Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein reportedly tried until the bitter end to prevent exposés detailing his history of sexual misconduct from seeing the light of day. According to Vanity Fair, as it became clearer and clearer to Weinstein that the New York Times and New Yorker were both preparing to publish their stories, Weinstein resorted to an old tactic: lawyering up and using private investigators to dig up more information about potential accusers, the reporters working on the stories, and “those who might be ratting him out to the press.”
According to one source, Weinstein became obsessed with revenge as he tried to figure out how to contain the fallout of what was coming. The stress of the situation visibly affected Weinstein, and he was burning through cash in an effort to stop the inevitable:
In those frantic final days, Weinstein’s appearance — haggard in the best of times — was deteriorating. “He looked awful and could not focus,” said one colleague, who added that the producer was under tremendous financial pressure. “He was burning through [money]” on attorneys and other advisers and, whether related or not, was working to unload some of his real estate. (He reportedly became so strapped for funds that he requested suspension of child-support payments to two daughters from his marriage to Eve Chilton, a former assistant of his.)
In an attempt to buy more time, Weinstein threatened the New York Times with legal action while also offering an on-the-record interview. At the same time, Weinstein was hurriedly trying to delete digital evidence of his behavior:
On October 3, Weinstein and a handful of T.W.C. staffers stood around a computer. An I.T. specialist was summoned and a sensitive document was called up on the screen. Then Weinstein, according to sources present at the time, turned to an assistant seated before him and said, “This is where you get out of the chair.” Another member of the group then stepped in and—at Weinstein’s direction—tried to delete a document called “HW friends” from both the local workstation and the corporate servers.
The file, which did not disappear, was obtained by Vanity Fair. It contained a list of 63 women grouped by location in various cities including New York and London. As one investigator told Vanity Fair, “The optics of that were not good.”
(Via Vanity Fair)