Harvey Weinstein: a dark truth behind a powerful man


Courtroom sketch done by artist Elizabeth Williams

Harvey Weinstein being escorted out of the courtroom after the jury found him guilty of rape and sexual assault on February, 24, 2020.

Hannah V.('21)

Harvey Weinstein was once considered a Hollywood movie mogul, “ranking just below Steven Speilberg and several places above God,” according to Ronan Farrow. Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment for years, ultimately becoming an ‘open secret’ in Hollywood. Nonetheless, this image of him would change when a flood of women came out with sexual harassment allegations, largely due to the #MeToo movement in 2017. As of February of 2020, Weinstein has been found guilty of third-degree rape and sexual assault as a criminal act. However, the fight to hold Weinstein accountable was not easy. “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” goes through journalist Ronan Farrow’s process of uncovering Weinstein’s allegations of sexual misconduct, while Weinstein tried desperately to bury it. 

“Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” is a book published in 2019, written by journalist Ronan Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen. Following his two years of investigative reporting, Farrow was one of the main journalists working to uncover Weinstein’s allegations. He would then publish his work to The New Yorker in 2017, sharing the Pulitzer Prize award for public service with The New York Times which conducted similar reports.

In this meticulously well-written story, Farrow recounts his time working at NBC, an American television broadcast company, where he initially began his investigation. He explains his struggle to keep the story going, with NBC trying their best to shut it down despite the overwhelming mass of evidence Farrow had, including a police recording of Weinstein trying to lure model Ambra Gutierrez to his hotel room, the day after he assaulted her. In his book, Farrow candidly talks about his experience as well as all the people he has encountered and interviewed, giving detailed background on each person, specifically the survivors of Weinstein’s sexual assaults. 

Cover of Ronan Farrow’s book, “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators”.

 “Catch and Kill” goes back and forth between two stories: Farrow’s reporting and Black Cube. Black Cube is an Israeli private intelligence agency Weinstein hired to compile a list of any women who were talking, and to destroy any stories behind his allegations. With Black Cube behind him, Weinstein was able to target Farrow as well as many other reporters by having them followed and threatened to put an end to their reporting. 

What makes this book so thrilling to read is that it is written like a story, which keeps you on the edge of your toes at every flip of the page. Exposing betrayal, lies, burying of evidence, and fear makes the book that much more interesting to read, much like a spy novel. 

That being said, this book was not an easy one to read and may be upsetting for some readers. The disturbing details of sexual assault and rape, as well as the powerful men who were not being held accountable, was difficult to hear. What makes this book so terrifying to read is that it isn’t fictional, this is real life. Countless women have had to go through terrible experiences and be silenced, and then lose their careers because of rich and powerful men. Ronan Farrow not only focuses on Weinstein but on other powerful men in the entertainment industry who have yet to pay for their unspeakable actions. 

Farrow bravely published this story of exposing Harvey Weinstein. However, the women who stepped forward and recounted their traumatic experiences are even braver. They put their careers and lives on the line and deserve recognition for their fearlessness and strength to say “Enough” to the person who caused them suffering for years. As stated in the book: “In the end, the courage of women can’t be stamped out. And stories the big ones, the true ones can be caught but never killed.” 

Farrow brings to light the widespread issue of sexual harassment, particularily in the entertainement industry, and makes the point that there are still many predators out there that need to be caught. This is largely because of the power these men hold, and the large companies who are ready to protect them, as well as silence their victims. This is an unacceptable reality that needs to be changed. Although Ronan Farrow does a remarkable job holding Weinstein accountable, there are still many more predators lurking in the shadows.