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“Full disclosure: I barely knew who Harvey Weinstein was,” Twohey noted Wednesday during the pair’s keynote address at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast gala, presented by Lifetime.
They developed those sources, however, and their reporting on a litany of sexual assault and harassment allegations against Weinstein, spanning several decades, first published in 2017, helped lead to the former movie mogul’s downfall (he was convicted on sexual assault and third-degree rape charges in New York and is currently on trial in Los Angeles for alleged crimes that took place there). They won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 (shared with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker) and later expanded their stories into the book She Said — which was adapted for the recently released film starring Carey Mulligan as Twohey and Zoe Kazan as Kantor.
Mulligan introduced Kantor and Twohey at Wednesday’s WIE breakfast, saying she owed the two “an immense debt.”
“I think I’d talk to my children differently. I think I’d enter work negotiations differently. I think I would walk down the street differently,” Mulligan said. “Because the story they broke wasn’t about one man. They were interested in systems that uphold and have upheld that behavior for millennia. And the story that broke, broke the dam and has begun the work to dismantle that system.”
As they worked the story, Kantor recalled, they faced resistance and “condescending lectures” from a number of Hollywood executives about the supposedly ingrained nature of the business.
“They told us sexual harassment was just an unfortunate fact of the entertainment industry — and the workplace,” Kantor said. “That even if we got the story, we were naive to think anyone would care.”
That, of course turned out not to be the case: Kantor and Twohey’s reporting, along with Farrow’s, set off seismic changes in Hollywood and elsewhere, serving as a spark for the #MeToo movement. “The bravest among you went on the record, putting careers on the line, with no idea what was going to happen on the other side,” Twohey said. “Others gave us crucial information that helped us nail the story.”
Added Kantor, “Women in this industry took the casting couch and set it on fire.”
Twohey and Kantor closed their speech by noting the lessons they took from the Weinstein story, namely that there is strength in numbers when “confronting a bully” and that speaking out amid a culture of silence and non-disclosure agreements can cause change.
“There’s no knowing how much other people might care about your story,” said Twohey, “until you tell it.”
THR’s Women in Entertainment gala is is sponsored by Best Buy, Cadillac, Spotify, eOne, FIJI, Gersh and SAG-AFTRA and in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, Chapman University, College Access Partnership and Loyola Marymount University. The gala took place in conjunction with the publication of the Women in Entertainment Power 100 list.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek