Ronan Farrow’s #metoo moment

Ronan Farrow’s #metoo moment

Ronan Farrow’s #metoo moment

Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow is the target of a gossip ragman’s campaign of legal threats. The legal battle is brewing between investigative journalism and “extortionist” media. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the story that took down an accused serial rapist, Farrow is the latest #metoo target of Dylan Howard’s “catch and kill” tactics. 

Ronan Farrow is no stranger to facing uphill battles. His unwavering support for his sister’s claims of sexual abuse by their father, Woody Allen, has placed him firmly on the side of the underdog. The release of his new book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” finds him in the legal crosshairs of  Dylan Howard. Howard, Chief Content Officer & Vice-President of American Media, Inc, is a formidable opponent. 

Farrow V Howard

Farrow’s book is blurbed as,

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement. Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture.”

Sexual abuse at the hands of powerful and well connected people is a huge, and incredibly important topic. One that crosses political, cultural, and every other distinguishing line. What about this book incites a media executive to preemptively quash, via multiple legal teams, an unreleased book? Nobody can say for certain, because the book isn’t available for two weeks.

Farrow’s Book Mucks Murky Waters

Howard has been cited as a participant in the “Catch and Kill” approach to journalism. Whereby a media publication will obtain the exclusive rights to a story, incorporate a strict non-disclosure agreement, and then effectively kill the story by never publishing it. This of course doesn’t mean the story ends. The Catch and Kill concept can force a reluctant partnership, because now a giant media conglomerate owns a potentially harmful story.

It is alleged that former CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods have been ensnared by this business model. According to LA Times,

the Enquirer softened its coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger during his run for Governor of California in 2004, and paid $20,000 to “catch and kill” a story about an alleged affair. Schwarzenegger then acted as a consultant for AMI’s collection of fitness magazines, and was named executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex.”

A similar scenario happened between the AMI conglomerate and Tiger Woods,

the two sides hammered out a contract detailing guidelines for the interview and the photo shoot, as well as the guarantee that the story of Mr. Woods’s rendezvous in the church parking lot wouldn’t be printed.”

Bezos V Howard

Most famously the world’s richest man became ensnared in this Catch and Kill style. Jeff Bezos uses the word “extortion” in his public blog about interactions with Dylan Howard and AMI,

Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)”

For the record, I’m incredibly blessed in my life. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I dream of the freedom that accompanies the echelon of “F YOU!” money. Personally, if I were Bezos, I’d buy the entire AMI conglomerate and it’s inventory of killed stories. Publish those things in the lagging WaPo and release everyone from the bonds of extortion.

Lawsuits as Intimidation Because Farrow is Digging Up Dirt?

Dylan Howard has faced accusations of inappropriate conduct in the workplace. From Newsweek,

Twelve of Howard’s former employees told the AP that Howard, who apparently referred to himself as “Dildo” in the office, would openly discuss his sexual partners and his female employees’ sexual habits in the newsroom. He was also accused of forcing female colleagues to watch or listen to pornography.”

A guy who has questionable editorial ethics, has been publicly accused of extortion, and accused of using his position to protect & enable abusers is now fighting the release of a book about powerful sexual predators. If anything, it makes me want to buy this book. In fact, I’m ordering it and will do a VG book review for the blog.

Thank You First Amendment

Dylan Howard’s efforts to stymie the release of Ronan Farrow’s book cross international borders. He’s hired legal teams in Sydney, London, and New York in support of his attempt to ban the book. His team is threatening book publishers, and distributers (though something tells me Amazon may not care about his wishes). This is a very aggressive tactic for something that isn’t yet released. Does Howard expect to be personally damaged by the contents of the book? Is he the frontman for other people who are fearful of being listed? We won’t know until we read it. Thankfully the First Amendment will very likely protect the book in American markets. The same cannot be said for others. But, in this digital world where information spreads, be it true or not, Farrow’s book is bound to be an international best seller. If Mr. Howard is listed amongst the subjects, I can think of nothing more fitting for the man who helped publish the National Enquirer.

Featured Image: Flicker License: CC 2.0 Image Cropped: 400×400


Written by

"CC" to her friends. Recent escapee from Northern VA to the Great State of Texas. I'm a Pro-LIfe, Pro-Gun, Libertarian type... There is very little that fresh lime juice and good tequila can't fix.

  • GWB says:

    ban the book
    Yeah, that’s not gonna happen – legally – in America.
    The only way to use prior constraint on a book would be to prove it is defamatory. And, given this guy’s stature and the current state of our slander laws, it would be pretty difficult to prove.

    Now, claiming slander in some other places is much easier.

    • Libel.
      That’s going to be a hard sell. Maybe they can try for defamation of character. But depending upon whom is named, it will be tough. The guy who retained legal counsel is probably going to have a hard time proving either. But, the book will be released in America. And I’m 100% certain that Farrow will have some behind the scenes support if he needs to retain counsel. While it’s tied up in the court for years… the book will be on the market. Even if it’s the Grey Market. The accusations will be public, and the court of public opinion will reign, demanding investigations.

  • docweasel says:

    Not with you here. I think Farrow is a scumbag himself who is digging out a career by muck-raking. He’s no saint, and he’s no ultimate moral arbiter. He’s been caught lying before and he inserted himself into the Kavanaugh hearings as well. This is one of those situations where I wish they could both be totally destroyed and we wouldn’t have to hear from them anymore.

    • “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” ~ Kautilya, The Arthashastra
      While I don’t have old boy on my actual list of admired people, I’ll give him all the positive press he needs in this instance. There is an undeniable current of sexual abuse that runs rampant in powerful and wealthy circles. They are protected, coddled, and above the law. If this book shines even a little light on their names, I’m all for it.
      Re: Kavanaugh… Farrow is a liberal, and progressive at that. Unfortunately the ethos that “all victims are always believed” even in the face of absurd accusations is a travesty. She was neither a credible witness, nor had anyone who could corroborate any of her events or timeline. She looked and acted unstable from the get go. Were he a liberal appointee, it never would have seen the light of day. This is the world where we operate, and as a Libertarian I welcome the conservatives into the up current swim. Hopefully the mainstream will continue to be appalled by the progressive fringe (and I think they are), and not enticed by “free stuff”…. But my post was geared toward supporting the freedom of writers to publish whatever they like, and this applies to everything I hate too. I don’t like bullies, and the subject of my post, who isn’t Farrow, is a big bully. I dream of having Bezos money and admire the heck out of what he did.
      Shining light is good because if it’s unfounded, like Dr. Ford, it fades to the background. If there is something to verify bad things happened, like Cosby/Weinstein/Epstein (eventually), they pay the price. I have no tolerance for people who use their position to intimidate others into doing something they otherwise wouldn’t do. Worse still if their position allows them to escape penalty.

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