The investigations into accused serial rapist Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abuse of power continue to reverberate throughout Hollywood and beyond. Weinstein’s out of his company, the Academy, and even previous producing credits. And even though he might, depressingly enough, have legal remedy for his ouster from the Weinstein Company, police in the U.S. and United Kingdom are looking into the allegations that have surfaced.
This is the result of Weinstein’s victims having the courage to come forward, and the hard work of journalists like Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, Ronan Farrow, and Rachel Abrams in sharing their accounts. And covering such a story is a lot of work, with or without cooperating sources. Hollywood Reporter editor-at-large Kim Masters, who broke the news on the allegations against Amazon Studios exec Roy Price, recently shared just how difficult the road to publication was for that story. In a piece for the Columbia Journal Review, Masters details the various outlets, including THR, she pitched to run the story. It’s disturbing how many were put off by even a whiff of litigation, courtesy of Price’s legal team, including Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder, of the “representing Hulk Hogan against Gawker” Harders.
Together, Bloom and Harder “convinced every publication that considered [Masters’] story that they weren’t just threatening legal action but would indeed sue.” But it was Bloom who, according to Masters, suggested that the culture editor had a personal vendetta against Price that had fueled her story. Masters writes, “in her zeal to protect her client—who has yet to address any of the allegations in my piece publicly—Bloom claimed that I had turned on Price after he rebuffed my demand to have Amazon underwrite The Business, the public-radio show that I host on KCRW.”
Upon reading the email with that info, Masters says she “laughed because it was ridiculous,” but publications took the implication more seriously, and she continued to struggle to find a home for her piece on The Man In The High Castle and Electric Dreams producer Isa Dick Hackett’s sexual harassment allegations against Price. But, as Masters takes care to note, Hackett was initially unwilling to go on the record against Price, which was also a red flag for other editors. Ultimately, the story did run at The Information before making its way to other sites, and Masters did publish an interview with Hackett at THR about the harassment incident. But all the roadblocks they hit first are indicative of not just the silencing of survivors, but the legal strong-arming that’s also hindering journalism.