TW: Sexual assault & sexual harassment
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.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
This isn’t my typical read, but I’m so glad that I got the chance to read it! Chapters from it were assigned in my Advanced Organizational Communication class, so my classmates and I got to have lively discussions about a bunch of the topics discussed in the book, including what caused so many people who knew about Weinstein’s behavior to stay silent (i.e., the hierarchical mum effect and the moral mum effect). I’ll spare you all the info. dump of theories and organizational communication jargon, but looking through that lens really helped to understand how Weinstein got away with so much for so long.
I’ve never known a whole lot about journalism, so the practice of calling the person that a story is about to allow them a chance to respond was new to me. My class had lengthly discussions about Weinstein’s behavior within the few days that the reporters gave him to respond, but we had never given much thought to someone having the chance to respond. We were all stunned by the intimidation techniques that Weinstein used, especially how he had his adversaries followed by hardcore private investigators.
The authors/reporters, Jodi and Megan, wrote a fantastic book; their writing was both engaging and easy to understand, and their journalism practices were clearly explained. The work that they did to help to bring Weinstein’s despicable behavior to light was incredible, and the lasting impact that came in its wake (such as the #MeToo movement) will not soon be forgotten. The chapters about Christine Blasey Ford were a great addition. I remember when that news broke (as well as the Weinstein allegations), so to learn about what went on behind-the-scenes was extremely interesting and insightful.
Overall, the book is an extremely interesting read, and I highly recommend it.The bravery of the women that spoke their truth (both recognized in this book, as well as those that posted to social media) are incredibly inspiring, and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this book.