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Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

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In this instant New York Times bestselling account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.

All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain — until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture.

448 pages, Hardcover

First published October 15, 2019

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About the author

Ronan Farrow

4 books1,756 followers
Ronan Farrow is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, where his investigative reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, the National Magazine Award, and the George Polk Award, among other honors. He previously worked as an anchor and investigative reporter at MSNBC and NBC News, with his print commentary and reporting appearing in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.

Before his career in journalism, he served as a State Department official in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Farrow has been named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and one of GQ's Men of the Year. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a member of the New York Bar. He recently completed a Ph.D. in political science at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in New York.

(source: Amazon)

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,943 reviews291k followers
April 7, 2020
“I think that it doesn’t matter if you’re a well-known actress, it doesn’t matter if you’re twenty or if you’re forty, it doesn’t matter if you report or if you don’t, because we are not believed. We are more than not believed—we are berated and criticized and blamed.”

Wow, I thought I’d already gotten as pissed off as possible about the Harvey Weinstein case and subsequent NBC scandal before reading Catch and Kill, but apparently not.

This is an unputdownable book about some astounding and incredibly brave investigative journalism. People are going around saying Catch and Kill reads like a thriller-- and it does --but that is partly because this story is so jaw-droppingly outrageous that it feels, surely, like it must be a dramatic work of fiction. Spies, double agents, secret foreign agencies working to bury stories... well, I guess there's a reason we say "You can't make this shit up!"

Catch and Kill is predominantly Ronan Farrow's journey to uncovering and making the public aware of Harvey Weinstein's decades of predatory sexual assault and harassment against the women he worked with. He follows this with a look at how Weinstein wasn't an isolated case, but one of many offenders in an industry where men were abusing their power and using it to silence their victims with NDAs and payoffs.
“The man is not a saint. Trust me, there is no love lost between us. But he isn’t guilty of anything worse than what a million other men in this business do.”

I feel like I've read a lot about the case, but this book really highlights the depth of Weinstein's hold on the film industry. It is genuinely frightening. As if it isn't difficult enough to report sexual assault, this went way beyond that. Women did report it. They reported it, and then were bullied and coerced into signing NDAs. Many careers were ruined. Because this didn’t merely require the reporting of sexual assault, but the takedown of a terrifyingly powerful oligarch and a network of secret intelligence.

It really is quite an outrageous story. The amount of people who were working as double agents and attempting to cover-up Weinstein’s crimes is sickening. This guy seemed to be friend’s with everyone, or at least know something about them that kept them in check. And there was just this assumption that Weinstein was too powerful to touch. Everyone around him looked the other way and let him get away with what he was doing.
“I know that everybody—I mean everybody—in Hollywood knows that it’s happening,” de Caunes told me. “He’s not even really hiding. I mean, the way he does it, so many people are involved and see what’s happening. But everyone’s too scared to say anything.”

The work Ronan Farrow did here-- and the work done by Kantor and Twohey, whose She Said I will also be reading --cannot be overstated. He was personally threatened and spied on and warned against this investigation, but he continued to pursue it. Though this book is not really about him, I did appreciate the few personal insights he gave us into his own life and the way this story consumed him. He seemed to genuinely care about the women he spoke with and respect their boundaries.

I also liked how Farrow made his sources on everything clear, always saying when something supporting his case was just hearsay or opinion. Lack of this was an issue for me with Wolff's Fire and Fury-- I felt like he made a lot of claims and it was unclear how he could have possibly known that. Farrow's approach shows a lot more journalistic integrity, in my opinion.

Amazing journalism aside, Catch and Kill looks poised to be a crowd favourite, even for those who don't usually read non-fiction. It does feel like a traditional detective game of cat and mouse, one in which the pursuer at times becomes the pursued and doesn’t know who he can trust. It is so fast-paced and impossible to look away from that every couple of chapters I would have to shake my head and remind myself it really happened. And that we got the bastard.

Contains some graphic descriptions of rape.

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Profile Image for Lea.
271 reviews94 followers
October 14, 2019
You think you already know this story, but you don’t. This is essential reading.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews152k followers
August 25, 2022
From the moment you read the ominous prologue, Catch and Kill has already held you in the thrall of its dark, unnerving, and at times, emotionally-taxing world. It’s an apt beginning for what follows: a taut plot full of manipulation, blackmail, corruption, and cover-ups—crisscrossing, ugly threads that ran for days through my thoughts.

Catch and Kill is a fast-paced, hackles-raising story that focuses its beam on victims of assault and the silence they are often coerced into, squeezing them like a tight collar. It also ambitiously targets a frighteningly wide cover-up culture, enshrined in legal practices and sets of agreements and payoffs, meticulously designed to bind women into submission.

Farrow’s investigation began in early 2017. The MeToo movement was smoldering, catching fire in some places, doused with water in others. A series of crypted tweets by actress Rose McGowan—alluding to rape accusations by Harvey Weinstein—will eventually ignite a powder keg that will lead to many skeletons tumbling out of the closet. Farrow finds himself in a crystalline, devastating landscape that he has to navigate in bare feet, pushing through an untold litany of horrors. “It’s an impossible story,” Janice Min, the former Hollywood Reporter editor, tells him, “it’s the white whale of journalism.” But Farrow, who had once rigorously discouraged his sister against reclaiming her accusations against their father, Woody Allen, is nothing but determined, and throughout his investigation he comes to understand even more keenly the cruciality of the truth, no matter how corrosive it may be. The necessary overthrow of everything that had felt codified but broken for so long.

Catch and Fire is a spine-chilling illustration of what angry men in power can do when denied something they felt they are owed, and the extreme tools they have at their disposal when they are bent on smothering the truth. These stories are unfortunately so common that they are no longer shocking in any meaningful sense.  “It’s a despicable open secret,” says journalist Jennifer Senior. But reading this book, I couldn’t fathom the scope of it, I couldn’t understand so profoundly my brain skittered, skipped, backed up. Actress Nestor’s words echoed through my mind throughout, like the tolling of a bell: “Is this the way the world works? That men get away with this?”

There were many forces, throughout Farrow’s investigation, that wanted these stories to evaporate like spilled water at high noon. It was like a great chain of obstruction: Weinstein at the top and just behind is NBC, who, despite irrefutable evidence, will attempt to swat away the story as though it was of no more consequence than a broken streetlight. This eventually prompts Farrow to take his story to the New Yorker’s doors, feeling the kind of defeat that is tantamount to a loss of greater faith.

“What did it say about the gulf between the powerful and the powerless that wealthy individuals could intimidate, surveil, and conceal on such a vast scale?”

Catch and Kill is quite the remarkable achievement, and I’m still marveling at how it manages to be many books at once: an investigative report, a gripping literary thriller, a blood-curdling spy novel, and a razor-sharp look at the unglamorous underbelly of Hollywood, which is a closed house, curtains drawn and windows sealed against the sound. But, for me, what makes this book really sing is not some shotgun marriage of genres—it’s the author’s voice, as earnest and relentless as his pursuit for the truth. Farrow presses down hard on the words, committing himself to the telling of the story as doggedly as he pries into all the cracks of this scandal. Readers play investigative journalist right alongside Farrow, as he follows every new lead with the focused air of a hound following an animal trail, and that imbues the book with a keen urgency that’s simply magnetic.

Journalists like Farrow offer up their ability to speak to better serve the voices of others, but this is a tale born out of years’ worth of held breath finally expelled, of strong, resonant voices feeding one another. Women, sick of holding themselves in careful, painful suspension, standing defiant and undefeated, like the flag of a rebel army.

