Harvey Weinstein hired ex-Israeli Mossad agents to spy on and suppress victims he sexually abused

Harvey Weinstein allegedly hired an “army of spies”, including former Mossad agents, in an attempt to stop accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him, according to a report in the New Yorker.

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

The report, published on 6 November, alleges that two Black Cube investigators met with actor Rose McGowan, who later publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to obtain information.

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Weinstein “unequivocally denies” all claims of non-consensual sex, a spokesperson for the producer says.

The New Yorker also claims that one of the investigators secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan while pretending to be a women’s rights advocates, citing dozens of pages of documents and seven people directly involved in Weinstein’s efforts.

The investigator reportedly used a different fake identity to meet a New York magazine journalist who was investigating allegations made against Weinstein. She also allegedly attempted to broker a meeting with Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker journalist who reported 13 claims of abuse made against Weinstein last month, and also wrote the 6 November investigation.

Weinstein and the private investigators also used journalists to extract details from women who were making claims against the film producer, according to the magazine.

During his yearlong effort, Weinstein and his team are accused of collecting 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 reports that Weinstein sought the assistance of ex-employees from his movie enterprises to help collect names and place calls. Investigations also allegedly sometimes went through Weinstein’s lawyers. Among them, the New Yorker claims, was David Boies, who represented Al Gore in his 2000 presidential election dispute with George W Bush.

The New Yorker claims Boies had signed a contract demanding that Black Cube seek to uncover information to stop the publication of a New York Times story about Weinstein’s sexual abuse when his firm was also representing the Times in a libel case. Boies told the magazine “it was a mistake” to have been involved with the investigators.

Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister dismissed the report, saying: “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”

Neither Hofmeister nor Boies immediately responded to requests for comment.

The New York Times called Boies’ alleged behaviour “inexcusable” and said it would be “pursuing appropriate remedies”.

“We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters,” the paper said in a statement. “We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe.”

Following the publication of the New Yorker report, McGowan praised Farrow for his investigation, tweeting: “Ronan Farrow your words will line the halls of justice.” Meanwhile, another person alleged to have been spied on, actor Asia Argento, described the revelations as terrifying, writing on Twitter: “Why didn’t I, @rosemcgowan, @RoArquette [Rosanna Arquette] @AnnabellSciorra spoke [sic] up earlier? We were followed by ex-Mossad agents. Isn’t that terrifying? Very.”

The latest allegations against Weinstein came as the Television Academy, responsible for the Emmy awards, announced it had expelled Weinstein for life. The move follows similar actions by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

“The Academy supports those speaking out against harassment in all forms and stands behind those who have been affected by this issue,” a spokesperson for the Television Academy told Variety, adding that it was reviewing the organisation’s code of conduct.

“We are determined to play a role in protecting all television professionals from predatory harassment, ensuring they are able to practice their craft in a safe environment.”

Police in London, Los Angeles and New York have launched investigations into the alleged behaviour by Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by more than 90 women.

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