Ronan Farrow has returned to the pages of the New Yorker with another explosive exposé on Harvey Weinstein, this one detailing precisely to what deranged lengths the producer would go to suppress allegations of sexual assault against him. Spoiler alert: Really, really far.
According lengthy documents obtained by Farrow, Weinstein’s efforts began in the fall of 2016, with the explicit goal of preventing mounting allegations from being reported in the press. Like seemingly everything else related to him, his cover-up schemes were not modest affairs: Weinstein retained the services of one of the world’s top corporate intelligence agencies, as well as a troupe of former Mossad agents employed by a firm called Black Cube.
One Black Cube agent, who went by the name Diana Filip, contacted Rose McGowan, one of a few women who would eventually accuse Weinstein of rape. “Filip” got close to McGowan by posing as a potential collaborator on women’s empowerment issues, all the while collecting information on her. Under a different name, she also attempted to pose as a source for two New York Times reporters working on the story:
Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.
Black Cube employed a number of dark, inventive ploys in its quest for information, like hiring a journalist to call up some of Weinstein’s accusers and relay their collected information back. But victims weren’t the only ones targeted by Weinstein’s investigatory apparatus. Journalists from the New York Times, New Yorker and New York Magazine, which was working on its own Weinstein piece before shelving it in January of 2017, were all thoroughly researched by Weinstein’s contractors in attempt to “ferret out their sources and probe their backgrounds.” Writes Farrow:
In April, 2017, Ness, of psops, sent Weinstein an assessment of my own interactions with “persons of interest”—a list largely consisting of women with allegations, or those connected to them. Later, psops submitted a detailed report focussing jointly on me and Jodi Kantor, of the Times. Some of the observations in the report are mundane. “Kantor is NOT following Ronan Farrow,” it notes, referring to relationships on Twitter. At other times, the report reflects a detailed effort to uncover sources. One individual I interviewed, and another whom Kantor spoke to in her separate endeavor, were listed as having reported the details of the conversations back to Weinstein.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Weinstein told the New Yorker that, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”