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Report: Weinstein hired 'army of spies' to hinder investigation

A new report alleges that producer Harvey Weinstein hired private investigators to stop journalists from digging into his past. The agents reportedly posed as victims to try to gain information on Weinstein's accusers.

Harvey Weinstein hired a number of private investigators and spies in order to crush the mounting rumors that he was a sexual predator, according to a report published by The New Yorker on Tuesday.

Along with The New York Times, the magazine broke the story that shocked the US in October, when it emerged that Weinstein had been sexually harassing and assaulting women in Hollywood for decades.

According to documents seen by The New Yorker, Weinstein hired several private security firms, including one called Black Cube, "run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies" in 2016. He then contracted the investigators to stop the publication of the sexual assault allegations against him.

To that end, the companies' agents posed as women's rights activists and other Weinstein victims in order to pry information from journalists investigating the story about who was planning to accuse the superstar producer publicly. They also reportedly tried, in this guise, to befriend the actress Rose McGowan, who has said that Weinstein raped her.

Rose McGowan (picture-alliance/empics/The Canadian Press/AP/Invision/R. Shotwell)

Actress Rose McGowan was reportedly targeted by Weinstein's investigators over her forthcoming memoir 'Brave,' which publisher Harper Collins says will "shine a light on a business built on systemic misogyny"

Weinstein's lawyer implicated

The report states that Weinstein's lawyer David Boies hired Black Cube, even as his firm was representing The New York Times — one of the publications that was investigating the producer. Boies told the New Yorker that he did not believe the two responsibilities represented a conflict of interest, as he did not "select the firms or direct the investigators' work." He did however admit that it was a mistake to get involved with contracting Black Cube.

Boies famously argued the case for marriage equality after the state of California banned same-sex unions in the 2008 ballot measure Proposition 8.

Responding to the new claims, Weinstein's spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said "it is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time."

About 100 women have publicly said the former Hollywood kingmaker sexually harassed or assaulted them, and police investigations into Weinstein have been launched in London, New York and Los Angeles.

Many of his alleged victims have detailed strikingly similar stories about a culture of abuse and secrecy in which Weinstein used his influence and position to coerce women into sexual acts.

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