Ronan Farrow's lengthy account of the time before, during and after the Harvey Weinstein scandal is here. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Farrow's new book out now, covers a lot of ground in the sexual harassment scandal that ignited a wave of change in Hollywood and beyond, empowering women all over.
Listen To The Full Interview Below:
GUY BENSON, FOX RADIO HOST: It's the final hour on the "Guy Benson Show" from New York today. Thanks for being here. Guybensonshow.com. Please do sign up for the podcast. Subscribe if you would. Available on iTunes as well. Let's dive right in. We've been teasing all show. Joining me now in the studio here in New York is a contributing writer for "The New Yorker", winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, Former MSNBC host and NBC news investigative reporter, and author of the brand new book, which is going to be, for sure, for a while, a runaway best seller -- "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators." It's Ronan Farrow, who I will disclose happens to be a personal friend as well. Ronan, it is really good to see you here at Fox.
RONAN FARROW, JOURNALIST: Good to see you, sir. We're overdue to do this.
BENSON: We are, and what an occasion to do so. The book is extraordinary. I finished it last night at 2:30 in the morning. I was telling you off air, I gasped out loud several times on my couch and got a look from my dog, who was sort of confused.
FARROW: People have been having that reaction. There have been some gasps.
BENSON: And you look at the subtitle of your book, lies, spies, conspiracy -- sometimes editors and publishers will sort of spice up a title to make it seem sexy, and maybe they oversell a little bit. There is no overselling here. There are lies, there are spies, there are conspiracies. Let's dive in. Let's start with Harvey Weinstein. Because there are several villains/antagonists in this true story. He is the biggest one, I would say. I would imagine you agree. Talk about the range of accusations that you uncovered against him from various women. Because one witness talked about -- it seemed like he almost had a streamlined process for predation, and he got away with it for a very long time.
FARROW: All of that is true, and obviously a lot of your listeners by now will be familiar with the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Dozens and dozens of women have now accused him of various forms of sexual predation. And you know, as with every aspect of this book, I'm really careful in how I lay that out and how I include his responses. But I was able to break those first allegations of assault and rape against Harvey Weinstein in "The New Yorker," and as it turns out, there was quite a complex saga that played out behind the scenes, as he worked frantically to stop the disclosure of those claims.
BENSON: Which he had done successfully for years.
FARROW: For years.
FARROW: And that's really the point I would turn to very quickly here. This was always bigger than Harvey Weinstein, Guy. This is bigger than Hollywood. This is about patterns of abuse and the systems in a lot of our industries that help keep that abuse quiet.
BENSON: On the Hollywood piece -- and this is a brief aside, but it goes to your point -- there was a quote from Ben Affleck, A-list actor, in your book, who, at one point years ago was made aware of the latest assault or incident of harassment, whichever it was -- that Harvey Weinstein had perpetrated on a young woman. And Affleck apparently said, oh God, not again. I told him to clean this up. I'm paraphrasing. To what extent did you report out that this kind of was something of an open secret?
FARROW: Over and over again, as I was working on a story that was initially supposed to be about, broadly, the casting couch and transactional sexual relationships in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein's name came up.And it quickly became apparent that there was much more and many more serious allegations out there than just transactional sex -- which is also a significant issue and now a point of cultural discussion. But this extended also to activity that now obviously is getting criminal scrutiny. And what's striking is that not just in the Weinstein story, but in so many stories I've reported, Guy, there is a wide community of people who have heard varying accounts. You know, some of them don't know everything, but have heard enough that they are troubled by it. And over and over again, they don't do anything about that. And the book is very much a journey through the many systems that have been built up over time in a lot of different industries, including our own in the media world, to keep those allegations quiet and to make sure that people who are troubled when they hear something don't actually have any channels by which to do anything about it.
BENSON: And we went through a very wrenching process involving exactly what you just described here at Fox News a number of years ago. And that comes up a few times in "Catch and Kill," especially in the context of NBC, which we're going to get to in a minute.
FARROW: Well, I'm really glad that you mentioned Fox, because you know, Gretchen Carlson and the allegations of misconduct at Fox News becoming public is foundational to the subsequent stories about Harvey Weinstein and others breaking out into the press, and thankfully they were incredibly brave people, especially women at Fox, who did speak out. Thankfully there were some steps taken, in terms of leadership change. But it's interesting, you know, I made this point the other night on Bret Baier's show that in a number of cases where these kinds of scandals have broken wide open, whether it's Fox or CBS, we've seen some positive steps; outside investigation, leadership change. And very quickly I was contacted by a number of women who feel that even after those steps at Fox, the problems persist; that Fox has still not released numerous women from their nondisclosure agreements. They still live in terror of speaking about that. That there are still complaints that the HR offices are not held accountable; they're not independent. And you know, it's important that we all hold our own institutions accountable. And you know, I want to be crystal clear -- when I talk about how important things like leadership change and outside investigation are, it's in no way to suggest that the problem is done or that there's not more work that urgently needs to be done at Fox, at CBS, and at NBC, it would appear, given the calls for accountability there.
