NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22:  Harvey Weinstein attends the "Hands Of Stone" U.S. premiere after party at The Redbury New York on August 22, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Weinstein reaches $44 million settlement in civil case
00:30 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Harvey Weinstein’s brother, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and a top Weinstein Company executive were among the main sources for The New York Times reporting that broke open the scandal surrounding the accused movie producer.

CNN has obtained an advance copy of “She Said,” a book written by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, which focuses on the sources they used and how a few interviews turned into full-blown investigations.

The disgraced media mogul already faces five felony charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his attorneys have said the acts were consensual.

The book maps how the reporters uncovered multiple complaints from female employees about inappropriate behavior; payoffs for keeping quiet about sexual advances; employees walking around in fear; and a pattern of threats and retaliation.

Here are just some of the newest revelations:

Paltrow described Miramax employees living in fear

Weinstein’s brother Bob consented to multiple interviews for the book, which also illustrates the various threats and intimidation tactics Weinstein and his legal team directed at the Times’ reporters. Those reporters discovered Weinstein’s patterns of targeting women who were new to the job, bargaining of sex in exchange for work and a “sickening” repetition of hotel encounter stories.

Irwin Reiter, the former vice president of accounting at The Weinstein Company, is revealed as a major source for the writers. He was part of the Weinstein companies including Miramax since 1989 and saw a pattern of questionable behavior.

There are also several accounts of conversations with current and former actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow who struggled with going on the record for fear of retribution. Weinstein is described by one alleged victim as someone “pathologically addicted to conquering women.”

Authors Kantor and Twohey describe Paltrow as a “dead-center source who might know more than anyone yet.” Paltrow described the employees at Miramax as living in fear of Weinstein’s volatility.

“It’s the H-bomb, the H-bomb is coming, they would warn before he approached.”

Paltrow was hesitant to go on the record back in 2015 because her company, GOOP, was dealing with bad publicity and didn’t want to add more controversy, but she used her Hollywood network to help enlist other Weinstein victims according to the authors. Paltrow eventually did go on the record after the timeline depicted in this book. GOOP declined to comment.

Why the accusers came forward

The authors write that they began their investigation by trying to locate former employees of Miramax and Harvey Weinstein. Although reluctant to speak out, those former employees eventually began to tell their stories.

Zelda Perkins was a former assistant to Weinstein when she was 22 and said Weinstein had harassed her from “practically the first day.”

“He was pathologically addicted to conquering women.” She wore parkas to his room for protection. “I always managed to say no,” she said. “On trips to Paris and Rome, ‘he would just hand out cash, which was your blood money,’” Perkins said. “You’d come home from trips with him with a weird comedown of guilt and relief that you’d survived.”

CNN was unable to locate a contact for Perkins, but according to the book, she attended a January 2019 meeting with the reporters at Paltrow’s California home. Weinstein has denied the allegations.

In 2015, shortly after Weinstein agreed to a new contract that included a code of conduct, another female employee – Lauren O’Connor – came forward with a long complaint against Weinstein detailing a bigger picture on how he treated women at the company, according to the memo Reiter provided the authors. In a complaint to the Weinstein Company board of directors in which she described being “sexualized and diminished.” She said to the authors, “Female Weinstein employees are essentially used to facilitate his sexual conquests of vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.” Though considered credible by some of the board members, the complaint which Reiter provided to the authors, “evaporated,” according to the book. CNN has reached out to O’Connor who eventually settled with Weinstein.

Former assistant Rowena Chiu, who broke her non-disclosure agreement earlier Monday when speaking on NBC, says in the book that she wore two pairs of tights for protection during one meeting. “But as she tried to work, he interrupted with an escalating series of sexual requests, for massages, a bath. She tried to appease him by taking off one pair of tights and letting him massage her. When his hands wandered further, she protested she wanted to get back to the scripts.” Chiu said she was inspired to come forward after the 2019 meeting at Paltrow’s home. Weinstein has denied the allegations.

Company executives were alarmed

Reiter says he became alarmed about Weinstein’s alleged behavior and wrote an email to Weinstein in 2014 telling his boss to “stop doing bad shit.” He then confronted Weinstein who, he says, admitted nothing. Reiter says Weinstein started calling him the “sex police” around the office. Reiter connected the authors with three employees whose stories have since been published by the Times. Reiter has not responded to CNN’s multiple requests for comment.

According to the book, Harvey Weinstein punched his brother Bob in the face in front of several other executives, including Reiter, in 2010 or 2011, after an argument over finances. In 2015, as contracts were set to expire, Bob Weinstein wrote a letter to his brother delivered through Harvey’s attorney David Boies to try and ensure Harvey get “in-depth professional treatment for his sexual behavior.”

In the letter Bob wrote, “Over the years I can if I wanted to make a list at least one hundred times, I am not exaggerating, that’s five times a year, over twenty employees have come to my office complaining that they have been verbally and emotionally abused by you.” He also wrote, “There are other behaviors that I will not describe that u are aware of that need to be addressed.”

Bob Weinstein also provided the Times reporters with copies of personal checks he had written to pay off two of the women to prove that no company money had been used.

Weinstein legal team’s delay tactics

The book recalls how during their reporting, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet warned Kantor and Twohey that Weinstein might turn to “increasingly desperate practices” and to “assume you’re being followed” and “Talk like every call is being taped.”

As the publication date grew closer, multiple Weinstein lawyers including Lisa Bloom, David Boies, Lanny Davis and Charles Harder spoke to reporters, continually asking for more time to respond.

The book details delay tactics by Weinstein’s team and a contentious back and forth with the Times’ staff.

Baquet, who hadn’t spoken with Weinstein or any of his reps until this point, tells Lanny Davis, ” I’m sick of this shit.” “You’ve got five different lawyers reaching out to us. We’re not talking to five different lawyers. Get your people in line and get back to us with your response.”

After the deadline for response passes, attorney Harder sent the Times an 18-page off-the-record memo threatening a defamation suit and asks for two weeks to respond. Harder described “the former employees [who were] helping the reporters were ‘disgruntled, have ulterior motives, and seek to supply you with false and defamatory statements.” CNN has reached out to Harder for comment.

Harder also asked for all communications with the reporters’ sources to be preserved. In turn, the paper, which viewed this tactic as “legalistic bullying” requested the same of the Weinstein, the company and its executives.

Weinstein then informs the paper that he is coming to provide off the record information about two alleged victims, which the paper subsequently dismissed as “nasty, dubious and thin.”

The authors write that Weinstein’s team allegedly leaked a story to Hollywood Reporter about the Times investigation in which Weinstein denied knowing anything about the paper’s efforts.

As a result, Kantor and Twohey received an influx of inquiries from multiple people who wanted to speak with them about similar experiences, thus opening up the investigation in to Weinstein even further.

After the Times story published in 2017, Weinstein called the paper and said, “The retaliation is going to be about your reporting.” “I’m sorry to the women, too.” “I’m no saint, we all know.” “I’m already dead. I’m already dead,” he said. “I’m going to be a rolling stone.”

CNN’s Laura Dolan, Laura Ly, Brynn Gingras, Jean Casarez, Bonney Kapp, Sarah Boxer, Brian Vitagliano, Madeleine Thompson and Monica Haider contributed to this report.