In a new piece for The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow reports that Harvey Weinstein hired private security groups in 2016 to gather information on women who had accused him of sexual assault and on journalists who were working to expose the allegations against him. Apparently, the groups included Kroll, which The New Yorker says is “one of the world’s largest corporate intelligence companies,” and Black Cube, “an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad.” Farrow says there are “dozens of pages of documents” corroborating this, along with confirmation from “seven people directly involved in the effort.”
According to Farrow, two Black Cube investigators met with Rose McGowan under fake names, with one claiming to be a women’s rights advocate who secretly recorded multiple meetings with McGowan. This same person also met with journalists and claimed to have her own allegations against Weinstein, all in an attempt to try and determine who else had been talking to the press. Supposedly, one Black Cube contract specifically said that the goal of these jobs was to prevent outlets from reporting on the allegations against Weinstein.
Though the operation was far-reaching and even intersected with Farrow’s own investigation into Weinstein—he says that he was contacted by a phony accuser—it sounds like there was a specific focus on McGowan, with a third investigative agency putting together an extensive file on ways to discredit her. Apparently, a reporter working for a group Weinstein hired went as far as to repeatedly contact Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriguez’s ex-wife, in hopes of getting her to give up some dirt on McGowan—who Rodriguez had left her for. Avellan said she wouldn’t have cooperated if she had known what exactly was going on, explaining that “women should stand together.”
The piece goes into a lot of detail on how these operations worked, including the way Weinstein tried to distance himself from the agencies and their work and how he was apparently prone to fits of rage as things began to unravel. Also, while these supposed suppression efforts reportedly ramped up in the last year or so, Weinstein allegedly used investigators to keep tabs on reporters for years—including some extensive surveillance on late journalist Dave Carr that apparently made him paranoid.
Weinstein’s spokesperson, for the record, has referred to this as “a fiction.”