One of the reasons that the accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape against Harvey Weinstein from dozens of women didn’t come out until now is because they feared retaliation from Weinstein. And in an explosive new report from the New Yorker, we’re getting a sense of just how far Weinstein would go to silence his victims and stifle investigations into his alleged misconduct.
In an article posted Monday night, Ronan Farrow—whose first story on rape accusations against Weinstein broke last month—detailed how Weinstein hired several private firms including Black Cube, which is run by ex-Mossad and ex-Israeli intelligence officers, to gather information for Weinstein on women with allegations against Weinstein and journalists investigating claims against him. Weinstein has denied all accusations of “non-consensual sex.”
“It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time,” Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein’s spokesperson, told the New Yorker.
The firm targeted actress and director Rose McGowan, who alleged that Weinstein raped her in 1997, with a female Black Cube agent who contacted McGowan under the guise of having her speak at a gala that aimed to “combat discrimination against women in the workplace.” The agent, who went by the name Diana Filip, and McGowan met several times and McGowan eventually told her that she spoke to Farrow; soon after that, Farrow says that Filip tried to contact him.
A contract signed on behalf of Weinstein by David Boies—a famed lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court for marriage equality and represented Al Gore after the 2000 presidential election—laid out areas Black Cube planned to target. The New York Times was identified as the publication (and specifically its Oct. 5 story) while the book was McGowan’s upcoming memoir, Brave.
One, dated July 11, 2017, and bearing Boies’s signature, states that the project’s “primary objectives” are to “provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper” and to “obtain additional content of a book which currently being written and includes harmful negative information on and about the Client,” who is identified as Weinstein in multiple documents. (In one e-mail, a Black Cube executive asks lawyers retained by the agency to refer to Weinstein as “the end client” or “Mr. X,” noting that referring to him by name “will make him extremely angry.”)
Investigations targeted Farrow and New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, as well as New York’s Ben Wallace, who had been contacted by the same agent as McGowan and eventually dropped his investigation after he couldn’t get actresses to go on the record with statements. Weinstein also used journalists to dig up information on McGowan and had another firm find photos of Weinstein and his alleged victims to use against them in the press.
Farrow hinted that he was working on this latest expose on The Late Show last week, telling Stephen Colbert that his next article would look at how the Hollywood “machine” was able to keep victims silent for decades.
“This machine that was so instrumental in keeping this quiet as long as it was quiet—I think there is much more to be said about just how far that went,” Farrow said.