“In the end, the courage of women can’t be stamped out. And stories—the big ones, the true ones—can be caught but never killed.”
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews694 followers
March 2, 2022
This was so good, between this and Bad Blood I feel like I'm really getting into books about investigative reporting. Like a lot of times it feels pretty overwhelming trying to keep up with the news and read reporting regularly but this really allows for a more accessible way to know find out about those same stories. I also really enjoy getting more detail and break down about the process of covering these stories, and I think that was especially important here because of the implications of NBC trying to sit on the story and its broader tie back into the constant concealing of these stories. Also Ronan Farrow is just really likable and I really enjoyed the transparency about his own experiences with his sister and they way he had initially asked her to stop speaking about it and how it eventually played into his own reporting on the issue. Totally enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone. Also if anyone has recommendations for other investigative reporting books, I would love to get them.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,037 reviews2,031 followers
November 23, 2022
Catch and kill is a clandestine method used by the media to prevent an individual from revealing information that might be damaging to someone.

Me Too movement
This book is not something a young lightweight with a famous name (Ronan's parents are Mia Farrow (a Hollywood actress) and Woody Allen (a Hollywood director)), looking for something to do because his contract lasted more than his unsuccessful TV show as Rich McHugh (a former NBC News producer) said. This book is something about the events that led to a movement that is considered one of the most important ones in the 21st century.

Ronan Farrow's role in the Me Too movement
Mr. Farrow had to pass through extremely arduous paths while writing this book. He put his entire career and even his life in jeopardy for it. It is due to his efforts and the amazing willpower of the victims that the arcane secret in Tinseltown was revealed to the public.

The breach of Medical ethics by American Media, Inc (AMI)
These are the words of a senior AMI staff from this book
"We are always at the edge of what's legally permissible. It's very exciting." Illicitly abstaining medical records was one standard manoeuver. At major hospitals, 'the Enquirer' cultivated moles. One such mole, who had spirited the records of Britney Spears, Farah Fawcett, and others out of UCLA Medical Center ultimately pleaded guilty to a felony charge. AMI routinely engaged in what employee after employee called "blackmail"- withholding the publication of damaging information in exchange for times or exclusives. And the employees whispered about an even darker side of AMI's operations, including a network of subcontractors who were sometimes paid through creative channels to avoid scrutiny, and who sometimes relied on tactics that were hands-on and intrusive.

Over the years, the company had reached deals to shelve reporting around Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tiger Woods, Mark Wahlberg, and too many others to count. ".Jerry George, the former AMI senior editor, told, "We had stories, and we bought them knowing full well they were never going to run."

Trauma that survivors had to face
The level of trauma that the survivors had to go through is ineffable. For those with high-profile perpetrators, there's an added quality of inescapability. This we can clearly understand from Rose McGown's words about the experience with Harvey Weinstein.
"I would open the newspaper, and there's Gwyneth Paltrow giving him an award. He was omnipresent."

And then there were the red carpets and press junkets where she'd have to pose with him smiling. "I just left my body again", she said. "I pasted the smile on my face." The first time she saw him again after the alleged assault, she threw up in a trash can.

Harvey Weinstein and the Oscars
The Academy Awards ceremony, or the Oscars, is one of the most important ceremonies in the movie industry. Winning an Oscar is not only a great honor but also gives immense financial benefit to the winners and even the nominees.

“Harvey Weinstein was inescapable in any Oscar conversations. He had essentially invented the modern Oscar campaign. Weinstein ran his campaigns like guerrilla wars. A Miramax publicist once ghostwrote an op-ed praising the company's movie "Gangs of New York" and passed it off as the work of Robert Wise, the director of "The Sound of Music", who was at the time eighty-eight. Weinstein orchestrated an elaborate smear campaign against the rival film "A Beautiful Mind", planting press times claiming the protagonist, mathematician John Nash, was gay) and, when that didn't work, that he was anti-Semitic). When "Pulp Fiction" lost the Best Picture Oscar to Forrest Gump, he'd publicly threatened to arrive on director Robert Zemeckis's lawn and "get medieval".

How influencial predators escape
Lisa Bloom, the lawyer representing accusers of Bill O'Reilly and Bill Cosby, said, "Rich and powerful people get a pass. I see this every day in my own practice. I represent many victims of a wealthy and successful predator. The first thing they do is go on the attack against the victim, try to dredge up anything from her life that they can find to embarrass her. Women are smeared, or they are threatened that they will be smeared."

Inside the complicated mind of Harvey Weinstein

"He creates the situation in which your silence will benefit you more than speaking out will",
Alexandra Canosa (Marco Polo producer) mentioned about Harvey Weinstein. Emily Nestor worked as a temporary front desk assistant at the Weinstein Company in LA. Let's see what Weinstein told her. "You know, we could have a lot of fun. I could put you in my London office, and you could work there, and you could be my girlfriend." He asked to hold her hand; she said no. She recalled Weinstein remarking, "Oh, the girls always say no. you know, 'No, no', And then they have a beer or two and then they're throwing themselves at me." In a tone that Nestor described as "very weirdly proud," Weinstein added, "that he'd never had to do anything like Bill Cosby." She assumed that he meant he'd never drugged a woman. "Textbook sexual harassment" was how Nestor described Weinstein's behaviour. She recalled refusing his advances at least a dozen time. "'No' did not mean 'no' to him," she said.

Based on all the revelations by the victims of Weinstein, we can see that he had followed the same pattern with everyone.

1) He always called a meeting with an actress or any other woman who wanted to progress in their career.

2) He then brought them to his office or Hotel by a female assistant.

3) Then the assistant was made to leave.

4) Then he shifted the meeting to a hotel room, saying some excuses.

5) For those who resisted got flowers as appeasement and also the threat of career damage if the flowers didn't work.

Was Weinstein a hypersexual psychopathic predator who had immense power and money, which created an illusion to himself that he could do anything to anyone without being caught?

The importance of social media and books in this era
If there were no social media and books (especially independent publishing), I am afraid whether the #metoo movement would have taken place due to catch and kill measures taken by the powerful. Even when NBC denied publishing Farrow's documentary, all the media giants helped Weinstein in hiding the news, its the social media and Farrow's effort, which helped in revealing all this arcane information to us. Let's hope that the phrase catch and kill will become obsolete due to the roles played by social media in the future.

Why men are almost always the predators and women are always the victims
To understand more about the above statement, we will have to dwell deep into the complicated psyche of both men and women. It is scientifically proven that due to Anatomical, Physiological and Psychological differences, male sexuality is more vigorous than female. So there is more chance of it to go wrong.

We can understand more in-depth about it from what David J. Ley wrote in his book The Myth of Sex Addiction. According to him, "Men are more sexually aggressive, which can be welcome or frightening. Men think about sex more than women and want to have sex more than women. Men would be more likely than women to have sex with a stranger or with a group. Men are more likely to get a boost of self-esteem from a casual sexual encounter than women. Men are taught from a young age that they must be sexually competent and sexually powerful with exaggerated and impossible ideals. Compared to women, men are far more insecure and anxious about their sexual performance. But there’s more to male sexual vulnerability than performance anxiety. The popular caricature of male sexuality as either foolish or malign misses the enormous role that sex plays in men’s emotional lives. Often lacking the kind of physically expressive emotional support that women have with friends, men turn to sex to feed a craving for intimacy and tenderness that is “often starved near to death.” Men use sex to “let down boundaries and drop our armour enough to be emotionally vulnerable.”

