Journalist Ronan Farrow was honored by the Point Foundation on Monday for his impactful work as a reporter over the last year — including a series for The New Yorker about the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, as well as his groundbreaking reporting for NBC on transgender issues.
Farrow, long a private person even though his parents are Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, used his acceptance speech to make something clear.
After being presented the Point Courage award by fellow Point Foundation honoree and former MSNBC colleague Thomas Roberts, Farrow said:
"Being a part of the LGBT community, which recognized that reporting I was doing early on and elevated it, and has been such a stalwart source of support through the sexual assault reporting I did involving survivors who felt equally invisible — that has been an incredible source of strength for me. LGBT people are some of the bravest and most potent change agents and leaders I have encountered, and the most forceful defenders of the vulnerable and voiceless, because they know what it’s like to be there."
Farrow also spoke with The Advocate, personally thanking the publication for its reporting on LGBT issues.
“I spent a long time reporting on trans issues and I know in the course of that reporting I saw how deeply adversity runs,” Farrow said. “I saw that the LGBT community is one of the most powerful resources we have. These are the most important leaders we can harness. These are the strongest people with the greatest sense of ingenuity, who in the process of facing that kind of adversity become powerhouses. What Point Foundation does is make these people feel seen and facilitate them in being part of the solution, instead of being just another number, and another tragedy.”
When asked how it felt to be one of the most high-profile LGBT journalists working today, Farrow said, "it's a huge honor." He expressed gratitude for the community supporting him through his reporting, from trans issues to his groundbreaking sexual assault and harassment stories, which helped change how society views victims.
Farrow points out that there’s a “through line” between his trans and sexual assault stories, because he's “reporting on people who felt invisible about an issue they thought would never be seen or heard. And I think the LGBT community understands that as well as anyone in this country.”
During his speech, Farrow spoke about Eve, a transgender student he followed at Notre Dame for nearly a year, culminating into a feature for the Today show highlighting the experiences of being trans, not only on a college campus, but also in the United States.
“Life was seldom easy for Eve. She was denied access to women’s housing. She was bullied and teased. Her own father never came around to calling her Eve, or accepting her identity. She attempted suicide,” he said in his speech. “For people like Eve, life can be profoundly isolating. On her campus, she was literally alone. She was the only transgender person there. And the numbers tell us how dangerous that isolation can be when people aren’t given support.”
— Thomas Roberts (@ThomasARoberts) April 10, 2018
Farrow’s series for The New Yorker on the allegations against Weinstein led to a tremendous cultural shift, popularizing activist Tarana Burke’s phrase she coined on social media — #MeToo. The hashtag became a worldwide movement uplifting the voices of sexual abuse survivors.
“I’ve been incredibly inspired by the women who came forward,” he said, “and the huge follow up movement, which are both men and women.”
“Absolutely, men need to be a part of this," Farrow said. "Men need to come forward about abuse. We need to hear those stories more, [and] we don’t do enough to recognize them. Also, I’d point out that men who aren’t necessarily survivors have to be part of that conversation. They have to be telling those stories. They have to be listening to women and men who are survivors. They have to be building policies that treat those people better.”
Farrow added that those who “speak out about a difficult issue, where they risk their jobs their physical safety” are some of his biggest inspirations. “I’m so grateful as someone trying to tell those stories every time a source says, ‘You know what? I’m going to put it all on the line to be part of this.’ So I’m thankful for everyone who speaks.”