister Dylan's claims that Allen molested her. The director denies the allegations.

"I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow. She is a devoted mom who went through hell for her family all while creating a loving home," he wrote after a recent Soon-Yi interview that he mocked as a "hit job".

In May, he told graduates at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, that his career was on the rocks before his Weinstein reporting went public.

"I wish I could tell you I was confident... or that I said 'to hell with it,'" he said. "But the real version of this was that I was heartbroken, and I was scared, and I had no idea if I was doing the right thing."

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