BENSON: And writ large, I think, in society. Right?
FARROW: And writ large in society. This is bigger than any one set of executives; bigger than any one company.
BENSON: What is Black Cube?
FARROW: So Harvey Weinstein, as reporters are circling these allegations, hires an Israeli private investigation firm called -- somewhat absurdly, like it's in a Bond movie or something -- Black Cube.
BENSON: It is. It's kind of perfect.
FARROW: It's kind of perfect. I mean, you know, their brand is very much like "Spectre." It's all but the octopus logo. They've got sort of very sinister black cubes everywhere in their office, and everything's very secretive --
BENSON: And that's a motif literally in your book, too.
FARROW: That's true. We've incorporated that in the visual design of the book in various subtle ways. We had fun with that. But this was a serious thing; that Harvey Weinstein retained this firm that actively markets its close links to the current Mossad, and the fact that many of its senior leadership are alumna and alumni of the various factions of the Israeli military and intelligence services, and that they bring to the table, you know, elite combat-hardened services. And Harvey Weinstein then proceeded to, through his lawyers, including David Boies, something of a liberal hero who signed these contracts with these secret agents, to intimidate and stalk both women with accusations and reporters going after the story.
BENSON: Like you.
FARROW: Yeah. Like me, but also others. And really using some pretty underhanded and exotic and extreme tactics.
BENSON: Including the mind-blowing one to me -- was the insinuation into the life of Rose McGowan by this friend, that was introduced professionally, then became a very close confidant. And McGowan, one of your contacts, one of your interview subjects, a victim of Harvey Weinstein -- came to trust her implicitly and shared a lot about what she was going through, what she was planning to say publicly and write in a book. Turned out that this friend was a plant from Black Cube. It's just -- I mean that is the stuff of movies.
FARROW: Black Cube specializes in subterfuge and deception and using false identities and front companies. And one of the things they did, as you say, is sent an undercover operative posing as a women's rights activist, who became Rose McGowan's best friend. And you know, it got to the point where Rose says at one point to this woman, who is not who she presents herself to be, you're the only person in the world left who I can trust. And you know, when you have a person using a false identity and secretly recording a woman with a rape allegation and then sending those recordings back to her alleged rapist, I would say it's pretty fair to raise some ethical questions about that.
BENSON: Indeed. Talk about the ballpark figure that you were able to obtain, in terms of what Weinstein paid these various intelligence groups just to try to shut down this story.
FARROW: So across the many agencies he hired -- it wasn't just Black Cube -- this is very clearly a seven-figure bill of some kind. With Black Cube's billing it gets quite complicated, because there's actually a little bit of a comedy of errors that plays out in the plot, where he is giving them short shrift, they think. They're invoicing him over and over again for their services, and he's, you know, shirking his obligations. And they had various bonuses that they wanted paid for, you know, obtaining Rose McGowan's work in progress --
BENSON: I feel like you should pay.
FARROW: -- work in progress manuscript. Yes, pay your people (ph).
BENSON: You should really pay the people.
FARROW: -- your people (ph) deeds.
BENSON: Yes. Who are like digging up all the dirt that could ruin you; maybe you want to keep them satisfied, but --
FARROW: I'll say, it was a pretty elaborate, expensive operation and you know, among other things, Black Cube was in turn hiring subcontractors. There was a Russian guy and a Ukrainian guy who chased me around for a while.
BENSON: Posting up (ph) outside your apartment.
FARROW: Right. Hanging out outside, and there's a little bit of a Tweedledee, Tweedledum quality to them where, you know, there --
BENSON: Like a little adorable?
FARROW: A little -- you know, they're complicated characters. They're mostly workaday private investigators who, you know, are doing things that are much more mundane than this. But in this case they were chasing around reporters who are on this story. And one of the things they did for a couple of days actually was surveil a neighbor of mine who happens to look a little like me. And you know, then they finally get close enough to touch him and realize it's not me.
BENSON: Oh. It's not him. Which is a scene, again, out of a movie.
FARROW: Right. And they call --
BENSON: The dramatic turnaround.
