Real-life intrigue in Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill

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I recently read Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, an account of his investigation into and exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual abuse in Hollywood, of the cover-ups that took place over decades by not only Hollywood, but by police departments, prosecutors, and the media.

It’s fascinating to read Farrow’s account of his investigation, the many women he talked to, and the way the story was suppressed by his news agency. He also lays out the corporate espionage and pressure tactics used against him by Weinstein, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to a private investigation firm to surveil and investigate Farrow himself to see who he was talking to and what he knew.

It was the exposure of Weinstein that triggered the sudden explosion of the #metoo movement in October 2017. It really is shocking to hear how sexual harassment and abuse was ignored in Hollywood (and certain political campaigns and other industries). It was widely known, but allowed to go on for decades.

Catch and Kill, by the way, does not refer to killing women, but the practice of buying the exclusive rights to someone’s story in order to suppress it rather than to publish it, a practice that was used over and over again by certain media outlets in order to protect Harvey Weinstein.

I returned to… a story about the Hollywood “casting couch”—performers being harassed or propositioned for transactional sex at work… “You should look at Rose McGowan, she tweeted something about a studio head…”

Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most power­ful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement

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