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25th May 2018

Harvey Weinstein “thought he was living in a movie,” says reporter who helped bring him down

The disgraced movie mogul employed some extraordinary tactics to try and clear his name

Rich Cooper

Harvey Weinstein was “living in a movie,” according to one of the reporters who helped bring the film producer’s alleged sexual misconduct to the public.

Ronan Farrow, the journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing Harvey Weinstein, said that Weinstein “thought on some level [that] he was living in a movie,” referring to the extreme levels of intimidation and subterfuge the disgraced movie mogul employed to cover his tracks.

Speaking to James O’Brien on Unfiltered with James O’Brien, Farrow said: “One of the things that I’m really proud that we exposed in that series of New Yorker stories about Harvey Weinstein was that he, through his very powerful, prominent Democratic attorney David Boies, hired muscle, essentially. These combat-ready, former-Israeli intelligence agents who assumed false identities and built front companies and went after women with allegations and reporters.”

“It really did feel at times like living in a movie,” Farrow said on the podcast. “Maybe that’s a reflection of that scenario being created by a producer who thought on some level he was living in a movie. It’s an extraordinary step to take to hire these kinds of characters to do this kind of intrusive human intelligence work.”

Weinstein had enlisted several private investigation firms, including some made up of ex-members of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, to dig up information on victims and journalists in order to intimidate them into staying silent, as Farrow reported in November last year.

Reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the story in the New York Times, followed by a more in-depth piece by Farrow in the New Yorker. Initially Farrow had pitched the story to NBC as a multipart series exploring Hollywood’s sinister underbelly. Ultimately NBC passed, and while Farrow has never said why, he suggested that it may have been related to the tactics employed by Weinstein.

“I think that the behind-the-scenes story of why it didn’t run [at NBC] is very much tied into the systems that you’re asking about,” Farrow said. “The campaigns of intimidation and these individuals digging up blackmail material, and all of these colourful and elaborate lengths that not just Harvey Weinstein but powerful people in general can go to [in order] to warp and distort systems of justice and orderly process.”

Weinstein turned himself in to police in New York today after consistently denying any wrongdoing. The charges Weinstein faces have not yet been announced.

Ronan Farrow’s interview on Unfiltered with James O’Brien comes out next Monday. Subscribe for free now to get the full story as soon as it drops.