She Said | Jodi Kantor

Summary of: She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
By: Jodi Kantor


Prepare to delve into the harrowing story of ‘She Said,’ which chronicles the groundbreaking investigation by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey into the infamous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Through their determination and skill, they uncovered decades-long sexual harassment and abuse, ultimately igniting the #MeToo movement. This powerful and gripping summary offers readers an overview of their pursuit for justice, the challenges they faced, and the brave women who shared their stories. Discover how Kantor and Twohey’s collaboration exposed a hidden culture of abuse and a powerful system that sought to protect the perpetrators, ultimately changing the conversation about sexual harassment across the world.

Uncovering the Harassment

In May 2017, investigative reporter Jodi Kantor contacted actress Rose McGowan after she hinted at being raped by a Hollywood producer. After gaining her trust, McGowan revealed the details of her ordeal to Kantor, implicating the media mogul Harvey Weinstein. To corroborate the story, Kantor consulted with her editor, Rebecca Corbett, who suggested she seek the expertise of fellow reporter Megan Twohey. Together, the three reporters decided to investigate not only Weinstein but also the pervasive harassment faced by women in the media industry.

Unearthing the Weinstein Scandal

Jodi Kantor’s investigative journalism highlighted the sexual abuse pattern of Harvey Weinstein, which went unchecked for decades.

In her gripping account of one of the most prominent exposés of our times, Jodi Kantor narrates how she and Megan Twohey uncovered the systematic sexual abuse rampant in Hollywood’s elite circles, especially by Harvey Weinstein. As Kantor makes clear, documenting Weinstein’s abuses and bringing him to justice was no easy task. The reporters faced numerous obstacles, including the reluctance of high-profile actresses, former Weinstein employees, and their gatekeepers to speak about their experiences. Kantor’s tenacity and commitment to the story eventually brought her the break she needed.

Through her interviews, Kantor found a web of deceit and abject abuse of power by the influential movie producer. The details of Weinstein’s predatory behavior towards women—from intimidation to sexual harassment—shook the industry to its core. One actress after another shared her experiences, with Judd, Hayek, and Paltrow among the many who came forward with their stories. Their bravery in speaking out helped facilitate systemic change in an industry where for far too long, sexual harassment and assault had been excused or trivialized.

Kantor meticulously draws out the psychological impact of the abuse on these women and how difficult it was for them to speak out against a man who wielded immense power over their careers. Her account shows how much effort was required to bring Weinstein’s abuses to light and hold him accountable. The journalist’s writing is also a searing indictment of the forces that enabled Weinstein’s behavior for years, including his powerful legal team, complicit media organizations, and the overall culture of Hollywood itself.

In the end, Kantor and Twohey broke through a massive cover-up to reveal the truth and spark the #MeToo movement. Their work was a catalyst for seemingly countless women who have now come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault. Kantor’s book is both compelling and unforgettable, a testament to the power of investigative journalism to bring about justice and sustained change.

Breaking the Silence

Two journalists delve into the world of confidentiality agreements in their pursuit to uncover the truth behind sexual harassment allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were faced with a daunting challenge – to investigate sexual harassment allegations against one of Hollywood’s most powerful film producers, Harvey Weinstein. Despite the numerous accusations made against him by multiple women, no victim was willing to speak on-the-record, leaving the journalists stuck in a dead-end.

To continue their investigation, Twohey needed concrete evidence. With the help of Grace Ashford, a young researcher at the Times, she tracked down a report from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, hoping to find records that would hold Weinstein accountable for his heinous actions. Unfortunately, it was another dead end, leaving them to wonder if confidentiality agreements were behind the lack of records.

Through a series of interviews with former Miramax employees, Kantor and Twohey uncovered the truth about confidentiality agreements. Victims were compelled to forfeit their rights to speak about their complaints publicly, even to their friends and family, after accepting cash settlements offered by the company to handle the charges. These settlements could only be brought forward if the victims agreed to hand over all evidence and agreed to never speak about their experiences ever again.

Despite the daunting consequences of breaking the agreements, Zelda Perkins, who worked for Weinstein in the mid-90s, finally agreed to come forward on-the-record and break her agreement. Laura Madden, who was harassed by Weinstein in 1992 while working as a production assistant, also allowed Kantor to interview her.

Together, Kantor and Twohey’s investigation revealed the harsh reality behind confidentiality agreements – a means for powerful abusers to force silence upon their victims. By breaking the silence, Kantor and Twohey’s relentless efforts uncovered the truth.

Weinstein’s Desperate Measures

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, two journalists from The New York Times investigation team, stumbled upon something far bigger when they began researching Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of sexual abuse. Despite being warned of Weinstein’s potential threats, Kantor and Twohey proceeded to investigate. They uncovered an impressive network of allies including Lanny Davis, David Boies and Lisa Bloom, who used various legal means to suppress the story. Black Cube, a private firm staffed with former Israeli agents, was hired to spy on the two reporters, while the lawyers attempted to slow down the investigation, discredit the victims and portray Weinstein as a changed man. This gripping account reveals the desperate measures Weinstein employed to protect his reputation and the ugly tactics he used to silence his accusers.

The Fall of Weinstein

A look into the downfall of Harvey Weinstein due to the efforts of various insiders and journalists, including Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. After years of facing business squabbles and personal conflicts, Weinstein’s brother Bob teamed up with the company accountant Irwin Reiter and board member Lance Maerov to try to control Harvey’s behavior. However, it wasn’t until Kantor and Twohey stumbled upon a memo written by a former junior executive detailing Weinstein’s pattern of abuse and cover-ups that they had enough evidence to publish their first story on him. The article dealt exclusively with financial matters, but it was enough to sound the alarm about Weinstein’s liability.

Writing a Story That Would Change Hollywood Forever

The daunting task of investigating and reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct required careful planning and bold action from Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Despite facing countless obstacles and threats from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team, the two journalists were finally able to gather ten credible stories of sexual misconduct dating from 1990 to 2015 and an on-the-record interview with a key source, Irish production assistant Laura Madden. With their goal in mind, the duo set out to contact all the key players. However, getting sources to go on record was no easy task. By October 2, a draft was complete, and it was time to seek Weinstein’s response. The interview was tense, and Weinstein repeatedly demanded information on sources. After the call, Weinstein was given 48 hours to respond. While Kantor and Twohey waited, Ashley Judd, who was still deeply concerned about future victims, finally agreed to talk. The account of her harrowing hotel room encounter with Weinstein would be the lede.

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