The instant New York Times bestseller.
"An instant classic of investigative journalism...‘All the President’s Men’ for the Me Too era." — Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
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.
Rumors had swirled around Harvey Weinstein for decades, and the
New York Times’s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were not the only reporters to put their noses to this ugly trail. But as they spoke to actresses and, in a surprising turn, more and more female former employees of the Weinstein Company, they discovered that settlements and nondisclosure agreements had smothered the truth. The steps taken by others to conceal Weinstein’s actions and give them legal cover are almost as chilling as Weinstein’s abuse, and Kantor and Twohey’s unwinding of this camouflage is a delicate maneuver made possible only by women willing to break their silence. The reporters’ urging of an actress to go on the record about Weinstein’s abuse and a last-minute face off with Weinstein and his lawyers in the
Times’s offices brings the investigation to its pinnacle of tension. As the book switches to another high-profile accusation, the pacing grows clunky, likely because the authors were not embedded in that investigation, but then rises again, buoyed by a small gathering of very different women at Gwyneth Paltrow’s house. Their candid talk on the lingering toxicity of abuse, social media backlash, and the damage to these women’s careers caused by both silence and speaking out will bring home to readers how one abusive moment can ruin lives, and how listening to what “she said” is the first and important step to stopping someone from perpetrating crime after crime.
“A binge-read of a book, propelled, for the most part, by a clear, adrenaline-spiking ticktock of how their stories came together, and studded with all manner of new astonishing details...This is Kantor and Twohey’s story and one everyone should read for a panoply of reasons. By simply recounting their reporting, the two offer a masterful explanation of how a man like Weinstein is allowed to abuse his power and many women for so long in something approaching plain sight…In many ways, “She Said” is more significant than “All the President’s Men,” and not just because journalism is currently under siege, financially and politically, in a way it was not in the 1970s. There was a finite number of people responsible for the crimes of the Nixon administration; the alleged crimes of Harvey Weinstein are also the crimes of our culture, and they continue to be committed every day by many men all around the world. Although now, one hopes, without as much silence, secrecy and cultural complacency.” —
Los Angeles Times Review
“''She Said,'' a new book detailing the astonishing behind-the-scenes of the New York Times’s bombshell Harvey Weinstein exposé, is an instant classic of investigative journalism. If your jaw dropped at the newspaper’s original allegations against the predatory movie mogul, prepare for it to hit the floor as authors Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount how they uncovered the story: secret meetings, harrowing phone calls, private text exchanges with A-list actresses agonizing over whether to go on the record. Ashley Judd plays the stoic warrior; Gwyneth Paltrow, the circumspect liaison who tries to help the reporters find other sources.” –
Monica Hesse, The Washington Post
“She Said, the journalists’ clear-eyed record of that effort, reads at some moments as a thriller, and at others as an indictment of a system full of rot. But it is ultimately about the women, bonded in their pain, who refused to be silent any longer.” –
“‘She Said,’ a chronicle of the #MeToo era by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, reveals the power of women who, together, refused to stay silent.” –
The New Republic
“Kantor and Twohey even-handedly assess the impact of the #MeToo movement thus far while also turning a perceptive, hopeful eye on the way forward.”
She Said is the story
behind the story that changed the world….Come for the shocking reveals, stay for how the book expertly parses the current moment.”—
“‘She Said’ is riveting and, crafted by two of the country''s most talented journalists, a vibrant, cinematic read.”—
“Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are two names that future generations will read about in history books.” —
“Kantor and Twohey have crafted their news dispatches into a seamless and suspenseful account of their reportorial journey, a gripping blow-by-blow of how they managed, “working in the blank spaces between the words,” to corroborate allegations that had been chased and abandoned by multiple journalists before them. . . Watching Kantor and Twohey pursue their goal while guarding each other’s back is as exhilarating as watching Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the pitch. . . It turns out we did need to hear more about Weinstein — and the “more” that Kantor and Twohey give us draws an important distinction between the trendy ethic of hashtag justice and the disciplined professionalism and institutional heft that actually got the job done.”—
Susan Faludi, New York Times Book Review
“An instant classic of investigative journalism. The book is packed with reluctant sources, emotional interviews, clandestine meetings, impatient editors, secret documents, late-night door knocks, toady lawyers and showdowns with Weinstein himself. The cumulative effect is almost cinematic, a sort of “All the President’s Men” for the Me Too era, except the men are women, and they don’t protect the boss, they take him down.”—
Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
She Said is first and foremost an account of incredible reporting, the kind that takes time, diligence and the kind of institutional support many newspapers can no longer afford. For journalist readers, it is a chance to watch experts at work. And this book is a rare view for nonjournalists into the exacting and rigorous process of quality reporting, and it acts as an implicit counterargument to rising, ambient skepticism of the press. Kantor and Twohey show the background research they ran on sources, to protect both them and the paper, the careful way they documented and substantiated information, and their extraordinary precision in acquiring proof. . . Deeply suspenseful, a kind of less swaggering
All the President''s Men.”—
“Kantor and Twohey, writing a professional memoir that often reads as a riveting work of true crime, offer damning evidence for what is by now a familiar theme: a legal system that promises blindness and balance—the mechanisms through which truth might be finally determined—and too often comes up short.
