NYT Public Editor ‘Troubled’ By Dylan Farrow Letter Placement In Nicholas Kristof Blog

NYT Public Editor 'Troubled' By Dylan Farrow Letter Placement In Nicholas Kristof Blog

Margaret Sullivan had ethical concerns about Kristof's blog post featuring Dylan Farrow's letter accusing Woody Allen of sexual abuse

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote a post Monday expressing ethical concerns about the placement of a letter written by Woody Allen's estranged daughter, Dylan Farrow, that accused the director of sexual abuse when she was a child.

Also Read: Woody Allen's Lawyer: Dylan Farrow ‘a Pawn’ of Her Mother (Video)

Sullivan quoted a letter from a reader questioning why the the letter was posted on the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's blog:

I have long been an admirer of Nicholas Kristof's columns. I cannot say that I object to his column on Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen. But I write to ask about the propriety of publishing largely one-sided columns assailing a lone individual. The writers who are permitted to “columnize” for The Times have a tremendously influential platform, and I wonder whether they should use that platform to advocate on behalf of personal friends, as Mr. Kristof did yesterday. If Dylan Farrow wishes to publish an open letter about her allegations, there are ample forums in this internet age. Should The Times and Mr. Kristof lend their credibility to her argument against Woody Allen?

I cannot possibly know what actually transpired between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow — no one can. Initially, I was strongly inclined to accept her account of being sexually abused. But Robert B. Weide's recent column in “The Daily Beast” raises significant questions about the veracity of her childhood testimony and the acrimonious falling out between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.

I am not a journalist. I do sometimes teach courses on ethics. I know that public figures are fair game. So I write simply to ask about the wisdom and propriety of these ad hominem columns, which assail particular individuals and champion others. A couple weeks ago, Bill Keller published a controversial column about cancer and dying. Personally, I agreed with his larger point about how to die a good death. But his criticisms of cancer patient Lisa Bonchek Adams and his paean to his own father in-law seemed ad hominem.

While Sullivan acknowledged that she admired Kristof's work and appreciated that he was upfront about his relationship with Dylan's mother Mia Farrow, she still expressed serious reservations about the piece.

“I am troubled by the same questions raised here by Dr. Rasmussen,” Sullivan wrote.

She also linked to an article in The Daily Beast, written by Allen supporter Robert Weide, that was critical of Mia Farrow and her family's allegations against Allen.

“I urge those who who have not yet done so to read Mr. Weide's illuminating article. It provides essential context,” she concluded.

The Wrap has reached out to Kristof for comment.

  • rose528

    ethical? she is worried about ethical when this man has been a pedophile from the beginning Mia accused him a long time ago but people did want to see it. look at the pedophiles who have been caught they look like woody “small little men” Who every one who knew them just could not believe it was “true”

    • L Jackson

      I agree. And everyone else has had his or hers say for so long, but Dylan never did. It's time we were able to hear from her. What difference does it make where it's posted? The letter went viral in no time.
      I have often thought that Woody was guilty of sexually abusing her, this article didn't change my beliefs or sway me one bit.

      • Derek_V

        You don't know either Mia Farrow nor Woody Allen nor Dylan Farrow.
        No more needs to be said about your beliefs and their relevance.

        • vastlyamused

          Do you? Then nothing need be said about your beliefs and their relevance to any situation in which you do not personally know the people involved.
          Point: Dylan Farrow is now an adult. By stating quite publicly, Allen sexually assaulted her when she was 7, she has exposed herself to enormous civil liability (slander/liberal/defamation of character).
          Point: Allen quite famously engaged in sexual relationship with a teen-aged girl- his step-daughter. While he denied it at the time, she has confirmed that the relationship began when she was still a minor.
          Point: The Conn. prosecutor didn't prosecute Allen because he didn't think Farrow would be able to handle the stress- a common problem in child sex cases. He did make a very public statement at the time that he found probable cause existed to take the matter to trial.
          All of which suggests that this matter is far more than “Mia Farrow's just out to get Woody Allen”.
          It would be interesting to put this before a jury, in a court of law, and see how it plays out.

          • jigzaw

            I have no argument about your first point about Dylan and I'm convinced she believes her memories. Whether they are accurate or not, I think there's still a lot of room for doubt over. As to your second point, Soon Yi was not Allen's step-daughter. The media is constantly getting certain facts wrong and that's the primary one: Mia and Woody were never married, nor did they ever live together, and by all accounts never even spent the night in each other's homes and probably had an open relationship. In addition, Mia's own memoirs states that Allen had barely ever been in Soon-Yi's presence until she was about 18, when Mia encouraged Allen to spend more time with her and the relationship developed. As to where you got your information that Soon-Yi said she was a minor when her relaionship began.. well, I'd love to know where you read that. These things are circumstantial, of course and don't “prove” him innocent, but let's at least know what we're talking about.

