Read this: Ronan Farrow's Battle to Report
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BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 Harvey Weinstein what's the Untouchable Hollywood Mogul until a bunch of reporters got on his case and Meghan on the media show this year are the New York Times reporters who story in October 2017 triggered weinstein's downfall surprise without yesterday Ronan farrow story published a few days later in the New Yorker including the first accusations of rape and serious sexual against Weinstein why is he denies all allegations of non-consensual sex including the charges for which your face trial in New York next month to book catch and kill about his investigation.
He has critics plenty but supporters.
He's the best American reporter of his generation his journalism which helped launch the me too movement has had a profound effect on our culture for this special edition.
I started by asking when he first encountered this subject and Harvey Weinstein at a cocktail party at a conference hosted by Charlie Rose and we were jealous of that time.
I was I was an anchor on MSNBC cable network in the States what was your impression of it was quite charming United I had the vague associations most people with him, which was that he was volatol and course and somewhat larger than life.
I've had read your blood type things about the Casting Couch and had not everything about sexual abuse non-consensual activity which ultimately can fly quickly as it started reporting on him that you had that first meeting with this might be a guy who is a future target now.
Oh boy, I was an attorney by training didn't practice match be on my summer associate, but I have checked the national admission to practice in the States I did a doctorate in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar for American scholars.
Come over I did some work for UNICEF in various African countries.
I spent four years at the state department first working in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a global role focused on youth uprising is customary in this country to at this point.
They were used by I couldn't really tell you if I was that sounds like you possibly.
Why did you become a journalist? I wanted to tell stories that moved and inspired people and expanded people Streisand's and some meaningful words are conscious of my privilege growing up in a high-profile.
With connections possibly influencing single mum, but she was a famous actress and I got to meet fascinating people and grab comfortably spirit of public service from my childhood was doing intensive humanitarian work adopted kids with disabilities are various types around the world and people loved my sport and I wasn't of the hand that they were down and while I don't know that I would have the cojones 2.10 special needs kids.
I did wanna do something that you paid forward the identity which were considerable as conscious of it.
What do you think the function of journalism? Is I think that without journalism.
We don't stand a fighting chance at holding a powerful people in both of our country's.
And so journalism is about you know nothing about in the activism of creating specific reforms in one way or another but about furnishing a democracy with the facts on which change can be built you didn't know that when it came to Harvey Weinstein who mentioned your investigation to him was published in the May 2017, but you say that you had the story earlier when you're working for NBC American TV network what happened to that story I spend more than 7 months working on the rides in story at NBC News and that the executive there then ordered me and my service working on the story to start to stand down to cancel over interviews and as it turns out this with a company with a lot of secrets and they were engaged in a lot of backchanneling with everyone soon as he did play a role in MVC not reading that story.
I don't go beyond what the facts are very careful about which is the NBC executives who were responsible for killing the story.
At least 15 secret calls with Harvey Weinstein in which they directly promise to kill the story before any jurisdiction and made about it to put their side of the moon every single open Home open, how much do we have no secrets and nothing to hide over the last decade NBC News has been on the Frontline of exposing sexual misconduct the notion that there's one story among all the others be sensitive and difficult would be handled differently is illogical and absurd none of the calls NBC executives received from Harvey Weinstein with different from the calls received during other stories and investigative unit brakes and none of it play any role in decision-making Ronan farrow's effort to define NBC News is clearly motivated not by pursuit of truth, but by an axe to grind it is built on a series of distortions confused timelines and outright inaccuracies that point of view and clear nbc's reporter is having her that you got on her and said I have independently operated that they ordered to stop the reporting.
And what this axe to grind in the quote from no oppenheim? What do they think that is really unclear you know I had a wonderful relationship with all of those people up until the story which every working level drama.
Story was upset about how did you find out that they were going to kill that story was it that happened a traditionally overtime was there when you go to call you back off from the very beginning.
They really strange science which might produce.
It was more of a total better and immediately identified as fishy.
You know the saying you're wonderful put on the back burner and then that turned into where have you passed reporting? But what does that mean to pause pause? And then you know over the course of the narrative that and you'll see how my brother is very nice repetitive work in secret and then we did bring things forward each time.
There is a method to wash it and stop us and that did escalate into a harder to stop.
Reporting no often hi Motors us to stop 6 x directly under tremendous tremendous article country in this is a situation where we have a literal type of Harvey Weinstein admitting to a sexual assault which was exposed in the American President when everywhere and was run on all that works including NBC after I broke it for the New Yorker and we had a real sense of ethical obligation to put that and the rest of the evidence accumulated including multiple on the record claims of rape out there to protect others potentially huge ethical quandaries you say you stress.
