Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Published by Little, Brown ISBN 9780316486637
Hardcover, $30, 464 pages
With the Harvey Weinstein trial going on in New York City right now, Ronan Farrow's book, Catch and Kill is a timely read.
Farrow was working as an investigative journalist for NBC News after his afternoon MSBNC show was cancelled. In Catch and Kill, he details how he and his NBC News producer Rich McHugh spent months tracking down women who said that they had been sexually assaulted by mega- Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
They tracked down women, like actress Rose McGowan, who had written cryptic tweets about being sexually assaulted by a studio head, and got them to tell their stories on tape. Farrow went to Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of the Today show, and Oppenheim encouraged him to keep digging.
But soon that stopped. When Weinstein heard what Farrow was doing, he exerted his considerable influence with the top people at NBCUniversal to put a stop to Farrow's investigation. Farrow also discovered that he was being followed by two shady guys hired by Weinstein to see what he was up to.
Farrow and McHugh eventually were told to stop their investigation, even though they had more than enough evidence to bring the women's allegations to air. Oppenheim, who had been supportive of Farrow, told him they didn't have enough evidence, but he was free to take his story to a print publication.
Which is what Farrow did. David Remnick at The New Yorker magazine welcomed Farrow, and he and his team worked with Farrow to vet all of the evidence, and published a damning piece in the magazine that went on to eventually win Farrow the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
Farrow also recounts working on stories about Matt Lauer's sexual abuse allegations that got Lauer fired from Today, as well as the publisher of The National Enquirer 's cozy relationship with Donald Trump. The title of the book, Catch and Kill comes from the Enquirer's policy of paying sources for information about Trump's extramarital affairs, then hiding the evidence in a safe, thereby "killing" the story before the 2016 presidential election.
Reading Catch and Kill, you are astonished at how the circle of wealthy, powerful men who commit these heinous acts intersect, and the people (mostly, but not all, men) who rally around them (including supposedly reputable law firms) to protect them. It will anger you, and rightfully so.
And you will feel anguish for the women who suffered greatly, first after bring assaulted by these men, and then being victimized again after coming out in public with their experiences. The #MeToo movement that enveloped the world came about from the far too many brave who women spoke out on social media about their experiences.
Catch and Kill is well-written, and fast-paced, feeling almost like one of your favorite fictional thrillers. Unfortunately, it isn't fiction, but reality. I highly recommend it.
Farrow also has a podcast that delves deeper into his book. You'll find it here.