          • Randy

            Perhaps the Prosecutor declined to take the case to trial because the team of psychologists he had hired did not conclude that abuse had occurred.

    • Stuart W

      Really hate to tell you this Rose, but pedophiles come in all shapes and
      sizes, whereas folks like yourself come with built-in small (little) minds. Take a deep breath!

    • B. Starr

      Re: looks, In a study, people were able to identify many types of criminals by their facial features — all except for one: sexual predator. There is no facial type associated with these. The only thing they have in common is looking harmless.

  • jigzaw

    It's all just too fishy and feels coordinated. Ronan and Mia's almost too-flippant tweets, the Vanity Fair piece, quickly followed by an extraordinary act of nepotism in MSNBC hiring the academically gifted but completely unaccomplished Ronan to be a star on its network, then a noted NY Times columnist cashes in his journalistic capital to publish something that could arguably be a case of libelous defamation? If Woody Allen did this crime, then that's an atrocity.. but the fact remains that there was a 6-month investigation at the time and the conclusions were it was either impossible to know what happened or worse, Mia had drilled the story into Dylan's head. Add to this the oddities of Mia's brother being a lifelong child molester, the rarity of a person being just a one-time offender of that kind of crime (almost unheard of), and Mia's staunch support of her friend Roman Polanski, a convicted child rapist and I just have to conclude that there is MOUNDS of doubt here. How people love to join a lynch mob. How a “woman's word” has become sacred when the alleged perpetrator is a man. Men are perverts and women are all honest saints? Doubtful. I'm inclined to believe that Dylan believes what she's saying, but I'm not so convinced about her memories. I have a friend who's stepmom tried to coach him to allege his dad was molesting him, but he was too old and stable to fall for it. A troubled 7 year old might be more easily gaslighted by a very angry mom who thinks she's doing something for the “greater good” of the family. This sort of thing happens in custody battles.

    • StuartW

      Good work Jigzaw and clear-headed work in an emotional issue.

      I can only add the following; McMartin Pre-school!

    • RALevine

      Completely agree jigsaw …

    • fletcher373

      Men always playing the gender card. Too many sexually frustrated/awkward men crying victim nowadays. It is no different than if Allen's son had made the same accusations, gender is irrevelant. And Allen did have sexual relationships with his underage stepdaughter Soon Yi, let's not forget just because they have been together for many years now. Having said that I don't know whether Dylan's accusations are true or not and neither do you or anyone else beside Dylan and Woody. But everyone loves to act like a know-it-all on the internet.

      • barflybzzz

        Unfortunately, Fletcher, you are completely wrong. Woody Allen may be quilty of being creepy, but Soon Yi was NOT a minor and NEVER Allen's stepdaughter when their relationship began.
        We will never know the truth, but please get your facts straight before spouting on the interwebs.

  • MoiraB

    Hmm. All I can say about all this she said/he said is “I just don't know.” We just do not have enough evidence at this point, or enough facts. That's what investigations are for, so all the maundering about who's truthful and who's not, who's being used or who is being oppressed, is all just air and allegations. It's incumbent upon us, the public, to listen with sympathy to the alleged victim, and to give the alleged perpetrator the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. (And I, like others, look upon this alleged perpetrator with a jaundiced eye, even though he is a “genius” – because of other actions in his past…he has done himself no favors. But he still deserves a presumption of innocence till proven guilty — and how does that “proof” happen, at this point? So it's always going to be she said/he said…unless more facts and evidence happen to come to the fore.)

  • joshua kit


  • Will

    The article that's linked to above might as well be written by Allen's defense attorney. As an alternative, I suggest reading multiple stories from various sources and especially those written around the time it actually happened if you really want a sense of the events and what's known and what isn't. It's frustratingly inconclusive. None of us were there and we don't know what happened and in all likelihood we never will.

    • Eisenhower303

      In the sense that it defends Allen? No duh..

  • LandLockedCirce

    if Mr. Allen believes he's been slandered/liabelled, then why are his attorney's so slow to bring that suit to court? all manner of articles/interviews defending Mr. Allen have been made public since the blog was published & went viral, but not one has been ‘Attorneys for Woody Allen file Defamation Suit.’ this is not a new allegation, it is simply the first time that Ms. Farrow herself has gone public with her version of the events. and its astonishing to me to see the number of people jumping out of the woodwork to defend Woody Allen, when practically no one did the same for Michael Jackson. so… then, do arbitrarily awarded film honors get you a “get off scott free on child molestation allegations” pass? that being said – what story comes out of hollywood that isn't artfully contrived and scheduled down to the very last advantage point?

    • B. Starr

      Re: defamation, some bashing goes with the territory of celebrity. It's allowed for reporters, columnists and cartoonists to do this. It's doubtful anyone's going to sue Kristof. Ordinary people can sue much more easily. Only if the celebs can prove they didn't do the bad deeds can they sue for defamation. Allen can't sue Dylan if she is telling the truth. This is complex. I used to work as a reporter/feature writer.