FARROW: -- on my cell at this point and I pick up somewhere else in the city and I just this (INAUDIBLE) --
BENSON: Because they were tracking --
FARROW: -- Russian curses.
BENSON: Tracking your phone, which is also just -- there's so much that's frightening in this. Before we pivot to NBC and take a break, I saw Harvey Weinstein -- I texted you about this. A few weeks ago I was here in New York. A friend took me out to dinner. We were downtown at Cipriani's with a bunch of people; in walks Weinstein. With a little posse of people -- the whole place -- there's a hush that goes over the restaurant. And he's just laughing it up and eating his expensive Italian food. What is the current status? Because he's disgraced. You've really taken him down. He's lost his company. There are charges pending. What's the status right now? Because I think some people, like me, are just shocked to see him out and about in public.
FARROW: Well, there's a criminal investigation that's ongoing. In New York there are actually several jurisdictions looking at criminal charges. And Harvey Weinstein will face trial in the coming months. And look, the book lays out these systems of complicity, including times at which law enforcement yielded to pressure from Harvey Weinstein and didn't charge him.
BENSON: And you have -- they have him on tape admitting to at least -- you would describe as an unwanted sexual assault.
FARROW: For sure.
BENSON: And they had that. The police had it. The D.A. had it here New York. They did nothing with it. And one of the more satisfying moments in the book is when Weinstein is just beside himself, on the phone with you, enraged that somehow you've gotten your hands on this recording, which he was convinced had been completely wiped from memory. But it wasn't, and you got your hands on it. And that was a key point of contention with NBC -- from your perspective.We'll get to that when we come back. Ronan Farrow, my guest, on "The Guy Benson Show".
BENSON: We continue with "The Guy Benson Show". Thanks for being here. My guest in studio here in New York is Ronan Farrow. His book is "Catch and Kill". You began this investigation into Harvey Weinstein while you were under the auspices of NBC News. And you pursued it aggressively. They greenlit it at the beginning, at the onset. And then over time, as you seemed to put together a fairly bulletproof case, they got cold feet at various levels and didn't just say, we need a little bit more. They kept using various iterations of this term, we need to hit the pause button. Which was effectively a stand-down order. You had lawyers calling you from NBC saying, you may not conduct scheduled interviews. What was the fulcrum point where you realized, OK, this network and its leadership doesn't have my back?
FARROW: You know, there's a running theme in the book where I'm a little more naive than for instance my veteran producer, who's this incredible figure that emerges in the plot that unravels in these pages --
BENSON: Rich McHugh.
FARROW: Rich McHugh, who's been very vocal in recent days about saying that he witnessed all of this and the story was shut down in this very ugly way and that it was always apparent that it was suspicious. And it was apparent to him, I will say, earlier than it was apparent to me. We knew that something was amiss; that there was something unjournalistic happening, because from the very first interviews, as we started bringing in evidence -- and we had a tremendous amount -- you can judge for yourself when you read the book, whether it should go on air. Most journalists have I think agreed that we had more than enough to go on air. We had a taped confession from Harvey Weinstein, not just to an assault, but to multiple assaults.
BENSON: Named accusers on camera.
FARROW: Multiple named accusers. In every version of the story there's been an effort to claim that that's not the case, but it is. But ultimately that is all something of a distraction from the main conversation here, which is, as you point out -- they didn't say, you don't have enough. They said, you need to stop. You cannot get more. Don't take a single call. And that's a point Rich McHugh has made. It's a point that eventually even I, despite desperately wanting to believe they were going to air this thing, had to concede, was happening and was wrong and was strange. And the book answers why and what was happening behind the scenes.
BENSON: So at one point, one of your bosses tells you, go with God and bring this story elsewhere. Because it was effectively dead at NBC. You walk -- effectively also down the street and go to "The New Yorker" and say, here's what I've got. They decide to run the story. They run the story. It's a huge, massive bombshell. It gets enormous attention. Immediate response all over the media. And people started to think, OK, gosh, here's an NBC employee it seems, although I guess NBC was telling Harvey Weinstein that you weren't working for them anymore, but in the public consciousness, you were an NBC employee breaking one of the biggest scoops in years at another outlet. And that was clearly a bit of a P.R. problem at that point for NBC, because they had to explain it. You had a very famous appearance on Rachel Maddow's show, where she asked you specifically, why is it that you work here, but this didn't air here and it was at The New Yorker. And you write in the book that you sort of gave an answer; you said you should have to ask NBC about that. When the segment finally ended, you say you burst into tears. She went off the air and got a screaming phone call from management. Talk about that scene. Why did you cry?
