In October 2017, The New Yorker magazine published an article by Ronan Farrow detailing the abuse of power of Harvey Weinstein, a major Hollywood producer.
Rumours of Weinstein’s behaviour had circulated for years (I’m pretty sure I was aware of it in the early 2000’s, if not before. This just from paying attention to nods in magazines. I may not have known any details, but I knew he could make or break a career). Other journalists had tried and failed to get the story out. This is a detailed account of how Farrow managed it, and what the cost was.
I am quite conflicted about this one. I struggled to connect with it for the first half, but enjoyed the remainder. I think part of the problem may have been my expectations going in. I thought it would be more a straightforward retelling of events, keeping to the facts, the reader at arm’s length. Instead it is a very personal account. It is all Ronan Farrow. So it read more like a memoir. Mixed with a Dan Brown novel at times. It’s at its strongest when it’s simply telling the story. Weakest when it’s inserting asides about Farrow’s life/thoughts/quips to his mother about how wet he is/how much weight he’s put on. There are also superfluous anecdotes and extraneous material that to me could have been left out. There’s so much information at times it felt bogged down, especially in that first half.
Example: It mentions an introduction between Rose McGowan and a lawyer. ‘Rose, it’s a great pleasure to connect with you,’ Filip wrote. ‘It is my great pleasure to connect with you as well,’ McGowan replied. Why is this even here? It tells us nothing except you have proof of their connection, which I would have taken you at your word for. The whole first half felt slow going and repetitive, and maybe that’s how it was, but it wasn’t engaging to me. Farrow talks to sources, NBC balks at reporting it, and repeat. Once it’s close to publication it picks up.
The stories told here by the women are horrific and painful to read at times. I am glad they are finally getting their voices heard. I hope they get justice. I wish a little bit that the face of all this wasn’t a man, which is how it sometimes feels. I know that may not be exactly fair given he’s just trying to do a job and the fact that he has a famous last name (and a father also accused of sexual assault) probably influences it all. But still.