Harvey Weinstein was Hollywood’s apex predator, the man at the top of a food chain that sparked the #MeToo movement. He ate young women alive, figuratively speaking: actresses, employees, and others unlucky enough to cross his path during his long career as a producer and studio head.
All of it caught up with him after Ronan Farrow and other investigative reporters exposed an open secret in the film industry: Weinstein was a serial sex offender who had been buying off his accusers and silencing them with non-disclosure agreements.
Anyone who has worked for a large news organization has heard the kind of excuses the network kept making for not airing the Weinstein story. NBC executives said Farrow needed to gather more facts, higher-ups were nervous, and corporate lawyers worried about the potential legal exposure.
The network also said “the reporting was insufficiently visual and wouldn’t make for good television” (and never mind, apparently, all the video clips from Weinstein’s films). It told Farrow he had a conflict of interest because of his sister’s claims, a fact its high-ups could hardly have failed to know when they assigned a producer to work with him on the story, given the heavy media coverage of Dylan’s accusations against Woody Allen.
Why would a respected network try to scuttle a story of such high news value?
Farrow suspected that higher-ups at NBC were protecting Weinstein, who had learned of the investigation into his crimes and was pressuring the network to kill the story. His suspicions were supported, in part, by other employees and by the discovery of messages Weinstein sent to the network.
Farrow’s stories won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, shared with Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times, who were the first to report the sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.
A generation is growing up that may have no or foggy ideas about what powerful men could do to women unless held accountable by the victims or reporters or by other investigators. This book is an excellent refresher course in why America needed the #MeToo movement.