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'She Said' Documents The Reporting Leading To Harvey Weinstein's Arrest

Sep 9, 2019
Originally published on September 9, 2019 11:51 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to talk next about the story behind a headline. The headline in question, longtime film producer Harvey Weinstein and the allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against him. It's been two years since The New York Times broke that story. And tomorrow, the two reporters who wrote it are out with a book. It is titled "She Said," and it documents just how difficult it was to convince women to come forward, also, how hard Weinstein and his associates fought back. Mary Louise Kelly, host of All Things Considered, spoke with the two Times reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

And Mary Louise is in our studios this morning. Thanks for coming in.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, BYLINE: I am glad to be here. Good morning.

MARTIN: So the Times published the Weinstein investigation nearly two years ago, as we noted. What new details do the reporters share in this book?

KELLY: What struck me, Rachel, were two things. One, the lengths that these reporters went to to get the story, starting with - they were trying to reach actresses who had worked with Harvey Weinstein. How do you get Gwyneth Paltrow on the phone? How do you get Angelina Jolie on the phone? How do you get their number? And then once you've gotten it, how do you...

MARTIN: Get them to talk? Right.

KELLY: ...To talk to you about something that is private and possibly painful? And as we know, many of the women they were trying to reach had settlements barring them from speaking, these nondisclosure agreements. That has been widely reported before. But the way that Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey approached it was, if we're going to keep this from blocking this story forever, we have to make it the story. We have to follow that trail. And so the investigative journalism that is revealed here is quite something and really interesting to read.

The other thing is just there are sources named here who have not gone on the record before. It widens our understanding of exactly what may have happened. And the details of the people around Harvey Weinstein who - his attorneys and others who were protecting him, enabling him - there's a lot of details, a lot of documents that have not been made public before.

MARTIN: So people in the film industry used to describe Harvey Weinstein's offenses as a, quote, "open secret," right? One of them was his own brother, Bob Weinstein. How does he figure in the book?

KELLY: He's someone we have heard very little from before on the record. He of course ran the Weinstein Company with Harvey. He provides one of the more truly astonishing accounts in the book. I actually want to play you a long-ish chunk of that part of the interview. You're going to hear Megan Twohey, one of the reporters, telling me how she and Kantor were hell bent on trying to get answers to three questions.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MEGAN TWOHEY: What did Bob know? When did he know it? And what did he do about it? And it took many attempts to get Bob to talk. I had countless times where I'd call him, and he'd basically hang up on me. But last year, there was a moment where he finally agreed to meet me at a diner here in New York. And it was the beginning of him slowly starting to open up in a series of interviews. And what we learned over the course of that time were some interesting things. One, he absolutely had been made aware of allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assaults against Harvey going back to the '90s. In some cases, he had provided money that helped silence them women, but that he claims that he believed Harvey when he insisted that these were extramarital affairs and nothing more and that there was a rationale that Bob himself kind of applied in this situation, which was to believe that his brother's problem was sex addiction, a perspective that was actually informed by Bob's own battles with substance abuse over the years and his path to recovery.

And we also obtained this intimate letter that Bob wrote to Harvey in 2015 in which he's pleading with him to get help, get treatment for his quote-unquote, "misbehavior." And we - that's another document that we reproduced in its entirety in the book so that readers can sort of see for themselves, you know, what happens when people glimpse a problem? What do they try to do about it, and how do people become complicit?

KELLY: Yeah. There's a stunning line from that letter from Bob Weinstein to his brother where he writes, if you ever strike me again or verbally abuse me, making clear that inside the Weinstein Company and inside the Weinstein family, this behavior was known and documented.

TWOHEY: That's right. There was. We document a particular incident in which Harvey Weinstein had actually punched, had physically assaulted his own brother. There were other executives in the room, you know, and nobody did anything about it.

KELLY: So that's Megan Twohey speaking there, Rachel. And I should note Harvey Weinstein has denied allegations of nonconsensual activity. His trial is scheduled to start next year, and he's pleading not guilty.

MARTIN: All right. The new book is by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of The New York Times. It's called "She Said: Breaking The Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite A Movement." You can hear Mary Louise's full interview tonight on All Things Considered. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.