What's the impact that having a mental health? You know I thank you for asking that it feels like that.
You know if someone has Meghan Markle is she ok? I think that was sometimes Meghan Markle said she was grateful for it.
I mean I think we don't talk about mental health to nothing in my time in journalism.
They've been tired and I've been under normal stress after being around very big stories.
I agree completely in the book is very forthright in dealing with the fact that I was not sleeping with losing weight.
I was not depressed, but I was at times frightened who is on the Run was suspected as being followed and eventually unravels.
There is a clue that why move to prove that I mean follow that you won't be that's right and was this international espionage operation that I was in the crosshairs of in there are people using false identity is approaching me and sources were trying to get a gun and moved at my home.
So it was a stressful time.
Yeah, I've been reporting apps for breakneck Speed with a great deal of caution and surrounding out these wonderful fact checkers and editors of the New Yorker but still in a very kind and back-to-back on broken going right into this body of a pudding for the book which had to be airtight and has held up as a result of that, but the end result in terms of my mental health is that I am very tired and rundown.
Probably need a vacation probably few scoops you might find you have a longer break.
Did you have medication for you as well? I didn't I only recently finishing the booking deadline crepe pancakes around and fact-checking going through legal which as with any story that a report on its contentious.
I finally a pressure for my wonderful partner to get a prescription so I did that which actually that you know I completely support whatever combination of talk therapy and medication is appropriate for any individual and in my case helped tremendously and I wondered at the fact that I never thought to do that in the midst of the events in the book it probably would have helped.
Thank you for being so why did the storage the New Yorker specifically has posted another network or publication well the moment when NBC executives started telling us.
Take the story elsewhere was the suggestion that one of the three gone so they had ordered stopped reporting and began to suggest you know this would make a great piece should bring it and bring it somewhere else.
There is the weather of where do you bring my producer and I have these conversations were absolutely everything to lose their nevertheless refused these orders to stop reporting but real voice of principal inspired me to do better and Rich you know this whole career to become a little too much in your terms of the sunshine things down and so he suggested the New Yorker to know but he had this conversation turned over ok.
You know could could we go to New York magazine and the Dilemma by the way was he was originally on but he knew that because he was an NBC staff reporter taking it out of the door and his involvement in the story how to add in that order.
Send down and stay away from it.
So he was just out of his sense of fairness principle helping me but he knew that this was also something that meant he was no longer part of the reporting on so it's a real activeself.
We quickly determined you know there's just almost nowhere to go and I went through publication by publication that there was no that was Out of Reach this man's influence in the end the New Yorker also had its own history where they had struggled to break the story several times, but I believe I haven't asked to Kennel ladder the red are there who had proceeded over the years that they had stopped short because they sincerely didn't have it, then you didn't start it was worth the gamble of seeing if now that I could bring what they needed and then quite some time elapsed where I was actually out in the cold.
I was putting the New Yorker
I was hopeful that they would go forward with it, but I was still proceeding with these leads that NBC has ordered me to stop pursuing but once I did send me away.
I just really want x-ray showed up so I was paying out of pocket for chemicals to keep these interviews on I was now that I know organisation behind me getting Harvey Weinstein personally.
That's me myself individual which is quite scary.
I never learnt interceptors there were just flooding into every office of my agents like that.
You know Hogwarts letter in Harry Potter orifice of the creative artists agency was in receipt of lots of letters flying in her when she was going to see the pads offer me and and then it was weeks before I went back into the other having stayed in touch with an adult or there a preliminary meeting that David remnick and that this wonderful letter they went because
Has sense that I had you know the moment they heard that tape they said they were interested in a secluded so they knew that it was serious, but then your car is it in the conical place and so I continue to drink with their informal support you know the general counsel there.
Thank goodness in an unusual move for a cautious lawyer gave me informal advice and said you should keep going with this your special ability won't be that substantial until something actually runs.
No one is going to want to see you until there's a story out there.
So you know don't get to rattled by these crazy and then I came back in for a follow-up meeting and they said ok.
Let's do this and then it was all systems.
Go, how did you get your sources? You know people to question that a lot more to the point they decided on their own steam to go on the record and journalistic trout where you might go to one source and say.
I've got the other sources to one source the other sources of potential go on the record as we're trying to attempt to encourage these other sources and more than that obviously more persuasive than others are considering is others have gone on the records so the domino effect is very critical to a wide body of a pouring like that to some sources.
