A new book from reporter Ronan Farrow claims that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein tried to use his close connection with 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to kill a story about sexual assault allegations lodged by multiple women.
The Hollywood Reporter got a sneak peek at Farrow's newest book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. In it, the former NBC reporter outlines the various tactics Weinstein used to get the network to spike reporting about the Hollywood producer's sexual harassment and assault of dozens of women. At one point, Weinstein — a longtime Democratic megadonor and fundraiser — "attempted to leverage his long-term relationship with Hillary Clinton to pressure Farrow," according to the Reporter.
In summer 2017, while Farrow was trying to lock down an interview with Clinton for his foreign policy book — while also still working on the Weinstein story — he received a call from Clinton's publicist, Nick Merrill, who told him that the "big story" Farrow was working on was a "concern for us." Then, in September 2017, according to an email cited in the book, Weinstein wrote to Deborah Turness, the ex-president of NBC News who now runs NBC News International, to propose a docuseries on Clinton. "Your Hillary doc series sounds absolutely stunning," Turness responded.
Weinstein's most successful line of attack was leveraging NBC's Today anchor Matt Lauer's own history of sexual misconduct, according to Farrow. "Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer's behavior and capable of revealing it," he writes. Farrow also reports for the first time that Lauer's treatment of women at NBC necessitated seven-figure payments and nondisclosure agreements.
Frustrated at the lack of progress at NBC, Farrow turned to the New Yorker to publish his Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé.
The book adds more details to the story Farrow told in an April 2018 interview with ABC News. "Hillary Clinton had scheduled an interview while I was at the height of the Weinstein reporting, and her folks got in touch and said, 'we hear you're working on a big story,' sounded very concerned, and tried to cancel that interview," he said. "Over the Weinstein stuff."
After the New Yorker broke the story in 2017, Clinton was criticized for taking five days to release a statement saying she was "shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein." Actress and former Clinton surrogate Lena Dunham has stated publicly that she warned the Clinton campaign about Weinstein, only for her concerns to go unheeded.