The above paragraph shows us why men are more vulnerable to becoming predators. But that doesn't excuse the extremely violent sexual violations that people like Weinstein did on innocent women. Society should understand more about the vulnerabilities of men and should train them to overcome them right from childhood. If you take the life history of almost all the predators, we can see that they had a tough childhood. The best way to wipe out all these sexual predators from this world in the future is to train our children to know about their vulnerabilities and teach them how to overcome them and how to respect women. If anyone still violates it even after all these measures, bring them in front of the law and punish them so that no one will even think about violating a woman in the future.

Why should we read this book?
I can incontrovertibly say that this book is one of the best two books I came across coming under the category of investigative journalism. The second book is Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, written by John Carreyrou. Even though this book deals with a topic that everyone, especially the younger generation, should be aware of, I won't recommend this book to those who are less than 18 years as it deals with extremely disturbing revelations by the victims. According to Ronan Farrow,
"These women came forward with incredibly brave allegations. They tore their guts out, talking about this and re-traumatized themselves because they believed they could protect other women going forward."

This is a book that every grown-up should read not only to acknowledge the efforts taken by both Farrow and all the victims but also to make sure that predators like Harvey Weinstein will never happen again in the future.

Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.2k followers
April 7, 2020

“I’m sick of all the predatory scum like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Mark Halperin! They deserve to rot in hell, and I hope they do, but I’d rather not read any thing more about them!"

I understand. Believe me, I understand. But I think you should make an exception for one book, and that’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. And why exactly is this book an exception? In two words: Ronan Farrow. And for three good reasons.

Reason # 1. As a person, Farrow is uniquely suited to understand the effects of sexual predation on families of both predators and victims, and what it is like to live a life clouded by innuendo. Ronan’s putative father, film director Woody Allen, has been accused of molesting his sister Dylan—it is clear Ronan still feels guilt for not being constant in her defense—and he has been followed all his life by the rumor that he is the biological son of Frank Sinatra. (Farrow only alludes to this rumor in passing, and declines to offer an opinion, but I must admit that to my eyes he looks a great deal like “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself.)

Reason # 2. As a journalist, Farrow found himself in a unique position when he tried to tell the Harvey Weinstein story, for he began at exactly the right time in exactly the wrong place. In the climate ushered in by the Cosby criminal trial and primed by Access Hollywood’s Trump tape, Weinstein’s many accusers—intimidated and frightened by the producer’s power and viciousness—are finally on the verge of disclosing their stories. Farrow discovers who they are, and gradually persuades them to tell their stories in a groundbreaking piece of investigative TV journalism. But his piece never gets on the air. Why not? Farrow works for NBC, a network too intimidated by Weinstein—and too worried about their very own predator Matt Lauer—to let Farrow go ahead with his scoop. Farrow parts ways with the network, eventually presenting his exclusive material in a magazine piece in The New Yorker on the 10th of October. But not before The New York Times gets the scoop, breaking the Weinstein scandal of October 5th.

Because of this, Catch and Kill is a story about much more than the Weinstein scandal. It is the story of how a major network, in a score of ways, puts obstacles in the path of a journalist who wishes to tell a controversial story: a tepid show of “support” here, a canceled meeting there, an unscheduled conference with network lawyers, a sudden interest in all those wonderful stories that the journalist could be telling instead. The result is a damning portrait of good journalism quashed by spineless NBC executives and their calculating Comcast overlords. Nobody with any degree of power comes off smelling like a rose.

(Oh, I forgot about the spies. I should mention the spies. Weinstein hires a private Israeli firm with operatives that used to work for Mossad. And then there is the most disgusting spy of all: lawyer Lisa Bloom, daughter of Gloria Allred, heroic defender of abused women—and secret spy for Harvey Weinstein.)

Then there is Reason # 3. Ronan Farrow is a fine writer. He can tell a complicated story in crisp, often self-deprecatory fashion, and he can also summon up some first class rhetoric when he has to.

I’ll let you find the first class rhetoric for yourself, and instead end with an example of an efficiently told anecdote. Ronan calls his partner—and later fiancee—Jonathan to tell him The New York Times has scooped him on the story:
The Times is running,” I said.

“Okay, he said, a little impatiently, “You knew they might.”

“It’s good it’s breaking,” I said. “it’s just—All these months. This whole year. And now I have no job.” I was losing it, actually starting to cry. “i swung too wide. I gambled too much. And maybe I won’t even have a story at the end of it. And I’m letting down all these women—“

“Calm down!” Jonathan shouted, snapping me out of it. “All that’s happening right now is you haven’t slept or eaten in two weeks.”

A horn sounded outside.

“Are you in a cab?” he asked.

“Uh-huh,” I sniffled.

"Oh my God. We are going to talk about this, but first you are going to tip that driver really well.’
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,317 reviews4,839 followers
November 25, 2021

4.5 stars

When film producer Harvey Weinstein leans into his walker and hobbles into the courthouse - where he's being tried for predatory sexual assault - it's hard to picture the former Hollywood mogul chasing terrified young women around hotel rooms and raping them.

Disgraced Harvey Weinstein entering the courthouse (2020)

Yet the burly producer has a well-known reputation for victimizing women - getting them alone and forcing himself on them.

Harvey Weinstein when he was a Hollywood mogul

Weinstein's behavior went on for decades, and even though many of the women told colleagues, friends, and relatives, they were ultimately silenced by intimidation, bullying, threats, pay-offs.....whatever it took.

In 'Catch and Kill', Ronan Farrow exposes the powerful cabal that protected Weinstein, which includes the NBC television network, American Media Incorporated (which publishes the National Enquirer), and a cadre of investigators, detectives, and lawyers hired by the producer.

Ronan Farrow

Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen (from whom he's estranged), graduated from Yale Law School and worked for the State Department before he became an investigative correspondent for NBC News. Reporters had been chasing the Weinstein story for years, but it was difficult to get victims to tell their stories 'on the record', in part because they'd been coerced into signing non-disclosure agreements for six or seven figures. Moreover, any hint of going public resulted in dire warnings and massive smear campaigns.

Stlll, Farrow was anxious to expose the mogul, in part because his adopted sister Dylan had accused their father, Woody Allen, of sexually abusing her when she was a child.....and Farrow wasn't supportive at the time.

Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen

Working with NBC News producer Rich McHugh, Farrow got the go-ahead to pursue a sexual harassment story about Weinstein from Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News.

NBC News producer Rich McHugh

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim

Preparing the story was a challenge, however, because one victim after another was reluctant to speak, saying "It's just not a topic I want to talk about."

Farrow was determined to get (at least) some of Weinstein's accusers on the record, and his first success was actress Rose McGowan - who tweeted about being assaulted, but didn't name names.

Rose McGowan

When Farrow contacted McGowan, she acknowledged, "The war against women is real", and ultimately agreed to speak the reporter. McGowan said that Harvey Weinstein, who was her boss at the time, assaulted her during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

According to McGowan, the mogul arranged a meeting that moved from a hotel restaurant to a hotel suite. Describing the incident, McGowan said, "All of a sudden you have no clothes on. I started to cry. And I didn't know what was happening. And I'm very small. This person is very big. So do that math." McGowan wanted to press charges, but was convinced to keep mum for $100,000.

Farrow's next big breakthrough was model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. who reported Weinstein to the NYPD in 2015.

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez

In March of 2015 Gutierrez attended a reception at Radio City Music Hall for a show Weinstein produced. Weinstein complimented Gutierrez, and - through her modeling agency - arranged a meeting in his office.

