Weinstein’s Spies, Donald Trump’s Mom, Roy Price: Broadsheet for Nov. 7
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The New Yorker publishes another explosive report about Harvey Weinstein, female Viagra may be getting a second life, and Meg Whitman makes a move. Have a productive Tuesday.
• Harvey's army of spies. In another incredible piece of investigative reporting, The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow—the same journalist who broke the news of the rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein—details the lengths the movie producer went to suppress the mountain of harassment and rape accusations against him (57 women have come forward so far).
Farrow reports that Weinstein hired a number of intelligence agencies to investigate both his alleged victims and the journalists who sought to bring the story to light.
"The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with [intelligence agency] Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies 'target,' or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories."
Weinstein "monitored the progress of the investigations personally."
In a statement, Weinstein’s spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, said, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”
The full story (which is truly a must-read) details a number of instances in which intelligence officers impersonated journalists or women's rights activists with the intention of extracting information from alleged victims and reporters pursuing the Weinstein story. Aside from being as thrilling as any crime novel, it goes far in helping to answer the question, "How did this stay quiet for so long?"
It's also an excellent reminder to all of us that those in power have plenty of resources—and motive—to silence their victims. And for those who might think Weinstein is simply an extreme case, recall that now-deceased former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes used similar tactics (private investigators, intimidation) to keep a lid on the allegations against him.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Big Bridgewater deal. Bridgewater Associates—the world's largest hedgefund—pushed out and paid a former female employee $1 million after she engaged in a consensual relationship with top executive Greg Jensen. Jensen is considered to be founder Ray Dalio's right-hand man and had been "groomed over two decades to succeed him." He still has his job and says that "accusations of my behavior are inaccurate and salacious." Wall Street Journal
• Fracas in Flint. Karen Weaver, the first female mayor of Flint, Mich., was elected in 2015 under the promise that she would clean up the city's water (it was confirmed earlier that year that it was tainted with lead). Now, she "faces City Council members accusing her of corruption, a court battle over Flint’s long-term water source and, on Tuesday, a recall election that could snuff out her four-year term at the halfway point." Weaver blames the drama on racism (she is black), sexism, and petty politics. New York Times
• The future of female Viagra. Valeant is selling Sprout—the maker of "female Viagra" drug Addyi—back to the latter's original shareholders. Valeant purchased Sprout two years ago for about $1 billion, but sales of Addyi (its only drug) haven’t provided close to a return on its investment. Sprout's backers have said—in a lawsuit, no less—that the subpar returns are the result of a poor marketing job. The suit will be dismissed as part of the sale. Fortune
• Fear Us Women. Fortune's Ellen McGirt shares the story of Hanna Bohman, a Canadian woman who traded in her life in Vancouver to join the women's militia of the Kurdish People’s Defense Unit in Syria—essentially a group of female volunteers fighting the Islamic State. One stand-out fact from the harrowing tale: “ISIS believes that if they’re killed by women, they go to hell." (Being killed by a man sends them to heaven.) An upcoming documentary on Bohman is aptly called Fear Us Women. Fortune
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Will Price pay a price? A WSJ investigation into Amazon Studios suggests that the alleged misconduct of Roy Price, the exec who was ousted last month amid sexual harassment accusations, goes well beyond what the public knows. "In addition [to behavioral issues], business troubles were allowed to fester" and people who work at Amazon "are now asking how the Seattle giant let those issues build for so long." Wall Street Journal
• Out with the old? Meg Whitman-led HPE, the enterprise-focused half of what used to be Hewlett-Packard, is leaving Palo Alto and relocating to Santa Clara, Calif. The current HQ, which has been the company’s home since 1957, will be sold. To get a better sense of why this is such a big deal, try to imagine General Motors leaving Detroit. Fortune
• The college fund gap. Results from two financial-industry polls indicate that parents of boys are saving more than parents of girls for their children's education. One study by T. Rowe Price revealed that 50% of boy-only households had money saved for their children’s college compared with only 39% of parents of girl-only households. Another study by student-loan marketplace LendEDU revealed a similar gap: 6% of women said their parents paid for a majority of college, and 50% said their parents paid nothing at all. Among men, 10% said their parents paid for most of college, while 43% said their parents paid nothing. Wall Street Journal
• The OG Mrs. Trump. Politico offers a fascinating look at President Donald Trump's relationship with his mom, Mary MacLeod. "In interviews over the past several decades, the president has called her 'fantastic' and 'tremendous' and very warm'—'a homemaker who 'loved it.'" And yet the publication's interviews with a number of those in Trump's circle paint a picture of an all but non-existent relationship between the two. Politico
ON MY RADAR
Promethea unbound Atavist
The gender pay gap happened to me. Now what? Lenny Letter
The 12-year-old prodigy whose first language is Mozart CBS
Notre Dame will stop covering birth control for students and employees CNN