She Said finds Kantor and Twohey (and the extensive team of editors, lawyers, and fact-checkers who bolster their work) exposing not merely Weinstein, but also the system that kept him, at the expense of so many others, safe... So while there is triumph in
She Said—the book is a tale of investigative reporting’s power to nudge the world out of its complacencies—there is also a sense of necessary open-endedness... The journalist offers the evidence; it is for the rest of us to decide what the justice looks like.”—
“Kantor and Twohey are godsends…their reporting and their commitment were pivotal in the #MeToo movement, and this history is flush with gratitude for the women who trusted them with their stories.”
– The Oregonian
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are investigative reporters at the
New York Times. Kantor has focused on the workplace in her reporting, and particularly the treatment of women, covered two presidential campaigns, and is the author of
The Obamas. Twohey has focused much of her attention on the treatment of women and children, and, in 2014, as a reporter with Reuters News, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Kantor and Twohey shared numerous honors for breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, including a George Polk Award, and, along with colleagues, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
In 2017, when we began our investigation of Harvey Weinstein for the New York Times, women held more power than ever before. The number of jobs once held almost exclusively by men—police officer, soldier, airline pilot—had narrowed almost to a vanishing point. Women led nations including Germany and the United Kingdom, and companies such as General Motors and PepsiCo. In one year of work, it was possible for a thirtysomething-year-old woman to make more money than all of her
female ancestors had made in their combined lifetimes.
But all too often, women were sexually harassed with impunity. Female scientists and waitresses, cheerleaders, executives, and factory workers had to smile past gropes, leers, or unwelcome advances to get the next tip, paycheck, or raise. Sexual harassment was against the law—but it was also routine in some jobs. Women who spoke up were frequently dismissed or denigrated. Victims were often hidden and isolated from one another. Their best option, many people agreed, was to accept money as some form of reparation, in exchange for silence.
The perpetrators, meanwhile, frequently sailed to ever-higher levels of success and praise. Harassers were often accepted, or even cheered, as mis- chievous bad boys. Serious consequences were rare. Megan wrote some of the original articles in which women alleged that Donald J. Trump preyed on them—and then she covered his triumph in the 2016 election.
After we broke the story of Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and abuse on October 5, 2017, we watched with astonishment as a dam wall broke. Millions of women around the world told their own stories of mistreatment. Large numbers of men suddenly had to answer for their predatory behavior, a moment of accountability without precedent. Journalism had helped inspire a paradigm shift. Our work was only one driver of that change, which had been building for years, thanks to the efforts of pio- neering feminists and legal scholars; Anita Hill; Tarana Burke, the activist who founded the #MeToo movement; and many others, including our fellow journalists.
But seeing our own hard-won investigative discoveries help realign attitudes left us asking, Why this story? As one of our editors pointed out, Harvey Weinstein wasn’t even that famous. In a world in which so much feels stuck, how does this sort of seismic social change occur?
We embarked on this book to answer those questions. Nothing about the change was inevitable or foretold. In these pages, we describe the motivations and wrenching, risky decisions of the first brave sources to break the silence surrounding Weinstein. Laura Madden, a former assistant to Weinstein and a stay-at-home mother in Wales, spoke out just as she was reeling from divorce and about to undergo post-cancer breast surgery. Ashley Judd put her career on the line, spurred by a little-known period in her life when she stepped away from Hollywood to immerse herself in big-picture thinking about gender equality. Zelda Perkins, a London producer whose complaints against Weinstein had been sup- pressed by an agreement she had signed two decades before, spoke to us despite potential legal and financial retribution. A longtime Weinstein employee, increasingly troubled by what he knew, played a key, and previ- ously undisclosed, role in helping us to finally unmask his boss. We intend the title, She Said, as a complicated one: We write about those who did speak out, along with other women who chose not to, and the nuances of how and when and why.
This is also a story about investigative journalism, beginning with the first uncertain days of our reporting, when we knew very little and almost no one would speak to us. We describe how we coaxed out secrets, pinned down information, and pursued the truth about a powerful man even as he used underhanded tactics to try to sabotage our work. We have also, for the first time, reconstructed our final showdown with the producer—his last stand—in the offices of the New York Times right before publication, as he realized he was cornered.