Did you let the names of the women who are giving me permission to be talking to each other know and it was very important to know whether that was to kiss your part of this party 11:00.
So persuasive was that so many sources were independently recounting very very similar MMOs what's your due to the sources to do.
It's on going somewhere this was a traumatic.
Set of recollections that were being dredged up and it was also a traumatic process coming forward and somewhere to Sainsbury's.
Brave women who were risking everything and they also made that decision themselves it why it took months of conversation and I think that one of the most powerful things I was able to do in the process with just listen and give them the space to make the wrong decision and you know I still get calls from some of those people on the bad days and thankfully for most of them.
They have what was the last contact you have to have your honesty.
I have not personally took a Harvey Weinstein since the fact checking process which is very intense in this conversation describe the extent that it came with the granules involved in the book and the distant pretty extraordinary stuff that went down there.
Would you like to talk too? Well? I was going to say I've been in touch with him since then another word for the book.
Are you asleep? It was very very rigorously that checked by a senior fellow at the New Yorker so that men approaching Harvey Weinstein and his people and he had the option to have you know a person.
Switch off the M18 to go on the record or even talk Off the Record in this case it was all headed to his representatives.
What was the most serious threat that he or his team ever made to you.
I don't be personally but you can talk about that, but no I mean that they were threatening to wake me up with the lawsuit all of those legal threat letters for him said he had cut a deal with NBC and he had written assurances from that.
They would terminate the reporting and never report on the topic again and in his calls.
There is a lot of Menace about you know him having a television career and gotten rid of me from NBC and we should get a period in case it's not the case today and we spoke on this show isn't really know to Jerry Cantrell and the others like them about the counter operation that weinstein's team was using employed this company called Black cubes.
What the core of your book catch and kill is about black he was used to investigate his accusers and you at one point actually make contact with one of the people have been contracted to get you and like something out of a horror.
His name is not as much as cash and kill is about these very dark applications and crimes and cover-ups and one of the more amusing plot threads is well frightening at the time when you pull back.
I don't know if there's a little bit of black comedy in these kind of Tweedledee Tweedledum Russian and Ukrainian investigators were on my tail throughout the book and doing things like peeing into a bottle because their hours are outside my apartment and falling around the neighborhood happens to look like me a little bit so it was a little hapless at times but on a more serious no one of the kind of razor blade in the darkness of the plot twists and catch and kill or about these incredible whistleblowers who refused to keep going with these operations and in fact turn into sources and try to expose them.
Wildturtle events about a secret Source Code sleepover started jumping documents to prove that there is this espionage operation and that's how I was able to break that story and in large part.
Ostrovski as you mentioned the Conscience of the Court of chasing around and then becomes the source and he goes this incredible monologue mum and son as he knows based on actual records and feels like movie dialogue talks about growing up in a police state where there is no freedom of press and believing in the Press and feeling a fronted feeling tag on his basic freedoms that he was involved in quashing reporting and when did you become conscious you in a race with Jodie cancel the New York Times to get your story at a relationship with that was complicated because
What's the nearest standard competitive situation where there are two sets of you know graders in great news rooms working towards the finish line for the life of the story I was out in the cold and I had address for trying to kill the story at NBC and what that meant is that it was actually as a source of strength for me to know that the times was on the story as I was been told that these executives.
It's not a story now and how did it feel when the X I talked about the uncertainty of that and that you know on a selfish love all there is this degree of self-pity thinking that they might Scooby and then when they didn't when they didn't have any assault allegations.
It was so cute sleeping beauty is talked about this latter was totally surprised our reporting ultimately that reinforce each other that they broke his claims and ultimately broke the first assault claims to powerful publications tackling those two halves of the storage required different ended up being the most powerful outcome possible.
On 10th October 2017 over 7000 words, how did your will change it? I mean one meaning for consequence for me as with any reporter on a story of that size is my inbox very quickly filled up with leads from everyone's whistleblowers to people that sort of forms of corporate corruption and malfeasance.
I am profoundly grateful anytime I have the chance to rigorously interrogate serious crimes like that and following a trail of clues from Harvey Weinstein to Donald Trump to all of these circles of mutual protection and power in Media in politics.
No, it's not my job to be involved in the outcome of a criminal proceeding my job is to fairly sort out the truth.
I mean both of the sources and Harvey Weinstein and he says that one point in the proceedings.
