Ronan Farrow’s first New Yorker story detailed the stories of women preyed upon by Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein; Farrow’s second New Yorker story, published Monday evening, outlines the chilling lengths Weinstein was willing to go to in order to keep reports of his alleged sexual assaults under wraps. Weinstein used private corporate intelligence firms, run through his lawyers, including David Boies, who argued for same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court and represented Al Gore during the 2000 Florida recount, to conduct CIA-style intelligence gathering on those he deemed threats to go public, including Rose McGowan, who ultimately accused Weinstein of rape.
At Weinstein’s behest, Farrow reports, the intelligence firms deployed spycraft to investigate potential accusers and journalists working on trying to piece together the story of Weinstein’s treatment of women. The objective: to obtain as much dirt possible in order to shut down investigations into his personal life. The depths Weinstein went to is staggering. “According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, one of the world’s largest corporate intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies,” the New Yorker reports. “Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies ‘target,’ or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.”
The point of the investigations, Farrow writes, was explicit: stop the publication of the very material published by the New York Times and then the New Yorker last month. In order to do that, in one instance, the intelligence firm Black Cube set up an elaborate cover for a former Israeli Defense Forces officer to get close to McGowan and collect information.
In May, 2017, McGowan received an e-mail from a literary agency introducing her to a woman who identified herself as Diana Filip, the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments at Reuben Capital Partners, a London-based wealth-management firm. Filip told McGowan that she was launching an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace and asked McGowan, a vocal women’s-rights advocate, to speak at a gala kickoff event later that year. Filip offered McGowan a fee of sixty-thousand dollars. “I understand that we have a lot in common,” Filip wrote to McGowan before their first meeting,.. Over the following months, the two women met at least three more times at hotel bars in Los Angeles and New York and other locations… The two talked at length about issues relating to women’s empowerment. Filip also repeatedly told McGowan that she wanted to make a significant investment in McGowan’s production company…In fact, “Diana Filip” was an alias for a former officer in the Israeli Defense Forces who originally hailed from Eastern Europe and was working for Black Cube, according to three individuals with knowledge of the situation.
“In January, 2017, a freelance journalist called McGowan and had a lengthy conversation with her that he recorded without telling her; he subsequently communicated with Black Cube about the interviews, though he denied he was reporting back to them in a formal capacity,” according to the New Yorker story. “Weinstein also enlisted other journalists to uncover information that he could use to undermine women with allegations. A December, 2016, e-mail exchange between Weinstein and Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, shows Howard sharing with Weinstein material obtained by one of his reporters, as part of an effort to help Weinstein disprove McGowan’s allegation of rape.”