Harvey Weinstein hired intelligence agencies to spy on accusers

This is terrifying.

(Image credit: Rex)

This is terrifying.

From the editors of People Words by Karen Mizoguchi

Harvey Weinstein allegedly went to great lengths to silence sexual assault allegations, according to a new exposé from The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow.

In a report released on Monday evening, Farrow detailed how Weinstein hired private security agencies, including ex-Mossad operatives, to retrieve information on women — specifically actresses Rose McGowan and Asia Argento — and journalists in attempts to stop the allegations from going public.

In addition, former employees from Weinstein’s film enterprises were enlisted as well as a high-ranking media editor.

Weinstein’s spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, denied the report in a statement to The New Yorker: ‘It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.’

According to the latest report, ‘The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, 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.

The employed agencies — Israel-based Black Cube and American firm Kroll — used agents with aliases and false backgrounds to ‘target’ McGowan and more women, in addition to putting together ‘psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories,’ The New Yorker reports.

Ashley Judd. Credit: Rex

One of the investigators posed as a women’s rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan, according to the report. The woman was a former officer in the Israeli Defence Forces, The New Yorker claims.

McGowan recalled interacting with an undercover operative as recently as Oct. 23, more than two weeks after the Times broke the story of allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Weinstein.

The Black Cube investigator also reportedly met with a journalist and the operative suggested she was victimised by Weinstein but pressed for details about other women who were talking to the press.

Weinstein’s former lawyer, David Boies, confirmed that his firm previously paid Black Cube and Kroll on behalf of the movie mogul.

‘We should not have been contracting with and paying investigators that we did not select and direct,’ Boies told Farrow in a statement.

Harvey Weinstein and former wife Georgina Chapman. Credit: Rex

Along with hiring agencies, Weinstein also enlisted journalists to recover information against the women with allegations. One of them was Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media Inc. which is the publisher of the National Enquirer and Howard also oversaw a television-production agreement with Weinstein, which has since been terminated.

In a statement to Farrow, Howard said he split the two roles: ‘I always separated those two roles carefully and completely — and resisted Mr. Weinstein’s repeated efforts to have AMI titles publish favourable stories about him or negative articles about his accusers.

‘I had an obligation to protect AMI’s interests by seeking out — but not publishing — truthful information about people who Mr. Weinstein insisted were making false claims against him. To the extent I provided “off the record” information to Mr. Weinstein about one of his accusers — at a time when Mr. Weinstein was denying any harassment of any woman — it was information which I would never have allowed AMI to publish on the internet or in its magazines.’

Farrow also spoke to Pamela Lubell, a producer who worked for Weinstein’s Miramax decades ago, who said she and another employee were ‘manipulated’ to make calls to several actresses who may have alleged sexual misconduct. Some of those contacted told Farrow about the ‘frightening’ calls made by Lubell.

McGowan – who has accused the mogul of raping her – said she has been left paranoid by these investigations into her.

She told Farrow: ‘Everyone lied to me all the time. I’ve lived inside a mirrored fun house.’

The Oscar-winning producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles earlier this month.

A spokesman for Weinstein has previously said, ‘Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.’

In addition to denying any non-consensual sex, Weinstein’s spokesperson has said: ‘There were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.’

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