In years past, this is about the time at the Toronto Film Festival when dealmaker Harvey Weinstein would be making his mark. As this year’s festival enters the back nine, the disgraced mogul continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.
She Said, the new book about the Weinstein scandal by New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, claims that prominent civil rights lawyer Lisa Bloom told the disgraced mogul in 2016 she could discredit his accusers and make him a “hero.”
The New York Times published extracts from the book Sunday including an alleged memo from Bloom with an action plan to boost Weinstein’s tarnished image. The “counter-ops” strategy included placing articles portraying actor and Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan as a “pathological liar,” a Weinstein foundation “on gender equality” and a “reputation management company” to suppress negative articles on Google.
Bloom said in the memo, “I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them.”
She continued, “You and I come out publicly in a pre-emptive interview where you talk about evolving on women’s issues, prompted by death of your mother, Trump pussy grab tape and, maybe, nasty unfounded hurtful rumors about you. … You should be the hero of the story, not the villain. This is very doable.”
Bloom took to Twitter on Sunday to apologize for defending Weinstein. She didn’t address the NYT story directly on social media but thanked Twohey, Kantor and Ronan Farrow for “forcing me to confront the colossal mistake I made in working for Weinstein for two years.”
McGowan yesterday called for Bloom to be disbarred:
Actress siblings Patricia and Rosanna Arquette also waded in:
Bloom, daughter of civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, is known for representing women in harassment cases, including those whose claims precipitated the firing of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. She is also known for winning sexual-harassment settlements with nondisclosure agreements. Weinstein had bought the movie rights to her book.
A once frequent cable news talking head, Bloom did not respond to a request from Deadline Monday about the revelations in the book.
She Said also reveals some of the sources for Kantor and Twohey’s investigative reporting, which helped bring down the TWC boss. According to Sunday’s NYT article, it was former TWC accountant Irwin Reiter who provided the journalists with an internal memo from an employee who described Weinstein’s routine harassment of junior female employees and actresses. According to the article, Reiter had become “increasingly alarmed by Weinstein’s behavior toward women and had raised concerns within the company, to no avail.”
The book also discloses the identity of long-silenced Weinstein accuser Rowena Chiu, a former assistant at Miramax who received a settlement in 1998 after Weinstein allegedly assaulted her in a hotel room.
Chiu was on NBC’s Today this morning with Twohey, Kantor and actress Ashley Judd. Chiu recounted the night Weinstein “tried to rape” her and the restrictive NDA she had to sign.
Weinstein, who is facing a criminal trial in New York on charges of sexual assault and rape, denies having had nonconsensual sex and has pleaded not guilty. The trial, originally scheduled to begin today, was pushed to a January 6 start as the New York District Attorney’s Office presented a new indictment two weeks ago containing charges of sexual assault from 2006 and 2013. Prosecutors argued the additional indictment was necessary in order to allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify in the trial.