‘There will be a movement’ threatened Harvey Weinstein, in retaliation to the New York Times article coming out on October 5, 2017 accusing him of over thirty years of sexual predation.
There WAS a movement, surely, but not in his support, nothing like he imagined, nothing like anyone could have predicted. The #MeToo movement came roaring and all teeth bared for a stand down with powerful predatory men across workplaces, across industries and countries. Everywhere around the world the power dynamics shifted, women came out in huge numbers against the injustices of their workplaces, the accused men (and women) were held accountable and some kind of action was taken against them and the world as we knew it was changing.
All that happened thanks to the power of investigative journalism and the courage of two women, #JodiKantor and #MeganTwohey. Their book, #SheSaid goes behind the scenes of the Weinstein scandal – from the earliest days of evidence gathering, gently coaxing women to come forward to travelling across the world to listen to more stories, hindered by the interference of an Israeli intelligence group, finding credible sources from within the Weinstein company and finally, a last-minute showdown with Weinstein in the NYTimes offices.
Jodi and Megan worked for months, round the clock, constantly travelling, tallying up and working all angles to put out a story in spite of the threats by Weinstein and his lawyers. The two journalists were bolstered by equally courageous people, the investigative and executive editors, research assistants, company lawyers, and the few brave women who came forward to tell their stories and countless brave women who didn’t. It takes a village, as they say.
They have not adorned their words, there are no personal stories of Weinstein or the women, they have not detailed out the toll it took on their individual lives, instead they write a reportorial account of how their story came together peppered with astounding details. There are no dramatics, no fictionalisation of facts, and still She Said reads as a suspense thriller, a gripping page-turner.
The last two chapters are dedicated to Christine Blasey Ford who came out to accuse Brett Kavanaugh, then Supreme Court nominee. These are shorter chapters, but equally impassioned, but also disjointed, since Jodi and Megan are not direct participants of this investigation or the courtroom ordeals.
She Said ends in an epilogue called ‘The Gathering’ where some of the accusers gather to talk about life in the aftermath. These are women from all around the world meeting at Gwyneth Paltrow’s house to recount their stories of endurance. These chapters, unlike the book, are personal and intimate, resounding with the voice of sisterhood, between Megan and Jodi, who looked after each other throughout to the collective coming together of women in support of each other in Paltrow’s living room and everywhere around the world.
In the end, this book is a testament to disciplined journalism and its power to change the world, one story at a time. This particular story deserves a read and a few repeats.