Gutierrez recalls that, "Weinstein began staring at her breasts, asking if they were real. He then lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt while she protested." Gutierrez and her agent reported Weinstein to the police, who said, "Again?" NYPD detectives then arranged a sting operation and - during Gutierrez's next meeting with the mogul - they got Weinstein's "full dramatic confession caught on tape."

New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance declined to press charges, however, and suspicions were high that the DA's office was bought off, coerced, or in cahoots with Weinstein. (The Governor later ordered an investigaton of Vance's actions.)

New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance

Nevertheless, the Gutierrez tape - and Gutierrez's non-disclosure agreement - both of which Farrow obtained, were important proof for his story.

Another coup for Farrow's report was tech guru Emily Nestor.

Emily Nestor

In December 2014, Nestor was a temporary assistant at the Weinstein Company in Los Angeles. Pressured for a meeting by Weinstein, Nestor agreed to an early morning coffee. During the encounter, Weinstein boasted about his sexual liaisons with other women and said "You know, we could have a lot of fun. I could put you in my London office, and you could work there and you could be my girlfriend." Nestor declined and Weinstein insisted that women always succumbed to him, and "that he'd never had to do anything like Bill Cosby." Nestor identified Weinstein's behavior as "textbook sexual harassment" and noted that she refused his advances at least a dozen times. "NO did not mean NO to him", she said.

Farrow continued to accumulate proof of Weinstein's predations, which involved scores of women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Annabella Sciorra, Asia Argento, Ally Canosa, and Rosanna Arquette.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Mira Sorvino

Annabella Sciorra

Asia Argento

Ally Canosa

Rosanna Arquette

Farrow and McHugh put their story together, and brought their script - and the Gutierrez tape - to NBC News.....which was suddenly skittish about airing the piece. Noah Oppenheim - who originally green-lit the story; Phil Griffin - president of MSNBC; and Andy Lack - chairman of NBC News and MSNBC seemed suddenly allergic to exposing Weinstein. [Oddly enough (or maybe not), all three men have histories of publicly disrespecting and/or hounding women.]

Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC

Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC

To justify their hesitation, the NBC bigshots made noises about Weinstein's actions not being a crime; or Farrow not really having a story; or the story not being ready yet; or the story not being newsworthy; etc. Eventually, Farrow was told to 'go with God' and take the story to another outlet. Before long, there was 'no money in the budget' for Farrow, and NBC News let him go.

Farrow concluded that the network had succumbed to Weinstein's threats, some of which probably involved outing NBC megastar Matt Lauer, who - it later came out - also harassed and assaulted women. In fact NBC fired 'Today Show' host Lauer in 2017, after he was accused of anal rape by a woman named Brooke Nevils.

Matt Lauer

Brooke Nevils

In any case, the New Yorker Magazine thought Farrow DID have a story, and - after his writeup was published - Farrow shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service with Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who wrote a Weinstein story for The New York Times.

While Farrow was preparing his exposé, Weinstein moved heaven and earth to try and scupper it. He yelled and threatened and wheedled.....and launched a massive suppression campaign. Weinstein's friend Dylan Howard, editor of the National Enquirer, published dirt about Weinstein's accusers and/or tried to buy their stories and suppress them (a practice called 'catch and kill').

Dylan Howard, editor of The National Enquirer

Weinstein also hired Black Cube, an Israeli investigative firm that employed former Mossad agents, to undermine Farrow.

Farrow later learned that Black Cube operatives had surveilled him; followed him; dug up information about him; attempted to track his phone; solicited help from his estranged father Woody Allen; and so on.

Moreover, Weinstein's informants - pretending they wanted to help reporters and victims - ingratiated themselves with Farrow and Weinstein's accusers. The infiltrators collected information about Farrow's upcoming story and passed it on to the embattled mogul, so he could take countermeasures.

The worst offender (IMO) is attorney Lisa Bloom, the so-called 'advocate for women.' Bloom befriended Farrow, obtained information about the Weinstein story, and handed it to the evildoer. This betrayal of Bloom's fellow females is unforgivable.

Lisa Bloom

Noah Oppenheim, who also deserves rebuke, wants to disavow his role in the NBC debacle. After all was said and done - and NBC was publicly embarrassed by it's spinelessness regarding Weinstein - Oppenheim told Farrow, "Even if you think that NBC was either cowardly or acted inappropriately or whatever, which you're entitled to feel, I hope that you would realize the way this has become personalized and hung on ME is not fair or accurate. Even if you believe that there is a villain in this, that villain is not ME." Oppenheim then proceeded to explain how it was everyone's fault BUT his, and finally acknowledged, "I'm just making a plea. If the opportunity ever does present itself to you to say that maybe I'M not the villain in all this, I would be grateful." (So good luck with that. 🤨)

Farrow covers a lot more territory in the book, including:

- Weinstein's fundraising for the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

Harvey Weinstein and Hillary Clinton

- Additional Hollywood/media/political bigwigs accused of harassing women - including President Donald Trump; NBC newsman Tom Brokaw; NBC political analyst Mark Halperin; and NBC senior vice president Matt Zimmerman.

President Donald Trump

NBC newsman Tom Brokaw

NBC political analyst Mark Halperin

NBC senior vice president Matt Zimmerman

- An in depth discussion of Black Cube, and it's legal AND illegal activities.

- Farrow's relationship with his boyfriend (now fiancé), speechwriter and podcaster Jon Lovett.

Jon Lovett (left) with Ronan Farrow

- Women being blacklisted and denied jobs for defying Weinstein; Meryl Streep averring that she didn't know about the mogul's bad reputation; whistleblowers and informants who helped Farrow; and more.

The book is well-written and - though it's non-fiction - has all the elements of a good novel, including descriptions of the characters and their clothes; observations about the weather and ambiance of New York and California; meetings in a variety of interesting restaurants; people sneaking around to avoid surveillance; celebrity gossip; sad betrayals; etc. On a light note, if you ever need a gift for Ronan Farrow, get him an umbrella. It is ALWAYS raining on this guy. 🙂

This is an excellent book. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,505 reviews30.8k followers
May 30, 2021
ronan farrow, truly doing the lords work.

such critical and riveting investigative journalism about a topic and people that i absolutely detest. im so glad he continued to pursue the story, even when large news networks tried to silence it.

harvey weinstein, the multiple other predators mentioned, and those who assisted in enabling and concealing their crimes deserve to be exposed and put away to never see the light of day again.

i said what i said. 💅🏻

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,413 reviews77.5k followers
December 28, 2019
4.25 STARS

Finally finished this one, and I must say I'm incredibly glad I chose the audio. Hearing the audio clips of H.W. incriminating himself is both eery and satisfying. There's not much more that I can add to a review that hasn't already been said, but this was indeed an important read/listen, and I'm grateful to live in a time where some of the monsters in this world are being held to the fire.
Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 16 books444 followers
May 13, 2021
❧ audiobook review

Ronan Farrow is honestly one of my favourite journalists of all time. I followed the original breaking articles that came out before this book which he published in The New Yorker, and when this one was published I instantly got the audiobook (which he reads!). I still haven't made it the whole way through (cos busy, ugh), but I am truly inspired and in awe of his work and how staunchly he's been about adding his voice and his rep to holding abusers accountable.

August 2019

Ronan Farrow has a new book, you say?

Excuse me while I search under the sofa for spare change because I must have it.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,910 reviews35.3k followers
April 7, 2020
Farrow wrote the ultimate
‘can’t-stop-reading’, book!!!
I haven’t read a book faster!!

I read “She Said”, by Jodi Kantor and Meg Twohey about a month ago .....
I’ve followed the Harvey Weinstein scandal....
So I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as we learn in “Catch and Kill”.

