….or as it could also be known: “a tale of how deep money and power run.”
This novel was THRILLING! It chronicles Ronan’s investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Ronan relentlessly chases down the facts by encouraging the victims to go on record, which they eventually do, leading to the expose in The New Yorker.
There were a few things about this story that I found interesting. First of all, how did someone like Lisa Bloom become so corrupt? Her whole career was based on helping women….but I guess it doesn’t matter when there are millions of dollars at stake. Also, speaking of corruption….NBC!! I understand covering up for Matt Lauer because he was their star anchor, but to disregard taped stories of Weinstein’s sexual assaults from his actual victims is beyond unethical. There was even a taped confession of Weinstein admitting to sexual assault, but again, I guess money took priority over honest journalism.
Ronan describes how he was followed by the Black Cube — an Israeli spy agency — in an attempt to intimidate him into dropping the investigation. This really drives home the point I made in the first sentence: Weinstein was so rich and powerful, not only did he have the American media in his back pocket, he also was able to pay out millions of dollars to an international spy agency. As it turns out, it wasn’t enough to save him from those guilty charges (note that Catch and Kill was written before Weinstein’s trial began)
I want to circle back to Matt Lauer for a second. The details are horrific, and Matt was clearly manipulating his female coworkers into sleeping with him because he knew he had power over them. He was fully aware that NBC would cover up his actions by paying off his accusers and forcing them to sign an NDA. Matt’s affair with Brooke Nevils was a central part of this scandal. Just to recap, they slept together one night while on a trip to the winter Olympics in Sochi. When they returned to New York, they continued having an affair until he supposedly called it off. Brooke was obviously concerned that if she reported Matt, she would lose her job, as many of her other female colleagues had. As an adult, she made a choice to do what it took to keep her job. Again, it’s clear that Matt was a bully, but we all have choices in life. I don’t think it’s fair for Brooke to play the victim card, when she was engaging in a consensual affair with him. She only did what she had to do to survive, and it is what it is.
One minor criticism I have of the novel is that it dragged a bit at the end. There was way too much detail about Black Cube, then the story randomly jumped to Trump having an affair with the Playboy model, then jumped to Weinstein. Finally, Ronan gets to the part about Matt Lauer. I felt the writing got a bit sloppy, and the storylines above could have been condensed into a maximum of 5 chapters.
The MeToo movement has done wonders in creating conversation around sexual assault and harassment. If we dig a little deeper though, will any company choose firing their number 1 money maker in favour of doing right by the assistant, who is completely replaceable? The top priority of any company will always be to earn the maximum amount of revenue possible, and I just don’t see them easily sacrificing money in the name of integrity.