(JTA) — Harvey Weinstein hired private security agencies to collect information on the women and journalists trying to expose allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him, including an Israeli firm made up of former Mossad agents.
Black Cube, which Weinstein hired in the fall of 2016 in order to suppress the allegations, has branches in Tel Aviv, London and Paris, and offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow reported Monday, citing the company’s literature and website.
Farrow interviewed 13 women who said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them and reported about it last month in the New Yorker, one of the first articles about the famed Hollywood filmmaker’s alleged abuses.
The Black Cube agency was hired specifically to prevent The New York Times and the New Yorker’s investigative reporting on Weinstein, as well as actress Rose McGowan’s book discussing his alleged abuse, the New Yorker reported, citing one of several contracts signed with Black Cube.
Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies collect information on dozens of individuals and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein personally followed the progress of the investigation. He also enlisted former employees from his film companies to collect names and place calls that some sources who received them said felt intimidating, according to the magazine.
In a statement to the New Yorker, Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”
One Black Cube operative who called herself Diana Filip, the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments at Reuben Capital Partners, a London-based wealth management firm, met with McGowan several times on the premise that she wanted to launch an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace. She also asked McGowan to speak at a gala kickoff event later that year for a fee of $60,000.
After McGowan told the woman that she was talking to Farrow for the New Yorker article, Filip called the reporter. Farrow discovered that Diana Filip is an alias for a former officer in the Israel Defense Forces who originally came from Eastern Europe and was working for Black Cube, he reported, citing three individuals with knowledge of the situation.
The same operative also suggested to a New York magazine reporter that she had an allegation against Weinstein, apparently trying to keep the reporter away from legitimate accusations.
Black Cube did not comment to the New Yorker on the specifics of any work it did for Weinstein.
“It is Black Cube’s policy to never discuss its clients with any third party, and to never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work,” the agency said in a statement. “Black Cube supports the work of many leading law firms around the world, especially in the US, gathering evidence for complex legal processes, involving commercial disputes, among them uncovering negative campaigns.”
The agency also said: “It should be highlighted that Black Cube applies high moral standards to its work, and operates in full compliance with the law of any jurisdiction in which it operates — strictly following the guidance and legal opinions provided by leading law firms from around the world.”