Thanks to Rose McGowan‘s bravery in coming forward to reveal her alleged assault at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein, the floodgates have opened in Hollywood. And while it’s exhausting to wake up every day to learn of a celebrity you once admired accused of awful abuses against women, the Weinstein saga continues. This time, it’s reporter Ronan Farrow with allegations that the disgraced producer has spent the last few years hiring spies and private investigators to undermine the allegations against him and stop stories about his alleged abuse from becoming public.
Farrow alleges in his story for The New Yorker that between 2016 and 2017, Weinstein’s then-law firm was tasked with hiring multiple third-party private investigators. Their goal was to find out exactly who was saying what to reporters and to then undermine or discredit the stories in order to avoid their publication, and to protect their boss from scrutiny in the press.
According to the story, Weinstein’s team hired at least one firm that specializes in creating fake businesses to use as a shield in order to lure people into a false sense of security so that they could get the info they need. In Weinstein’s case, the firm’s main target was purportedly McGowan and the way the team got to her is MEGA creepy.
The firm (Black Cube) used an operative who introduced herself to McGowan as Diana Filip, an investment banker hoping to launch an initiative that would help fight discrimination against women. Filip told McGowan she worked for a London-based financial company called Reuben Capital Partners, and sent emails from a company-associated address. The story reports that Filip was an alleged “operative” hired by Weinstein’s people to get as much information about McGowan as possible, including details about which reporters she may have spoken to and who else she was in contact with.
The New Yorker report goes on to explain that Farrow eventually found Filip to be a former Mossad (Israeli version of the CIA) agent who now works for Black Cube. Farrow reports that the woman has allegedly used other aliases in order to find out what Weinstein’s accusers may be saying about him, before reporting back to the producer.
McGowan isn’t the only actress this ring tried to investigate. Actress Annabella Sciora (who has detailed her own horrific allegations against Weinstein) told the author of the story that it was clear to her that something wasn’t right when she was contacted by a “freelance journalist” and pressed for answers about Weinstein.
“It struck me as B.S.,” she told Farrow in an interview. “And it scared me that Harvey was testing to see if I would talk.”
While it’s clear now that the Hollywood powerhouse went to great lengths to try to undermine or stop the flow of information regarding his alleged dealings with various women, what may actually be more surprising is how long he’s been trying to stop the stories from becoming public.
His former lawyer, David Boies, admits now that what his firm did for their client may not have really been the best. Weinstein tasked his lawyer with hiring the investigative firms in order to protect his secrecy, using the lawyer-client privilege as a way of hiding his actual intentions.
“I don’t believe former lawyers should criticize former clients. Although he vigorously denies using physical force, Mr. Weinstein has himself recognized that his contact with women was indefensible and incredibly hurtful,” Boies admitted in regards to his former client.
“In retrospect, I knew enough in 2015 that I believe I should have been on notice of a problem, and done something about it. I don’t know what, if anything, happened after 2015, but to the extent it did, I think I have some responsibility. I also think that if people had taken action earlier it would have been better for Mr. Weinstein.”
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(Photos via Jamie McCarthy + Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty)