- Former Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein hired private firms staffed by former intelligence operatives to investigate and squash allegations of sexual harassment against him.
- The operatives assumed fake identities and posed as other people to convince several accusers to talk.
- Weinstein also, through one of the firms, hired a freelance journalist to interview accusers and report findings back to him.
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein hired private security companies staffed with former foreign intelligence officials to investigate and cover up sexual-harassment allegations against him when they first started emerging in the fall of 2016, The New Yorker reported on Monday.
As part of that effort, Weinstein hired Kroll, a corporate-intelligence firm, and Black Cube, a company operated primarily by former Israeli intelligence officers, per the report. The film mogul also “directed” journalists to find out and tell him which women were making allegations against him.
The New York Times first reported on the claims against Weinstein last month, and The New Yorker followed up with several new detailed allegations shortly after. In all, nearly 60 women have accused Weinstein of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.
When trying to extract information from his accusers, operatives working for the firms Weinstein hired typically created false identities designed to gain the accusers’ trust.
An investigator working for Black Cube, for example, pretended to be a women’s rights advocate when she met with Rose McGowan, one of the actresses who has accused Weinstein of rape. McGowan is a women’s rights advocate as well, and she told The New Yorker that the operative, who posed as a woman named Diana Filip who worked at a fictional wealth-management firm, was “very nice” and met with her multiple times to extract information.
The operative also assumed a separate fake identity and met twice with one journalist chasing down the Weinstein story, while posing as an accuser named “Anna,” in an effort to find out which other women had made allegations about Weinstein to the media. She also emailed Jodi Kantor of The Times, who first broke news of the allegations along with reporter Megan Twohey.
As it turned out, the operative was a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces and used “Diana Filip” as an alias during her time serving in the IDF.
Black Cube said in a statement to The New Yorker that it would “never discuss its clients with any third party,” nor would it confirm or deny “speculation made with regard to the company’s work.” The company added that it applied “high moral standards” to its work and functions in compliance with the law.
Weinstein also reportedly asked Black Cube to hire a journalist to “conduct ten interviews a month for four months and be paid forty thousand dollars,” as well as report back their findings to the firm, which would in turn relay the information to Weinstein.
The journalist subsequently got in touch with McGowan, recorded their conversation without her consent, and provided Black Cube with details of their interactions. He also contacted two other women with allegations against Weinstein, as well as two reporters following the story.
“It struck me as B.S.,” Annabella Sciorra, who accused Weinstein of rape, told The New Yorker of her conversation with the journalist Weinstein hired. “And it scared me that Harvey was testing to see if I would talk.”
The reporter claimed that he was working on his own story about Weinstein when he was contacted by The New Yorker, and said he was using Black Cube to get information.
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