Another bombshell has hit the growing Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal.
Ronan Farrow reports in the New Yorker that the mega producer hired ex-spies and private investigators to suppress allegations against him. They targeted accusers like Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, as well as journalists working on exposés of his behavior.
The article details how Weinstein hired Kroll, one of the world's largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, which is staffed by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies.
One investigator reportedly pretended to be a women's rights advocate and met several times with McGowan. The same operative also met with New York Magazine writer Ben Wallace, seeking to extract information about his sources.
The investigators also gathered intelligence on the accusers to be used against them, should they step forward. Weinstein also relied on journalists, like Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media Inc. (which publishes the National Enquirer), to dig up dirt.
Howard told Farrow that he shared information with Weinstein to protect the interests of his company, which had a television deal with the producer.
Weinstein's plan to intimidate his accusers ultimately fell apart, but it did prevent several of them from speaking out sooner. "It scared me," actress Annabella Sciorra said, "because I knew what it meant to be threatened by Harvey. I was in fear of him finding me."