Ronan Farrow is the Babe Ruth hero of investigative journalism!! He nailed the truth.

Shocking...creepy...infuriating ....
with truth’ brilliantly exposed!

Reads like a suspense spy novel.
powerful ...
Profile Image for emma.
1,820 reviews45.3k followers
April 19, 2020
There are two ways to view the #MeToo movement. (Well, two views I’ll even recognize.)

In the simpler, less brain-destroying analysis, #MeToo revealed the grossness of many separate men. It was an effective means of empowering victims to speak about unrelated experiences and to hold unrelated men accountable.

In the more complex and horrific view, these men are all related. They formed a network of power and manipulation that kept women and victims quiet, and they were able to do what they wanted because they were willing to help each other do so.

If you read this book, it’s impossible to look at the movement from the first perspective any longer.

Ronan Farrow was trying to write the story of a rich and powerful rapist who used that power to silence his victims, and the sexual harassers Farrow worked for did their part to silence Farrow, too.

Reading about Farrow’s tirelessness in telling this horrible and winding story is incredible, and for that reason alone I recommend this book.

Some parts dragged more than others. The first article, the one that broke the story, is published around the halfway point, and the second half swerved into tangents and progressed in fits and starts.

Overall, reading this could feel like reading a screenplay - or more generously, watching a movie. It’s already set up that way. There are moments of comic relief, especially through the amusing and tested significant other trope; there’s a spy aspect; the plot is constructed in a series of significant moments that come back later on.

Oddly, this book feels it would do better as a movie.

I guess that does make a sort of sense. This is a Hollywood story, after all.

Bottom line: Thank god for Ronan Farrow, but more importantly - thank god for the bravery of women.


this is so brilliantly written it makes me want to scream.

overall there's a lot of repressed screaming going on


can't wait to try to speed read this 450-page book about the darkest stuff imaginable and ruin my own life
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,112 reviews1,383 followers
October 22, 2019
Move over, Bad Blood —I've got a new favorite nonfiction read for 2019. The important story Catch and Kill tells—of Harvey Weinstein's horrifying behavior and its decades-long cover-up—is disturbing in the extreme. Fortunately, it's also compellingly written by Ronan Farrow, who even manages to scrounge up a few moments of humor from his own experiences of being threatened and spied on in the course of his work. Exhaustively detailed and impressively current, Catch and Kill is one of those books everyone should read. Odds are it'll be on every single year-end best-of list come December; might as well get on it now.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,256 reviews2,940 followers
January 8, 2020
It's absolutely insane this book seems like it is the plot of a spy movie or something but yet this is real life. This stuff actually happened. And what is infuriating is what horrible things are going on right now that we haven't even heard about yet? I applaud the bravery of the people who were willing to come forward and speak out as well as the journalists including Ronan Farrow who kept on digging for the truth. And my heart goes out to the victims who remain silent, because this book clearly demonstrates the lengths powerful people will go to in order to protect themselves and it is completely understandable why some victims do not feel like they are able to come forward.

Rather than write a big synopsis about what is covered in the book I will just keep it simple. The key people or organizations that are featured the most in this book are Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Donald Trump, NBC, Blackcube, and Ronan Farrow. Yes, Ronan has some interesting experiences he shares on what it was like to cover this story against so much opposition. I don't think this is a case of a person inserting himself into the narrative for no good reason. I believe it was necessary for him to share what was going on in his life as it was certainly relevant.

This book made my blood boil but it was definitely worth reading .
Profile Image for Caroline .
409 reviews558 followers
March 16, 2020

“Catch and kill” is a term from the tabloid world that refers to tabloids’ purchase of scandalous stories with the express intent of burying them. Ronan Farrow used the term more generally here as he detailed the accusations of abuse surrounding Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Donald Trump.* Countless people “caught and killed” to protect these men.

This book does three things very well, pulling them together to paint a complete picture of what, exactly, happened behind the scenes: It details the stories of abuse; it illustrates how power is abused and how common that is; and it highlights the extensive protections afforded those who are powerful, beloved, influential, or a combination of these. Had these men been regular joes, they would’ve been caught earlier (although not necessarily punished accordingly, or at all). They are just three of many famous figures accused of hideous crimes, but what happened with them can be applied to so many of the others. With great power comes the benefit of the doubt, denial, and protection.

Throughout my reading, what stood out to me was Harvey Weinstein’s bizarrely wide reach; the man had friends and supporters everywhere. He was involved in politics, charities, and a large percentage of movies made. He had many contacts in the legal world and even the fashion world. Farrow was double-crossed more than once because he confided in someone he assumed didn’t know Weinstein, or knew him but didn’t support him. Weinstein’s contacts everywhere most definitely helped protect him--directly and indirectly.

On the greater level, I was struck by how much those close to Weinstein, Lauer, and Trump bent over backward to protect them. This is where the subtitle of Catch and Kill comes in. Spies scared victims into silence (and attempted to with Farrow); endless lies from lawyers and coworkers protected the perpetrators; and a huge network of people conspired to suppress the stories. The litigation teams were stunningly ruthless, terrorizing victims and doing everything in their power to thwart Farrow’s investigation.

Ironclad non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) figured prominently in these stories as they were used very liberally to shut up victims forever. Over the years, I’ve been frustrated to note that many people think that when victims are “paid off,” it’s proof that they were blackmailing the perpetrator. This book explains. The NDA serves to preserve the perpetrator’s reputation while allowing him to continue abusing.

I read Catch and Kill in record time. I thought I knew everything there was to know about these three cases, but a lot happened behind the scenes that news outlets wouldn’t have the space to report on, if they even wanted to. It took this meticulous 448-page book to do that. Additionally, as a (now former) employee of NBC, Farrow was in the unusual position to be able to speak from an insider’s point of view. He interacted with Matt Lauer, who was a kind of mentor, and was close to the bigwigs protecting him. His characterization went a long way toward making Catch and Kill page-turning.

I do have one criticism that concerns crucial word choice. At least two times, Farrow used the word “consent” or “consensual,” saying something along the lines of, “The interactions eventually became consensual…” Given the power differential in the encounters, the perpetrator’s harassing persistence, and the victim’s fear of extensive retribution, she never consented. He means she relented. She resigned herself to the situation. She surrendered.

Nevertheless, Catch and Kill is superb, thorough, dedicated to the truth. I admire Farrow’s courage and greatly respect his personal ethics. He worked to exhaustion every day for months to expose these scandals, eventually getting the story published in The New Yorker. And although The New York Times broke the story before The New Yorker, Farrow was the one who began investigating first and refused to back down despite significant obstacles. Really, given the numerous roadblocks, it’s incredible these accusations ever came to light.

Anyone with the slightest interest in these cases will want to read Catch and Kill. This may be the definitive work on what happened.

*Focused on in that order. Farrow devoted most attention to Weinstein, then Lauer, then Trump.

Read-alike: She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Complementary viewing: The documentary "Untouchable"

Update, March 4, 2020: Shame on Hachette. Ronan Farrow Cuts Ties With Publisher Hachette Over Woody Allen Memoir
Profile Image for Michael.
657 reviews966 followers
December 18, 2019
Fast paced and breathtaking, Catch and Kill recounts the harrowing story behind Farrow’s 2017 reporting on Harvey Weinstein for The New Yorker. In thrilling detail the writer traces how he launched his investigation into the film executive's sexual violence at NBC News, only to be met with intense pushback from executives and outside agitators affiliated with Weinstein, forcing him to take his reporting to Condé Nast. He outlines step by step the process by which he met with and interviewed women who were preyed upon by Weinstein, sharing along the way their stories of abuse and spotlighting the emotional toll they suffered as they were silenced from speaking for years. Later he thoughtfully considers the impact the reporting had on America's media and culture at large once it was finally published in fall 2017. Farrow's account draws upon two hundred sources, and it's as meticulous as it is compulsively readable. The book ends on a cautiously hopeful note, though a palpable sense of disgust and dread persists given all that precedes it.
Profile Image for Beverly.
784 reviews277 followers
April 7, 2020
Ronan Farrow does an incredible job in the writing, reporting and narrating of this story. I listened to the audio version and was really creeped out to hear the actual tape that Ambra Gutierrez, a model, made for the police of Harvey Weinstein, alternately cajoling and bullying her to go to his hotel room, so he could sexually abuse her some more. Weinstein had already assaulted her at a meeting in his office, groping her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt. She left, distraught, and went immediately to the authorities. The police thought they had enough to prosecute him with the recorded admissions that Gutierrez got, but the DA didn't agree. The recorded voice of the pig, Harvey Weinstein, will send chills up your spine.

Farrow's account is fascinating, not only because he is a first rate journalist with integrity, but also because of his family and their own personal sexual abuser. His father, Woody Allen, had a perverse relationship with two of his adopted sisters. Dylan Farrow accused Allen of sexually abusing her when she was seven and Allen started having sex with Soon Yi Previn and eventually married her when she was in her twenties. He still was in a relationship with Mia Farrow at the time when Mia found nude photos that Allen had taken of Soon Yi.

Harvey Weinstein's malevolent behavior over decades in Hollywood is just the tip of the iceberg. NBC, where Ronan worked at the time of the reporting, did not want the story told, because they had their own entitled sexual abusers working there and Harvey knew it and used that as leverage to get the story axed. It was a criminal conspiracy to keep these rich, powerful and influential men from paying the price for their disgusting and criminal activity.

There is also humor in the account, Ronan's boyfriend comes into some good natured teasing because the private investigators Weinstein hired to surveil Ronan and him and every woman involved in the case found Jonathan so boring that they quit following him. Jonathan protests, "I'm interesting!"
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,802 reviews2,158 followers
November 28, 2022
4.5 stars!

“You know, the press is as much part of our democracy as Congress or the executive branch or the judicial branch. It has to keep things in check. And when the powerful control the press, or make the press useless, if the people can’t trust the press, the people lose. And the powerful can do what they want.”

Catch and Kill is about Ronan Farrow and his investigative journalism work on Harvey Weinstein while he worked in NBC. While he was investigating, Farrow unearthed harrowing stories of abuse over the years and faced intimidation from powerful people in many industries.

“Look at what’s happening! No one on these calls wants to own any of this, because it’s so obviously bad! It’s like a reverse Murder on the Orient Express. Everyone wants it dead, nobody wants to stab it!”

Wow. What a book. I listened to the audio version of this book on my commute. To say I was sitting there in my car horrified, is an understatement. I became so ANGRY listening to this book, at the people who knew and stood idly by, and at the people who knew and helped cover it up.

Very compelling story, I went in knowing kind of what happened with Weinstein, but this book makes it clear what he did. It also details the harassment anyone faced when they tried to speak out, and the lengths people in power went to to keep it all hidden.

Some parts were a bit confusing to me in how everything connected. Since I was listening instead of reading the print it wasn’t like I could easily jump back and forth to doublecheck things. For that reason this book is 4.5, but otherwise I loved it. I would love to see what else Farrow works on in the future.

“In the end, the courage of women can't be stamped out. And stories - the big ones, the true ones - can be caught but never killed.”

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Profile Image for Nev.
1,024 reviews131 followers
October 16, 2019
It’s probably cliché to describe this book as seeming like a real life spy thriller… but it truly does read at times like a real life spy thriller. Catch and Kill extensively covers the behind the scenes of Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein, how he was trailed by intelligence agencies, and the tactics that were used to try and stop him from getting the story published.

Reading this book really gives the big picture about how Harvey was able to prey on women for such a long period of time. His tactics for shutting down journalists over the years are spelled out, and we see first hand through Ronan’s eyes how Harvey was able to get NBC to kill the story. In interviews after Ronan’s initial stories broke he was always guarded about why NBC wouldn’t air the story and why he no longer worked for the company. He would always say things like, “I don’t want to be the story, the women and sources should be the focus of the story.” And while the women being the center is important, Ronan’s story as a journalist is also imperative because it shows how an investigation with credible information was being shut down and keeping Harvey’s abuse in the dark.

If you’re thinking, “oh I’ve read The New Yorker articles, there won’t be too much new information in this book” … think again. It’s extremely illuminating to see the process of trying to report the story at NBC and being shut down at every turn compared with the experience Ronan had being completely supported by The New Yorker.

Ronan is also more forthcoming about his personal relationships in this book. Detailing how in the past he wasn’t always supportive of his sister Dylan being public with her abuse allegations. Then showing how he came around to supporting her and asking her for insight on how to interview survivors. Some of the more funny or sweet moments in the book come through commentary from Ronan’s partner Jon Lovett (or as Ronan calls him, Jonathan). And there’s a very nice culmination to their romantic arc at the end of the book.

While a lot of this book can be heavy to read, sexual assault, powerful men abusing their power, companies covering for abusers instead of protecting people, and so on, there is also a sense of hope. It shows a changing of the times, how these stories can be taken more seriously now than compared with the past. It shines a light on all the brave survivors and sources who risked their careers and their safety to come forward to help others.

I think this is a triumph of non-fiction writing. It’s fast-paced, compelling from start to finish, exhaustively fact checked, serious when it needs to be, but also has amusing and hopeful moments sprinkled throughout. Definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Carole.
488 reviews107 followers
March 4, 2020
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow is the important account of human predation that opened the door to many powerful men being outed as the sexual predators they really are, Weinstein appearing to be the worst among them. I listened to the audiobook version which is read by the author, who begins the reading with a disclaimer about his parentage and sexual scandal in his own family. Mia Farrow is his mother and Woody Allen is his father. Powerful people tried to use this against him, while he was researching and investigating this story. The disgusting part about the Weinstein et al scandal is the long list of lawyers, spies, television networks, studios etc who tried determinedly to derail the truth and cover the literal backside of the likes of Weinstein. You need a strong stomach to read through the description of some of the behaviour of the rich and powerful. This is a story that needed to see the light of day and this book accomplishes this and more. Mighty men have fallen as a follow-up to this investigation and hopefully the change will be permanent.
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,265 reviews338 followers
December 19, 2019
This book is a fantastic read! A great recap to all of the snippets of naughty men in the media that I saw. I'm surprised to learn of the author's background in this book. I rarely watched TV these past 5-10 years so I picked up this book based on the title and not the author. It's interesting how famous actresses and top executives (men) in the media tip toe around the men like Weinstein. I used to think famous actresses are powerful too but it makes sense because movie mogul like Weinstein has the power to end their career no matter how famous they are. I feel frustrated with Ronan's bosses as I read his dead end attempts to air his investigations. The story is very detailed and lengthy and to be honest, I had to take a break by mid point. This book changed my perception of celebrity kids. I always thought a son or daughter of an actress will grow up to be an actor but this author prove me wrong!

This book started with a prologue following two private investigators, Roman and Igor, having a meeting and discussing about their new client. Then the story begins with the author, told in first person point of view having a chat with McHugh, a TV veteran about their investigative shows on sexual assaults. The author talks briefly about his background on his infamous producer dad and actress mom. The powerful and wealthy men in Hollywood are once again exposed and reminded of their sexual sins such as Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, etc. The way these powerful figures got away with their dirty deeds for years is jarring. There are 5 parts to this story with a prologue and an epilogue.

