'She Said' Takes A Behind The Scenes Look At How Two Journalists Broke The Harvey Weinstein Story
Harvey Weinstein spent nearly three decades sexually harassing and assaulting women during his career as a prominent movie producer. His behavior was not unknown throughout the entertainment industry, but was either excused as a normal part of the industry or kept silent through his power and influence.
On Oct. 5, 2017, that all changed when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey released a story for the New York Times detailing Weinstein’s abuse of women and the extensive methods he used to cover up his actions.
This led to a wave of people revealing their stories of being sexually assaulted and helped kickstart the #MeToo movement. Kantor and Twohey continued to cover Weinstein and the movement, eventually co-writing a book titled, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.
“We realized that this wasn’t just a story of one bad man, this was a story about systemic failure,” says Twohey.
She says the book takes readers behind the scenes of their reporting and dives deeper into how they pieced together the full picture of Weinstein’s abuses — including tracking financial trails of how women were paid for secret settlements.
Kantor and Twohey realized that while settlements were designed to give victims of assault financial compensation and a sense of privacy while dealing with a possibly traumatic experience, they were being used as a device by abusers to keep their image clean.
“Our tools for dealing with sexual harassment in the country are pretty broken and in fact, some of them may make the problem worse,” says Kantor. “[Secret settlements have] been a real problem over time because in the case of someone who is truly a predator they can just go on and do it to the next person.”
The book also looks at the ways that Weinstein attempted to silence their story, including the fact that he hired a private Israeli investigation firm to collect information on the two of them and discredit their sources.
Kantor says she wants to show that despite all of his efforts, Weinstein was unable to hide this story.
Now, three and a half years after the published story, Kantor and Twohey emphasize the role that journalists play in bringing truths like these to the public.
“You can’t solve a problem that you can’t see and so as reporters, we just continue to be completely devoted to that, to trying to uncover hidden truths,” says Twohey.
“To us, [the #MeToo movement] is a demonstration of relationship that journalism can have to the rest of society. Our job is to kind of delicately unearth these secrets and to put them on the table for society to talk about so that we can talk about the really, really hard things,” says Kantor.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey will be the guest speakers at The Women’s Center of Waukesha’s virtual EmPower Luncheon on April 28. The luncheon honors the courageous voices of survivors, those who advocate for survivors, and those who speak out to effect change.