He says there are your favourite or unfair she doesn't feel that he's mad at what has happened in terms of being exposed to this way, but ultimately United everyone at the New York and go to bed at night knowing that they did a really terrified Rob and a factor of them all that were responsible for a famous American family you and the service broadcaster before the story of talking about your mum is having a famous name having a famous face that helped or hindered your work, but yeah, I can be a double-edged sword it can be a source of scepticism and reason for people to be reluctant taken seriously or resentful my public profiles now also about the reputation of acquired as a journalist which can also be a double-edged sword you know there's a lot of people who pick up the phone because
I'm alone for today and hopefully part of that is that they have faith that I'll be there in my reporting there are also people who hang up really quickly because I tend to be quite top of my reporting and not everyone wants their call.
I have to be a lot of calls with I'm not calling about you calling for information about someone else whether it there is actually a viral Halloween costume of people wearing t-shirts with the running for on the caller ID like that so frightening promise you it's not a vast majority because I'm just getting information and it's not alive, but you know I would say that I overall only try to take the good from that having a back when I have an hour having the reputation.
I have professionally is a privilege.
Not every reporter has a canna profile and despite the fact that at times it can create complication.
Mostly it is to my brightest diamond quality.
I don't know how this translates into American but you feel like you're stuck two fingers up to the doctor's so she said to me, what is that what that means? It's maybe when you were like a middle finger, what is half as bad maybe it's like maybe there is some people who when you got an NBC show when you're in your early 20s said disclose only there because he's a Hollywood royalty and now actually broken a story which is changed America some people say the world you feel like you prove until the doubters wrong.
I've been very fortunate and I completely understand that reaction because you know I did have completely unfair degree of privileged a lot of open doors and I think we all have to clock her own privilege and all you can do is keep your head down and keep you in the year.
I asked you first report analyses the new police series of investigations into other high-profile alleged abuses you say that the story started to come to you you since made to extraordinary.
About trump and his relationship with the National Enquirer what are they in the case of the enquiry? I broken a series of stories about this practice which is known in American tabloid journalism as cat comes from which is acquiring the rights to stories to bury them and often at the behest of a powerful person in Trump's case during the election.
There is a series of cases running choir arrangement with trump and his Associates to get rid of stories whether they were going on and in some cases like the affair that he had with Karen McDougal the Playboy model it appears that there was true when they wanted to keep it out of the public which is a potential violation of election.
What are there is quite a lot of money changing hands to bury the stories and you see in the book as I'm breaking news stories enquiries getting more angry and this is completely untrue but never had an arrangement with trump this was just about you know the stories that we bought not meeting or journalistic standards and then in the end.
Did you admit to it as an agreement with?
Who sang We Didn't but does unlike Harvey Weinstein does Donald Trump President Trump seem to you to be immune to journalism? I don't know that you can draw that comparison because he hasn't been the kind of journalism about Donald Trump first say that there has been about somebody's other figures you every case is different and this may frustrate America Donald Trump has not been accused of rape by the broader group of sources describing the same memo that the client against Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault that important to say and in quite graphic language is better.
There is the pussy grab table which was none of setting thing for women in America and the lack of accountability after the release of that tape was I think something that fuelled the frustration of some of my sources.
I'm trying to to make both points which is Donald Trump's accused of serious things some of which are documented in my own reporting and I know where would ever downplay that that said you'd rather comparison that you do to Harvey Weinstein I'm in in the weeds back this guy and their different patterns and the Harvey Weinstein claims were expensive and extraordinarily violence in a way that is me be matched in a couple of the allegations against trump, but you haven't had the kind of meticulously laid out single body of reporting where he can't imagine to the New Yorker whatever has laid out ok here are all of the serious claims in a way that is corroborated to the nth degree now that may happen.
You know that there is a lot of smoke and I'm on the reporters who has been pursuing a serious stories about him, so stay tuned and I wouldn't discount it.
Someone who thinks they are real consequences when there is the right type of journalism and as much as trump has had this telephone quality.
I think if the facts were there to establish the kinds of serious claims that we've seen against somebody told everybody I think you would see consequences, but I can tell you think about that area would like to turn your turn to send me this field.
Is it going to be born one story that I'm working on now.
Hope will come to parishioners much for national Security or renting a huge water my background and policy reporting adding that the state department also driven by a lot of great whistleblowers who put the drugs online so all I can say is that I hope that whatever I can't do it shines a light on Dark places and holds powerful people caravan somewhere.
Catch and kill, thank you very much indeed for talking to the media here.
Good to be there.
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