FARROW: You know, none of us in our profession wants to be the story. And I think particularly with my background, where I grew up in a Hollywood family with famous names around and a lot of scandal and turmoil, I saw people I cared about have their work eclipsed by personal stuff and focus on them. Moreover in this case specifically, I spent a year living in the pain and trauma of these sources and realizing what a brave, tough thing they had done. And so it was agonizing when I had evidence that I thought maybe could prevent future people from getting hurt and was fighting to get it out. And it was agonizing again when I knew I couldn't lie about the fact that the story had been killed, but was under tremendous pressure from executives, my bosses -- people I still hoped I could keep my job with -- to shut up about it. And they had, you know, given me assurances that no one was going to ask about this and I said, look, if I go on your air to sort of deodorize this problem and then talk about it, on NBC shows -- I will not bring up the history of the story, but I can't lie if I'm asked. And Rachel Maddow asked, and it really did feel in real time like my future at that company and potentially in television at that point -- turned out not to be the case, thankfully - I'm happily employed at HBO now. But at the time it really felt like my future was slipping away. And you know what? It was hard, but looking back, it was right that she asked and it was right that I told the truth about it.
BENSON: But it's scary in the moment.
FARROW: It was.
BENSON: And you had that catharsis when you went off the air. We're going to come back to the NBC piece when we return with Ronan Farrow, his book "Catch and Kill".
BENSON: We are back. I'm Guy Benson in New York. It's "The Guy Benson Show". Sitting across from me here at the desk is Ronan Farrow. His book is "Catch and Kill". So we'll pick it up where we left off and continue with the thread. You had been at NBC News. There were a couple of executives; Phil Griffin, Noah Oppenheim and Andy Lack, who come up over and over again in your book. And it does become clear at some point that they have made an affirmative decision to stymie your reporting and to stonewall. And it seems like they were doing so under pressure at the behest, perhaps, of Harvey Weinstein, for various reasons. He was a major hitter. They wanted to stay on good terms with him, if possible.There was also this Matt Lauer piece where -- and this is where it gets even more complicated, with AMI and the "National Enquirer" and President Trump, I think we became familiar with the term "Catch and Kill" more broadly in the media in the context of President Trump, where his allies at AMI would pay for damaging accusations against him, pay for the exclusive rights to them from various women, and then lock them in a vault to make sure they didn't see the light of day, as a way of helping him. They also, these companies, and these -- you can't really call them, I don't think, journalists -- but these people had a file on Matt Lauer, who's the superstar of NBC News and "The Today Show," and they had some disturbing information on him. And there's some reporting in your book that there might have been sort of this sense of mutually assured destruction -- if NBC allowed you to move forward, Harvey Weinstein was ready to sic the dogs on Lauer, which would be a problem for other people at the network. How much stock do you put into the theory? I know there's some reporting that that is what happened or what was primarily motivating the dragging of the feet in all the pause buttons.
FARROW: Well, I think it's bigger than that. You know, there is reporting in the book which is very careful and doesn't go beyond exactly what we know, which is multiple sources at AMI and at NBC say that there was a threat delivered, that it was communicated at -- there was this information they had about misconduct at NBC and that they would continue to reveal more of that. Now, it is not in dispute that AMI and the "National Enquirer" were bearing down on NBC's secrets during this whole period. It's not in dispute because they actually began running articles about Matt Lauer and sexual misconduct.And the book, you know, itemizes the various things that started to run over the course of my reporting -- as Harvey Weinstein is huddled with this top editor at the "National Enquirer", Dylan Howard.
BENSON: And on the phone with NBC executives, on the regular, although they played that down. There's been a lot of -- I have to say the word lying -- to you and to the company from some of these executives about Lauer, about the significance and the scope of the allegations against him. It's amazing the amount of misdirection --
FARROW: Misdirection and I think lying is accurate. You know, this is a very carefully fact-checked work of investigative journalism. For years we made sure that every piece of information -- and this is bulletproof -- and it is very striking how there have been statements made both within that company to the wonderful journalists there, who are now asking tough questions, and also to the public that just don't hold up to any scrutiny. And you know, one of those claims is the idea that nobody knew about Matt Lauer's misconduct allegations, when in fact, there were multiple senior executives I've talked to who were aware, years before he was fired.
BENSON: It was almost a running joke at the network, in some ways.
