In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women and began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations, according to the New Yorker.
According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is 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 magazine reported.
Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her, according to the magazine.
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, according to the report penned for the magazine by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow.
In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details, the New Yorker reported.
The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube that was signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories.
Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally, according to the New Yorker.
Weinstein spokeswoman Sally Hofmeister dismissed the report, saying, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or surpressed at any time.”
McGowan responded by tweeting, “And you thought investigative reporting was dead. … Ronan Farrow your words will line the halls of justice.”
–City News Service