Our Weinstein reporting took place at a time of accusations of “fake news,” as the very notion of a national consensus on truth seemed to be fracturing. But the impact of the Weinstein revelations was so great in part because we and other journalists were able to establish a clear and over- whelming body of evidence of wrongdoing. In these pages, we explain how we have documented a pattern of behavior based on first-person accounts, financial and legal records, company memos, and other revealing materi- als. In the wake of our work, there was little public debate about what Weinstein had done to women; it was about what should be done in response. But Weinstein has continued to deny all allegations of non- consensual sex, and has repeatedly asserted that our reporting is incorrect. “What you have here are allegations and accusations, but you do not have absolute facts,” a spokesman said when we asked for a response to the rev- elations presented here.
This book toggles between what we learned during the course of our original work on Weinstein in 2017 and the substantial amount of information we’ve gathered since. Much of the new reporting we present about Weinstein helps illustrate how the legal system and corporate culture has served to silence victims and still inhibits change. Businesses are co-opted into protecting predators. Some advocates for women profit from a settle- ment system that covers up misdeeds. Many people who glimpse the problem—like Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother and business partner, who granted extensive interviews for this book—do little to try and stop it.
As we write this, in May 2019, Weinstein awaits a criminal trial for al- leged rape and other sexual abuse and faces a volley of civil suits, in which actresses, former employees, and others are seeking to hold him financially accountable. No matter the outcome of those cases, we hope this book will serve as a lasting record of Weinstein’s legacy: his exploitation of the work- place to manipulate, pressure, and terrorize women.
In the months after we broke the Weinstein story, as the #MeToo movement exploded, so did new debates about topics ranging from date rape to child sexual abuse to gender discrimination and even to awkward encoun- ters at parties. This made the public conversation feel rich and searching, but also confusing: Were the goals to eliminate sexual harassment, reform the criminal justice system, smash the patriarchy, or flirt without giving offense? Had the reckoning gone too far, with innocent men tarnished with less-than-convincing proof, or not far enough, with a frustrating lack of systemic change?
Nearly a year to the day after our Weinstein story was published, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor from California, appeared before a U.S. Senate committee and accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh, then nominated to the Supreme Court, of sexually assaulting her while drunk in high school. He furiously denied the allegation. Some saw Ford as the ultimate hero of the #MeToo movement. Others saw her as a symbol of overreach—a living justification for the mounting backlash.
We saw her as the protagonist of one of the most complex and revealing “she said” stories yet, especially once we began to learn how much about her path to that Senate testimony was not publicly understood. Jodi watched from the hearing room, observed some of her legal team as they worked, and met her the next morning. In December, Megan conducted the first post-hearing interview of Ford, over a breakfast in Palo Alto. In the following months, she had dozens of hours of additional interviews with Ford about how she came to raise her voice and what the consequences were. We also spoke with others who shaped and witnessed her experience. We tell the story of Ford’s journey to Washington and how an overwhelming array of viewpoints, institutions, political forces, and fears all came to bear on her.
Many people wonder how Ford has fared since her testimony. The final chapter of this book consists of a unique group interview, in which we brought together some of the women we reported on, including Ford, across these different stories. But something larger is at stake in Ford’s odyssey too: that continued question of what drives and impedes progress. The #MeToo movement is an example of social change in our time but is also a test of it: In this fractured environment, will all of us be able to forge a new set of mutually fair rules and protections?
This book recounts two astounding years in the life of women in the United States and beyond. That history belongs to all of us who lived it: Unlike some journalistic investigations that deal with locked-away government or corporate secrets, this one is about experiences many of us recognize from our own lives, workplaces, families, and schools. But we wrote this book to bring you as close as we could to ground zero.
To relate those events as directly and authentically as possible, we have incorporated transcripts of interviews, emails, and other primary docu- ments. There are notes from the first conversations we had with movie stars about Weinstein, a searching letter that Bob Weinstein wrote to his brother, excerpts from Ford’s texts, and many other firsthand materials. Some of what we share was originally off the record, but through additional reporting, including returning to the parties involved, we were able to include it here. We were able to depict conversations and events that we did not witness firsthand through records and interviews. All told, this book is based on three years of reporting and hundreds of interviews conducted from London to Palo Alto; the endnotes give a detailed accounting of which information we learned from which sources and records.
Finally, this book is a chronicle of the partnership we developed as we worked to understand these events. To avoid confusion, we write about ourselves in the third person. (In a first-person account of our reporting, which was collaborative but often involved us following separate threads, “I” could be either Jodi or Megan.) So before we slip into that way of telling the story, we want to say, in our own voices: Thank you for joining our partnership for the duration of these pages, for puzzling through these events and clues as we have, for witnessing what we witnessed, and hearing what we heard.