(ANTIMEDIA) — Harvey Weinstein, Miramax co-founder and now-disgraced Hollywood big shot, allegedly assembled an “army of spies” — including private detectives and former intelligence officers — in an effort to silence his accusers before they could speak out, according to a report from the New Yorker published Monday.
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In early October, the New Yorker published an exhaustive piece from Ronan Farrow that truly kicked off the cascade of sexual harassment allegations, currently coming from dozens of women. This ultimately cost Weinstein his place among the movie industry elite. Farrow also wrote the New Yorker report published Monday.
According to Farrow, as far back as fall of 2016, Weinstein had been using lawyers, security firms, and even journalists under his influence in a campaign “to stop the publication of the abuse allegations” that would eventually lead to his downfall.
These “spies” were tasked with collecting information on Weinstein’s would-be accusers, then using the data to create “psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories.” According to the New Yorker, the idea was to use these tools to discredit or intimidate the accusers.
One of the firms Weinstein used, Farrow writes, was Black Cube, an Israeli-based company comprised mostly of former intelligence officers, including some from Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. On Black Cube’s homepage, the firm describes itself:
“A select group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units that specialises in tailored solutions to complex business and litigation challenges.”
According to Farrow, using false identities, two investigators from Black Cube met with actress Rose McGowan — who would go on to accuse Weinstein of rape — with the purpose of extracting information. One of them, a former officer of the Israel Defense Forces, claimed to be a women’s rights activist and was able to secretly record at least four conversations with McGowan.
Farrow also writes that Weinstein had journalists reporting back to him about the kinds of information his accusers were detailing and would pressure ex-employees of his companies to aid in his data gathering operation.
Unsurprisingly, Weinstein is denying the allegations. Following Monday’s report, his spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, said:
“It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”
All this comes as the Television Academy, which is responsible for the Emmy Awards, has voted to expel Weinstein for life. The treatment is similar to what he’s recently received from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.