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How the N.Y. Times got Ashley Judd and other Weinstein victims to talk

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

How do you persuade A-list actresses like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow to take down one of Hollywood's biggest producers? That's exactly what New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey explain in "She Said," their new book about the Harvey Weinstein investigation.

"We wanted to illuminate the experiences of these brave women, like Ashley Judd, the back stories of how it was that they stepped up and went on the record, the gut- wrenching decisions they faced behind the scenes," Twohey said Monday on NBC's "Today" show. "We also wanted to talk about the machinery that was in place to silence those women and block this investigation."

Judd, who accused the producer of sexual harassment, joined the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters on Monday ahead of the launch of their book, which hits shelves on Tuesday. (The women were later accompanied by Rowena Chiu, a Weinstein accuser who broke a nondisclosure agreement Monday when she alleged that the producer tried to rape her.)

Judd explained how she got involved in the investigation and why she agreed to be a named source in Kantor and Twohey's articles, which were first published in October 2017.

"I'm good with the God of my understanding and I've been good with Harvey Weinstein for a long time because I know what he did to me, and I know what he did to a lot of my colleagues, and I was unafraid of him, and I was very comfortable with the power of these two and their investigative reporting and the power of the New York Times," Judd said. "It's a venerable institution, and their legal team had vetted their reporting and I knew that it was all going to be OK."

"It was time," she added.

 

In "She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement," Kantor and Twohey recount how they persuaded the women and Weinstein Co. employees to come forward for their New York Times investigation.

"We recount the very first tentative conversations, fruitless searches for contacts and final confrontations with Weinstein on the phone," Kantor said.

The groundbreaking story, its sister piece in the New Yorker and follow-up articles delineated Weinstein's alleged pattern of behavior and the legal settlements that perpetuated the alleged misconduct. But it was just the tip of the iceberg. The reporting launched the far-reaching #MeToo and Time's Up movements, several criminal investigations into Weinstein (and several other powerful men) and led to the downfall of the once-untouchable Hollywood mogul.

Weinstein, who now has more than 80 accusers, is set to go to trial in January. The producer has vehemently denied allegations of assault and non-consensual sex.

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