In the spirit of their new book, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, two reporters behind the explosive New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein, pulled the curtain back further on their work that accelerated the #MeToo movement.
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement is their effort to chronicle the process of reporting on the sexual harassment and assault allegations against the now-disgraced movie mogul. Appearing on The Late Show to discuss the work with Stephen Colbert, Kantor and Twohey described Weinstein’s efforts to derail the story before it went to press.
“He amassed a group of high-powered lawyers, who were gonna threaten us with a lawsuit if we went forward with our story,” Twohey began. “He hired a private investigative firm made up of former Israeli Intelligence officials that were promised $300,000 if they put a stop to our investigation. And in the 11th hour, as we were preparing to publish, Harvey Weinstein basically barged into The New York Times himself, surrounded by some of his lawyers and folders with information that he was hoping to use to smear his accusers.”
Even in a case where Weinstein arrives at the doorstep of the Times, Twohey added, “We’re gonna go through that process to make sure that we’re producing air-tight stories.”
The Times exposé, which was published in October 2017, detailed decades of sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein by numerous women. Weinstein has denied any instance of wrongdoing.
In August of this year, Weinstein plead not guilty to a new indictment to allow for Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra to testify regarding claims that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1993, according to the Associated Press.
Kantor and Twohey didn’t know their reporting would have such an immediate impact on culture. “All we knew at The New York Times in 2017 was that we were committed to investigating sexual harassment across a variety of industries from Hollywood to Silicon Valley to the restaurant industry and even the auto plants,” Twohey recalled. “But we had no idea what the impacts of those investigations were gonna be whatsoever.”
Further accounts have come to light in the publishing of She Said. One excerpt details a letter Weinstein’s brother, Bob, apparently wrote in confronting Harvey’s “misbehavior” that was sent years before the scandal was made public. Another addresses Gwyneth Paltrow’s claims that Weinstein harassed and intimidated her for years, as well as allegedly using her as a way to coerce other victims.
“A lot of what originally happened in this investigation was off the record,” Kantor said. “So we needed to go back and find a way to share those secrets and to bring people through the process and really show you what we witnessed, bring you into our partnership, have you there in our office during the final confrontations with Harvey Weinstein. And also we wanted to push further because the initial investigation showed a piece of the puzzle but there were so many unanswered questions.”