Harvey Weinstein used spies to avoid sexual-harassment claims

Harvey Weinstein speaks at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York.
Harvey Weinstein speaks at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Harvey Weinstein hired journalists and highly trained ex-spies and military personnel who used fake identities to try to stop accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him, The New Yorker reported on Monday.

The news came as the Television Academy, which hands out Emmy Awards, was said to have expelled Weinstein "for life", following a similar move by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, which gives out the Oscars.

Among the private security agencies hired by Weinstein starting around fall 2016, the magazine said, was Black Cube, which is largely run by former officers of Israeli intelligence agencies, including Mossad. Another was corporate intelligence giant Kroll.

Two Black Cube private eyes met with actress Rose McGowan - before she publicly accused Weinstein of raping her - to obtain information.

One of the investigators secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan while pretending to be a women's rights advocate, said the magazine.

The spy used a different fake identity to meet with a journalist while claiming to have an accusation against Weinstein, in order to learn which women were talking to the media.

Weinstein and the private eyes also used journalists to extract details from women who were making claims against Weinstein.

During his year-long effort, Weinstein and his team would collect information on dozens of people, compiling psychological profiles with their personal or sexual histories in order to contradict, discredit or intimidate his targets.

The New Yorker said Weinstein sought the assistance of ex-employees from his movie enterprises to help in his efforts in collecting names and placing calls.