Supporting role, David Boies: When the MeToo revelations started to break, we were amazed by the conduct of people like Weinstein and Lauer and Rose.
We were also amazed by the number of highly-placed people who seem to have let such conduct proceed. Everyone knew, but no one had heard! That seemed to be the party line as colleagues of various miscreants swore that they'd had no idea.
Based upon current reporting, Meghan Twohey and Jodi Kantor discuss another category of enabler in their new book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.
There are only two members of this particular group. The facts about their conduct aren't entirely new.
That said, their apparent conduct is especially striking because of their status as well-known alleged feminist warriors. In Tuesday's New York Times, Alexandra Alter delivers the mail about this part of the forthcoming book:
ALTER (9/10/19): “She Said” shows how some figures who have presented themselves as allies of victims have profited from financial settlements that silence them.We can't evaluate Allred's behavior. Bloom's sounds especially grimy.
The attorney Gloria Allred is one of the most vocal crusaders against sexual harassment and assault. Privately, her firm helped negotiate a settlement that muffled one of Mr. Weinstein’s victims in 2004, taking a 40 percent cut. (The firm has also worked on settlements that silenced victims of Larry Nassar and Bill O’Reilly.) In an interview for “She Said,” Allred defends her use of confidential settlements, arguing that clients are not forced to sign them and often prefer them for reasons of privacy.
Allred’s daughter, the lawyer Lisa Bloom, a prominent victims’ rights attorney, was working behind the scenes with Mr. Weinstein—at a rate of $895 an hour—to quash the journalists’ investigation and thwart his accusers. In a confidential memo to Mr. Weinstein that Ms. Bloom wrote in December 2016, which is reproduced in “She Said,” she offered to help him damage the reputation of one of his accusers, Rose McGowan, and portrayed her background as a victims’s rights advocate as an asset.
“I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them,” Ms. Bloom wrote, before laying out a multistep playbook for how to intimidate accusers or paint them as liars. One of Ms. Bloom’s suggested tactics for undermining Ms. McGowan: “We can place an article re her becoming increasingly unglued, so that when someone Googles her this is what pops up and she’s discredited.”
Ms. Bloom accompanied Mr. Weinstein on a surprise visit to the Times the day before the initial article was published, to present the journalists with information intended to portray several accusers—including Ashley Judd, the first actress to go on the record—as unreliable and mentally unstable.
Ms. Bloom has said she was crossing sides to work for Weinstein to encourage him to apologize for his behavior. She later told the reporters that she “deeply regretted” representing him, which she said was a “colossal mistake.”
That said, Alter omits one part of Bloom's reported connection to Weinstein. Consider what Alter says, as she continues, concerning David Boies:
ALTER (continuing directly): Another member of Mr. Weinstein’s legal team, the attorney David Boies, helped Mr. Weinstein evade scrutiny for his treatment of women over 15 years, working to halt reporting on the producer by news outlets, blocking the board of Mr. Weinstein’s company from reviewing his personnel file, and helping Mr. Weinstein execute a contract with Black Cube, an Israeli private investigations firm, that was promised a $300,000 bonus if it stopped the Times investigation. (Ronan Farrow, who published a separate Weinstein exposé in The New Yorker in October 2017, later broke the news of Black Cube’s work for Weinstein.) “She Said” reveals emails showing that during the time that Mr. Boies represented Mr. Weinstein, the two men discussed potential film roles for Mr. Boies’s daughter, an aspiring actress.As Boies was helping Weinstein, he was seeking film roles for his daughter. In her formal review of Twohey and Kantor's book, Susan Faludi describes a somewhat similar connection between Weinstein and Bloom:
FALUDI (9/8/19): Maybe the most appalling figure in this constellation of collaborators and enablers is Lisa Bloom, Allred’s daughter. A lawyer likewise known for winning sexual-harassment settlements with nondisclosure agreements, Bloom was retained by Weinstein (who had also bought the movie rights to her book). In a jaw-dropping memo to Weinstein, Bloom itemized her game plan: Initiate “counterops online campaigns,” place articles in the press painting one of his accusers as a “pathological liar,” start a Weinstein Foundation “on gender equality” and hire a “reputation management company” to suppress negative articles on Google. Oh, and this gem: “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.”In the midst of all that apparent grime, Weinstein apparently favored Bloom by purchasing movie rights to a book she had written. Boies wanted a movie part for his daughter. According to earlier reporting, Bloom wanted her book to become an actual film.
(This claim about Bloom's book first surfaced some time ago. If the claim is discussed in the new book, we don't know why Alter omitted it.)
"Put not your trust in princes," someone is said to have said long ago. This episode teaches a similar lesson about high-profile partisan stars or ideological players.
No one postures more convincingly than Allred and Bloom do. That said, the rewards out there are too damn high; it's been that way for a very long time. Many people will do many things to get their $895 per hour, or to see their book on the silver screen.
Many people will do many things to attain such large rewards. They may betray their apparent values. They may embellish facts on TV shows in order to please the tribe. On occasion, they may even say things which are untrue. They may forget to correct themselves when it turns out that they've misled you in some way.
Trust but verify, someone once said. We'd be inclined to stress the second part of that formula. Good jobs at extremely good pay may undermine good journalism. We'll guess that it happens somewhere on cable every day of the week!
By the way, how much are leading cable stars paid? Given the fact that we all love transparency, why don't they want you to know?