Harvey Weinstein was so desperate to avoid a sexual harassment scandal that he hired trained counterintelligence operatives to track both reporters who were on his trail and actresses about to make their allegations public, according to a wide-ranging investigation by The New Yorker.
The magazine alleges Weinstein hired investigators from Black Cube, which is run largely by former Israeli intelligence officers, to befriend actress Rose McGowan and learn as much as possible about what she was going to say—and look for ways to discredit her. The ultimate goal of the operation, which ran at least one year, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations that eventually ran in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Weinstein’s spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, told The New Yorker, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”
As far back as May 2017, investigators seem to have reached out to McGowan, via “Diana Filip,” who claimed to be an investor at a wealth management firm called Reuben Capital Partners. Saying she was launching an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace, Filip offered McGowan a $60,000 speakers fee.
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That led to a series of meetings between the two women, where Filip would gather information about her encounters with Weinstein. When McGowan mentioned she had spoken to a New Yorker reporter, Filip quickly reached out to the writer as well.
Filip, it turns out, doesn’t exist, according to The New Yorker. In reality, the magazine says, the woman is a former officer from the Israeli Defense Forces who works for Black Cube. (McGowan and others contacted by the woman reportedly confirmed it was the same person upon seeing her picture.) And the owner of the address Reuben Capital gave as its headquarters says it was not familiar with the company.
Black Cube, in a statement to The New Yorker, said it has a policy of never confirming or denying speculation made with regard to its work.
McGowan, of course, ultimately made her accusations, which led to a number of other women to say they too had been harassed by the media mogul. He has since resigned from the board of his own company and largely been ostracized from the entertainment industry.