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Nearly two years since a New York Times exposé brought Harvey Weinstein’s flush career to an abrupt halt, leaked audio of call between the former media mogul and two Times reporters is revealing how he sought to defend himself before the publication of the bombshell piece.
When reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey called Weinstein in October 2017, 48 hours before their exposé ran, they asked him for comment on the three decades’ worth of sexual harassment allegations they had compiled. Weinstein, who was with his attorney Charles Harder during the call, responded, “I think you ought to be specific and tell me who they are, and if they’re on the record.”
Inside Edition obtained the 59-minute audio of the conference call, which was not recorded by Times reporters, from Frank Gil, the former head of human resources at The Weinstein Co., who, according to Gil, was ordered to tape the call by Weinstein. The Times reporters asked at the beginning of the call if they could record it, per journalistic standard, but Weinstein said he wasn’t comfortable with that. When asked, Weinstein said he was not recording the call, either.
At another point in the call, Weinstein defends himself, saying, “I’m not a saint, but I’m not the sinner you think I am.” In multiple other instances, he refers questions to his attorney, Harder.
Weinstein also threatens to undermine Kantor and Twohey’s initial reporting on his alleged misconduct, saying at one point, “There are many mistakes you’ve made. I promise we will find them,” and at another, “It seems like you have a lotta hearsay on your hands. I’m gonna say this nicely: Get the facts right. You’re journalists.”
A Times spokesperson said of the call, “This call with Harvey Weinstein and his legal team, which took place two days before The New York Times published its initial investigation detailing sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, is part of the routine process of journalism. Our journalists regularly reach out to those who figure prominently in our coverage for comment to ensure fairness and accuracy.”
Inside Edition additionally interviewed Gil, who said that Weinstein had become paranoid that a mole inside his company was a Times source. At one point, “I go to Harvey’s office, the first thing I see when I walk in are guys wanding the wall for bugs. From there, I took over and Harvey is like, ‘I want you to find out who’s leaking the information,’” Gil told the news program.
In a lawsuit filed June 19, Gil claims that Weinstein failed to pay a promise $450,000 payment to Gil for investigating who had leaked information to the Times, a task he was assigned one day after the first Times story ran. Gil claims to Inside Edition that he concluded that executives at the top of The Weinstein Co., and even Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein, had originated the leak. Gil says he resigned once furor over Weinstein’s alleged behavior began to grow and was never paid for his work.
The initial Oct. 5, 2017, investigation of a history of allegations against Weinstein, penned by Kantor and Twohey, broke open the floodgates of the #MeToo movement, prompting other women to share their stories of Weinstein and misconduct by other powerful men. In the wake of the Times story, The New Yorker released a story penned by Ronan Farrow that unveiled new allegations, while stars including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow stepped forward with their own Weinstein stories. Weinstein denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
The former co-head of The Weinstein Co. was arrested in May 2018 and charged with forcible sexual acts against women in 2013 and 2004, with bond set at $10 million or $1 million cash. Since then, Weinstein reached a tentative settlement with other female accusers and faces sex trafficking claims in a separate lawsuit. The trial in his New York rape case is set for Sept. 1.
Inside Edition will air its segment on the call on Thursday.
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