"Catch and Kill," Little, Brown and Co., by Ronan Farrow
Farrow had been working on investigative reports for NBC, including a series about the "dark side" of Hollywood, and Weinstein's name kept coming up. Within the first 80 pages of this 414-page tome, it becomes clear why this apparently open secret failed to gain traction in either law enforcement or among journalists who previously tried to report on it. As an example, the NYPD had worked with an accuser and obtained a taped confession that Weinstein groped her, and yet, the Manhattan district attorney's office chose not to press charges. Farrow documents how various members of Weinstein's legal team made significant campaign contributions to that same DA. Equally troubling, Farrow's bosses, who began getting persistent phone calls from Weinstein, advise Farrow to "give it a rest" and work on other stories. Given the extensive detail Farrow provides about these interactions throughout the book, it is difficult to believe NBC's blanket denial over Farrow's version of events.
We learn that Allen had hired private detectives to trail law enforcement officials who were investigating him, a "campaign to disrupt the investigators," and charges were ultimately dropped. Farrow shows how Weinstein employed similar tactics, hiring an Israeli firm to track and investigate his accusers, Farrow and others. Farrow gets a sense that he's being followed and multiple sources urge him to be careful; this is when the book starts to sound more like a novel. Farrow puts copies of his reporting and the evidence in a safety deposit box, should anything happen to him. As he gets closer to publishing the story, Farrow moves out of his apartment into a friend's "safe house."
The book is utterly disheartening in its revelation of widespread abuses and cover-ups, the leverage of power and money to evade accountability and the many lives that were devastated in the process.
Farrow, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting, closes with this note of hope and warning: "In the end, the courage of women can't be stamped out. And stories — the big ones, the true ones — can be caught but never killed."