New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey called former media mogul Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, 48 hours before their exposé on his sexual assault allegations. The whole 59-minute conversation was secretly being recorded, and now, the leaked audio reveals Weinstein defended himself before the release of the career-altering article.
When asked for comment on the three decades’ worth of sexual harassment allegations, Weinstein, who was with his attorney Charles Harder during the call, responded, “I think you ought to be specific and tell me who they are and if they’re on the record.”
Frank Gil, former head of human resources at The Weinstein Co., alleged he was ordered to record the call by Weinstein. According to Hollywood Reporter, the Times reporters asked at the beginning of the call if they could record it, per journalistic standard, but Weinstein said he wasn’t comfortable with that, and when asked if he was recording, Weinstein said he was not.
Weinstein defended himself in the recording, saying, “I’m not a saint, but I’m not the sinner you think I am,” and in multiple other instances, he referred questions to his attorney, Harder. Weinstein also threatened to undermine Kantor and Twohey’s initial reporting on the allegations against him, saying at one point, “There are many mistakes you’ve made. I promise we will find them,” and at another, “It seems like you have a lotta hearsay on your hands. I’m gonna say this nicely: Get the facts right. You’re journalists.”
In response to the leaked audio, a Times spokesperson said in a statement, “This call with Harvey Weinstein and his legal team, which took place two days before The New York Times published its initial investigation detailing sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, is part of the routine process of journalism. Our journalists regularly reach out to those who figure prominently in our coverage for comment to ensure fairness and accuracy.”
The former co-head of The Weinstein Co. was arrested in May 2018 and charged with forcible sexual acts against women in 2004 and 2013, with bond set at $10 million or $1 million cash. Weinstein recently reached a tentative settlement with some of the female accusers but still faces sex trafficking claims from a separate lawsuit. The trial in his New York rape case is set for September 1st.