Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of forming a network of private investigators and former foreign intelligence agents to target journalists and accusers in an attempt to block stories about his sexually predatory behavior.
According to a new investigative report in the New Yorker, Weinstein hired an undercover private investigator to extract information from actress Rose McGowan, who had previously settled with the producer over charges that he had raped her.
Weinstein is accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to two corporate intelligence companies: Kroll and Black Cube, the latter which is run by former Israeli secret service agents.
“Weinstein had the agencies ‘target,’ or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories,” reads the New Yorker report.
“He enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.”
A woman working for Black Cube allegedly posed as an investment adviser at a fake wealth management firm based out of London, and reportedly met with McGowan on multiple occasions in order to extract information from the actress and Weinstein accuser.
The woman, who went by the name “Diana Filip,” was reportedly in contact with McGowan until last month, when the New Yorker published an explosive investigative report alleging that Weinstein had harassed or assaulted dozens of women in the entertainment industry.
According to the latest report, “Filip” pretended to be an advocate for the fair treatment of women in the workplace, and dangled financial offers to McGowan — such as financing a project, and paying her a high-ticket speaking fee to headline a fictional gala event — in their meetings.
While the reporter on the New Yorker story, Ronan Farrow, was investigating the allegations, he reportedly sent a photo of the woman he suspected of acting as an undercover agent for Weinstein to the actress.
McGowan immediately recognized her as Diana Filip. The day the earlier New Yorker investigative report ran, the woman reportedly sent McGowan an email telling her “how brave I think you are.”
Among Weinstein’s intelligence circuit was an attorney working for the New York Times, David Boies, who signed a contract with Black Cube and was allegedly simultaneously helping to dig up dirt on Weinstein accusers and journalists investigating the reports, in an alleged attempt to stop the publication of the allegations at the New York Times and elsewhere.
A spokesperson for the newspaper gave a statement about the allegations to CNN:
“We learned today that the law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters. We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable, and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.”
Boies reportedly told the New Yorker that he did not perceive any conflict of interest in being under contract with the New York Times and Black Cube simultaneously, and said that he did not pressure the editorial department at the New York Times not to run any negative stories about Weinstein.
Weinstein’s spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister denied the allegations in a media statement.
“It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time,” she said.
[Feature photo: Associated Press]