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators is very well written. I'm glad this nonfiction book is fast paced and easy to read because I normally stay away from it for its boring technical way of presenting data. This story read like a memoir because the author wrote to say what he did. I'm happy to recognize some famous newscasters and news networks in this book from when I used to watch them more than 10 years ago. It's definitely interesting how the author investigate into powerful people and then receive threats in return. Almost comparable to the mafias. It's shocking to learn that there are people out there who would allow madmen to continue their bad behaviors by jeopardizing accusers who are trying to bring justice to women who have been wronged. This book expose people who think they can get away with bad deeds but also remind readers that there are brave souls out there who will put a stop to these predators, eventually. A fantastic read of behind the scenes as to how the breaking news broke out on the rich, the famous, and the bad apples. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

***Many thanks to Little Brown for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.
Xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Profile Image for Woman Reading .
425 reviews266 followers
December 6, 2021
5 ☆ riveting & maddening

Most people have heard of Harvey Weinstein by now. After preying on women for at least 20 years, the monster has finally been caught and is now serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York.

Catch and Kill is more than just the story of how this sexual predator was finally exposed. Farrow's book also reveals how sick our society is by simultaneously shining a light on the conspiracy of silence created and maintained by powerful men. This is the cherry on top of predators' habitual sexual abuse (including rape) against women who were dependent upon them for their livelihoods. Of course, these women were victimised twice because when they sought justice, they were disbelieved, publicly vilified, and their careers destroyed.
These women came forward with incredibly brave allegations. They tore their guts out talking about this and retraumatized themselves because they believed they could protect other women going forward.

I admire the bravery of the five initial women who went public with their stories and the few journalists who maintained their integrity to make this criminal behavior known. They weren't alone but they had all been definitely made to feel that way.
He overpowered me. I just sort of gave up. That's the most horrible part of it, and that's why he's been able to do this for so long to many women: people give up... And then the shame in what happened was also designed to keep me quiet. - Lucia Evans.

The victims and the investigative journalists were going up against tremendous odds because of the many strategies employed by the serial sex offenders. All those old stories of Hollywood success entailing the "casting couch" (ie. sex in exchange for acting roles) were something Weinstein seemed to internalize and embody. He had had a long and successful career, and since the 1990s, Weinstein routinely utilized a quid pro quo strategy. There was a tremendous power imbalance between him and his victims, so the word "no" from them (even when declared repeatedly) held no meaning for him.
"Sometimes you have sex with a woman who's not your wife, and there's a disagreement about what happened, and you just have to write a check to make [the rape allegations] go away," Weinstein replied calmly.

But it didn't end there. Weinstein may have paid off most women and pushed them into signing incredibly restrictive nondisclosure agreements, but he made sure to ruin their future employment opportunities as well. To observe that he had created a hostile work environment is a gross understatement.

The extent of our societal cancer became apparent only with the exposure of Weinstein. Because Catch and Kill is also about the conspiracy of men - the good ole boys networks who believe that women are there just to be used and abused by them and who feel entitled to be above the laws of the land and above common human decency. Weinstein's mistreatment of women had long been an open secret in Hollywood. Prior to the explosive October 2017 news articles from The New York Times by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and from The New Yorker by Farrow, Weinstein possessed an estimated net worth of $300 million. His wealth enabled friendships and alliances with other influential individuals. He had donated generously to many New York politicians. He had friends in the media, particularly with American Media, Inc., the parent company of tabloids such as the National Enquirer. These tabloids were especially useful as a means of suppressing stories damaging to Weinstein because the tabloids could also smear the reputations of his accusers. But Weinstein also had friends and allies among the executive ranks of NBC, Farrow's employer, and he never hesitated in getting them to commit censorship, a crime against the free press.
It was a consensus about the organization's comfort level moving forward that protected Harvey Weinstein and men like him; that yawned and gasped and enveloped law firms and PR shops and executive suites and industries; that swallowed women whole.

But a multi-millionaire who thrived on intimidation had far more resources than most. Weinstein employed multiple private investigation firms, and he could afford the best. Investigation services included more than just physical and electronic surveillance. My sympathies here extend further to Rose McGowan, who had demonstrated strong resolve to stop Weinstein.
The Israeli firms began emphasizing less conventional forms of corporate espionage, including "pretexting": using operatives with false identities.
Black Cube perfected the formula.

Most of Catch and Kill revolved around Farrow's investigation of Weinstein from late 2016 to October 2017. But Farrow also included other sexual predators within NBC, of which Matt Lauer was the most prominent. And there was also one other disquieting tidbit about the conspiracy of silence. Ultimately, more than 90 women came forward with their own allegations against Weinstein. Farrow described actress Clare Forlani's struggle during the revelation process:
I told some close men around me [about the harassment from Weinstein] and they all advised me not to speak.

Finally I have to say that I found Catch and Kill absolutely engrossing, riveting, and just so d**n maddening. I've read other nonfiction books with feminist leanings this year and I've kept my calm. But this story makes me want to rage. This is why I prefer crime fiction to true crime because there's comfort in knowing that no matter how ugly the story becomes, it's fiction. But this story with all of its elements of a fantastic thriller novel is true. I'm so grateful that justice is finally getting its time.
In the end, the courage of women can't be stamped out. And stories - the big ones, the true ones - can be caught but never killed.
Profile Image for Sophia Judice.
57 reviews11.9k followers
December 18, 2021
”’Ultimately, the reason Harvey Weinstein followed the route he did it because he was allowed to, and that’s our fault. As a culture that’s our fault.’”
Prior to reading this book, I had a base knowledge of the ways news organizations silence victims and kill stories, but Catch and Kill put those practices under a microscope, exposing the nitty gritty details and incriminating some of the country’s most powerful men. In light of the book’s subject matter, it’s difficult to say that I “enjoyed” reading it, but I did find it throughly enlightening, well-written, and an example of proper ambitious journalism. Additionally, I admire and commend Ronan Farrow’s commitment to uncovering Hollywood’s darkest secrets, uplifting victim’s, and catalyzing the new culture surrounding sexual misconduct. I think that everyone can gain something from this book.
Profile Image for Sonja.
417 reviews28 followers
October 18, 2019
I'd give this more than 5 stars if I could. What a masterpiece.

This is so well-researched, well-sourced, everything I've come to know as the standard of Ronan Farrow's reporting. But beyond that, it's such a powerful account of corporate silence and failure, complicity, of brave sources coming forward, a frankly wild look into the world of international espionage, and so much more. It is also harrowing and incredible to read what Ronan personally went through to get these stories out. Part II of the book was especially shocking and hard to read; a lot of this is incredibly hard to read (the content warning for detailed descriptions of sexual assault should probably go without saying re: this book), but it's so wildly important that this story is out there, and that Ronan used his relative privilege in the world to tell it.

When I say I couldn't put this book down, I mean it. I read it while walking around New York City, like a jerk. I stayed up way past my bedtime multiple nights. I read through lunch breaks and on the subway and while waiting on line for Ronan's book event at the Cooper Union. So truly, it was impossible to put down.

