She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

September 13, 2019 - Comment

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment

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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement

For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. Rumors of wrongdoing had long circulated. But in 2017, when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into the prominent Hollywood producer for the New York Times, his name was still synonymous with power. During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, many disturbing and long-buried allegations were unearthed, and a web of onerous secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements was revealed. These shadowy settlements had long been used to hide sexual harassment and abuse, but with a breakthrough reporting technique Kantor and Twohey helped to expose it. But Weinstein had evaded scrutiny in the past, and he was not going down without a fight; he employed a team of high-profile lawyers, private investigators, and other allies to thwart the investigation. When Kantor and Twohey were finally able to convince some sources to go on the record, a dramatic final showdown between Weinstein and the New York Times was set in motion.
 
Nothing could have prepared Kantor and Twohey for what followed the publication of their initial Weinstein story on October 5, 2017. Within days, a veritable Pandora’s box of sexual harassment and abuse was opened. Women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry were outed following allegations of wrongdoing. But did too much change—or not enough? Those questions hung in the air months later as Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford came forward to testify that he had assaulted her decades earlier. Kantor and Twohey, who had unique access to Ford and her team, bring to light the odyssey that led her to come forward, the overwhelming forces that came to bear on her, and what happened after she shared her allegation with the world.
 
In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves.An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: Rumors had swirled around Harvey Weinstein for decades, and the New York Times’s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were not the only reporters to put their noses to this ugly trail. But as they spoke to actresses and, in a surprising turn, more and more female former employees of the Weinstein Company, they discovered that settlements and nondisclosure agreements had smothered the truth. The steps taken by others to conceal Weinstein’s actions and give them legal cover are almost as chilling as Weinstein’s abuse, and Kantor and Twohey’s unwinding of this camouflage is a delicate maneuver made possible only by women willing to break their silence. The reporters’ urging of an actress to go on the record about Weinstein’s abuse and a last-minute face off with Weinstein and his lawyers in the Times’s offices brings the investigation to its pinnacle of tension. As the book switches to another high-profile accusation, the pacing grows clunky, likely because the authors were not embedded in that investigation, but then rises again, buoyed by a small gathering of very different women at Gwyneth Paltrow’s house. Their candid talk on the lingering toxicity of abuse, social media backlash, and the damage to these women’s careers caused by both silence and speaking out will bring home to readers how one abusive moment can ruin lives, and how listening to what “she said” is the first and important step to stopping someone from perpetrating crime after crime. —Adrian Liang