But also? For such a difficult and horrific topic, the book is surprisingly funny. Ronan has an incredible sense of sometimes wry humor that weaves its way through the book, especially when things are at their most ridiculous, and there are a number of fantastic and hilarious asides, like for example: "Pentagon officials had announced she [Rose McGowan] was visiting and asked if I'd join them for lunch, like they were looking for a language specialist and figured I spoke fluent actress," or "I looked drawn and pale and thinner than I had at the beginning of the summer, like a consumptive child in an ad for some Victorian-era tonic," and lines such as, "Nothing is certain, it turns out, except death and taxes and investigation by the Southern District of New York," a line that made me laugh so hard I nearly cried.

And then, beyond all of that: It's not a secret how much I love one Jon Lovett, who happens to be Ronan's partner. I was honestly surprised at just how prominently Lovett featured in this, and his cameos and quotes in the book are impossibly delightful.

This book is an incredible piece of reporting and it'll make you feel both wildly unsafe to live in this world, but also (I hope) hopeful because of so many brave people coming forward and speaking up, leaking documents, and so much more. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,423 reviews8,298 followers
April 7, 2020
Overall a fascinating and sobering account of Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein for The New Yorker in 2017. The book details various women’s experiences of sexual assault and harassment by Weinstein, though it focuses more so on the journalists, lawyers, media executives, and others who contributed to silencing those women and protecting Weinstein from facing consequences for his actions. I felt dismayed knowing the overwhelming complicity of so many people who knew about Weinstein’s sexual assault of these women. Farrow’s detailed account shows how much money (e.g., capitalism) and patriarchy serve to protect powerful men, as well as how even those who do not identify as men can collude in protecting predators.

I liked this book though I wish Farrow had provided more of a summarizing analysis or reflection on the events that occurred throughout his experience with this story. I understand that Farrow operates from a journalistic perspective, though the writing still felt dry and I wanted broader implications, which I think are called for when discussing powerful white men and sexual assault. What were Farrow’s more long-lasting or deeper emotional revelations related to his experience with this story, especially in regard to how he at one point silenced his own sister who reported sexual assault? How do broader systems of patriarchy, capitalism, and whiteness act to allow predators to attack and then silence their victims? These are a couple of the questions I wished Farrow had dedicated more time to addressing. Still, I’d recommend Catch and Kill for those interested in the more journalistic component of the Weinstein story.
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,822 followers
December 16, 2020
It’s difficult for me to be as objective about this book as I otherwise might be; my own experiences in coming forward with my story created an indelibly powerful, deeply resonating connection with so many moments contained here. I had to take many pauses throughout, as I became overwhelmed by what the women Farrow writes about shared in their painfully traumatic stories. It wasn’t just the pain of their stories that overwhelmed me; it was the recognition of the incredible courage they displayed in coming forward, and how much I — and so many others — owe them for the transformations in our world that have resulted.

I’m also in awe of the frankness and candor with which Farrow shares in these pages his very personal journey throughout the arduous process of investigating the Weinstein story; his accounts of his failures to be a better ally to his sister Dylan are especially moving.

The world is a different place than it was just a handful of years ago, in so small part because of the work Ronan Farrow and other reporters did to amplify and support the voices of women who were harmed by powerful men, their voices silenced by lawyers and institutions and espionage agents and corrupt journalists, with coverups aided and abetted by too many people, over too many years. This book is a vividly harrowing document of the hard, tenuous, and exhausting work involved in bringing to the light those stories. I’m grateful to have read it.
Profile Image for TXGAL1.
251 reviews23 followers
October 13, 2020
Many thanks to my local library for lending this audiobook to me. Having Ronan Farrow narrate his unabridged book was a treasure while listening to the 10:46 hours of detailed information and recalled conversation with the subjects contained therein.

Ronan Farrow is not just another “pretty face” or celebrity’s offspring. He’s somewhat of a genius. Walking a gifted path of genius, Farrow is the youngest to graduate from Bard College, with a B.A. in philosophy, at the age of 15. Thereafter, Farrow received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2009 and achieved success passing the State Bar exam of New York. He has dedicated his life to public service in the past working with UNICEF and filling posts in the Obama administration, one of which was an appointment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as a Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues. Farrow wrote a variety of pieces for assorted publishers prior to joining MSNBC in 2014 and moving in 2015 to NBC to work as an investigative reporter. It is while at NBC in 2016 that Farrow began research, with his producer Rich McHugh, into allegations of sexual assault by film producer Harvey Weinstein.

“Catch and kill” is the term used to describe dishonorable reporting entities that acquire stories for payment so that they can then kill the stories harmful to the subject individual or league of clandestine persons. Through Farrow and McHugh’s painstaking research and interviews of Weinstein’s traumatized victims, repeated impediments to publish at NBC by executives, a “campaign of intimidation” from Weinstein and his minions or spies (from a private Israeli intelligence service) engaged to follow Farrow’s every move, or using an account of abuse in the Farrow family against him, Ronan Farrow and his producer McHugh collected the many heartbreaking stories of manipulation of power that led to the abuse of the victims. The trust that these victims placed in Farrow would not be misplaced or trivialized.

While Farrow was never able to run his investigative report on air at NBC, he was able to publish a 3-part story in THE NEW YORKER with his research and the help of Editor David Remnick. Unable in good conscience to return to NBC, Farrow wrote CATCH AND KILL. A large portion of the book is dedicated to Weinstein and his machinations; but, other names cross Farrow’s path: Trump, Epstein, NY State AG Eric Schneiderman, CBS CEO Les Moonves, NBCUniversal President Andy Lack and NBC star Matt Lauer. These women’s stories launched the global #METOO movement.

CATCH AND KILL is definitely rated 5stars. This story really struck a cord with me. I am incandescent with rage at the common thread of discounting a human life to use as sport for one’s own amusement because one is in a position of power. Lives were ruined—some suffer from PTSD or have attempted suicide--with no concern for the life being abused. A glaring light must continue to be placed on those who would use corruption and coverups and/or surveillance and intimidation to elude responsibility for their despicable actions.
Profile Image for Ginger.
735 reviews335 followers
September 11, 2020
In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

((This quote isn’t in the book, but I felt it was appropriate to put it in my review. It's pretty accurate with what Ronan Farrow had to go through to get the truth published.))

I’m really enjoying books with investigative journalism!
I listened to Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou last year and I knew that I would love this one as well!

I decided to listen to the audio book of Catch & Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators and Ronan Farrow does a decent job on narrating his book.
He even tried to do accents but sometimes the accents were a bit cheesy. I’ll still give him some credit for at least trying. I can only imagine how bad I would sound doing Italian or Russian accents!

For this, I give the content 5 stars and the narration 4 stars.
I’ll go with 4.5 stars overall.
Goodreads, you’ve got to give me half stars someday! 😃

On to the review…

Great job Ronan Farrow on staying the course with this investigation and not giving into the heavy pressure of burying the story!

Most of us have followed the news about Harvey Weinstein and his downfall.
But Catch & Kill is not only about Weinstein, but the powerful people that protected him over the years while he got away with assault, rape and destroying his victims image and career.

This book also goes into how his influence in the movie industry, politics and money was able to let him get away with being a predator for years. The book is very detailed with the whole case along with how Farrow got women to finally come out against Weinstein and tell their story.

Not only did Farrow have to encourage and protect his sources, but he also had to deal with being stalked by spies working for the powerful and rich that were protecting Weinstein.
Seriously, it sounds like a movie, but it happened!

I would definitely recommend this to people who appreciate the truth and the shear willpower of someone going against the system of protecting predators like Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and all the sick bastards that get away with this type of behavior!
Profile Image for Lucy.
413 reviews601 followers
April 3, 2020

Wow. I have A LOT of thoughts on this one. It reads like a fiction espionage novel, but the sad reality is that this was true. It also completely shocked me.

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