FARROW: Yeah. Joe Scarborough got on air and said this was not a secret. This was shouted from the mountaintops. This was something people laughed about. And you know, he doesn't necessarily mean assault allegations. To be clear, you know, there was a range of understandings of whether this was just gross and inappropriate or whether it was criminal. But there was certainly enough there that this company was paying out multiple women to keep this problem quiet. And in a period in which they claimed to their journalists, and we have this dead-to-rights memorialized -- their general counsel says there are no sexual harassment settlements. We document a paper trail of at least seven. Some of those involved Matt Lauer; some of them involved other senior executives. But that's what I mean when I say this is bigger than just the direct communication of a threat, which NBC denies. Their denial is in there. But regardless --
BENSON: But there does certainly seem to be at the very least plausible intersection of Weinstein and Lauer and some of the motives.
FARROW: There's indisputable intersection, and there is a conflict that emerges where a company that is maintaining its own secret sexual harassment settlements, and whose top, most valuable talent is in a precarious position of having this stuff revealed. And where the "National Enquirer" is in the process of revealing this -- they are simultaneously coming to me and my producer and making the same arguments Harvey Weinstein is making, secret sexual harassment settlements have to be maintained. We cannot report on it. He's going to sue us if we do report on it.
BENSON: It's (ph) tertiary (ph) interference -- all of these --
FARROW: Tortious interference.
BENSON: Yes, tortious.
FARROW: Just famously specious -- legal doctrine which, you know --
BENSON: That "The New Yorker" lawyers laughed out of the room.
FARROW: Laughed out of the room. There just are no judgments against, you know, news organizations acting in good faith. If we had been trying to frustrate Harvey Weinstein's business interests, maybe --
BENSON: Supposed --
FARROW: -- but not in this case.
BENSON: Quote/unquote "conflict of interest," because of your parents and movies; that was also ludicrous, as "The New Yorker" correctly identified, but it was a Weinstein talking point that NBC parroted back to you. I want to play you a clip. This was just from recently. Where Chris Hayes, at MSNBC, said something at a little monologue at the end of his show, about your book. And I gave him credit on this show; he and I disagree on almost everything, but it takes guts to say something like this -- cut 28.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: In Farrow's view, he was unable to break through what was effectively a conspiracy of silence from NBC News management. Now. NBC News vigorously denies this account. The president of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim, called Farrow's book a conspiracy theory. In a memo sent out today, citing an internal NBC investigation that concluded that the extremely upsetting allegations against Lauer were not known internally at NBC. NBC has called any suggestion it did know, false and offensive. Oppenheim and others have also maintained since Farrow's departure two years ago the Weinstein story was never broadcast because it lacked sufficient on-the-record sourcing, even after NBC supported Farrow's assignment for seven months.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BENSON: He went on to say what is indisputable is that you went to "The New Yorker," and within a matter of weeks, managed to publish a Pulitzer Prize-winning story on all of your reporting that you had at NBC. I just wonder your reaction, hearing that from Chris who's still in the building. He reports to the people who are mentioned in your book as, frankly, antagonists who are standing in the way of the truth. Megyn Kelly, our former colleague here, your former colleague at NBC who had mentioned this stuff on the air when she was at NBC, calling for an outside review. She eventually got fired. She returned to our air last week with Tucker Carlson, and she was asked about what Hayes said in cut 26.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: He's saying essentially what you said, which is he doesn't trust the management at NBC News. Given your experience do you think he's in jeopardy of being fired?
KELLY: No comment on that. But I will say the question is open as to whether they put dollars ahead of decency.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BENSON: Your response to Hayes and Kelly?
FARROW: This book is, in many ways a love letter to, an attribute to fellow journalists. Including great journalists at NBC, who are very often sources in this book, and who in recent weeks have been reeling at these revelations and the fact that they were lied to explicitly again and again in many of the meetings and documents that are laid out in this book. The company has now admitted to these, at least 15 secret calls with Harvey Weinstein that they previously denied. They've admitted that there were these settlements. They say that it's a big coincidence and they were just paying out what they call enhanced severance, it's a euphemism they use, and that these women just happened to have raised within the company, serious sexual harassment complaints. But journalists are asking tough questions within that building and, you're absolutely right, it is very hard to speak truth to power when it's your bosses. And that is a pattern that we've seen across the media. Here again, the corporate tools that are used to sweep these problems under the rug and keep abusive people in power are not unique to NBC. We saw it at Fox, we saw it at CBS, and we're seeing it now. And in all of those cases, we have seen brave journalists who rose up and said we've got to ask tough questions. And we're still seeing that happen at Fox, at CBS, at NBC and beyond.
BENSON: In the truth to power vein, perhaps the executive who drove me most crazy reading the book -- I can't imagine what it must have been like for you -- is someone who was for a long time an ally of yours in the building, even like a friend almost. Noah Oppenheim who's the president at NBC news. There was a report just in the last 24 hours that his contract was renewed at NBC. Your former producer and one of the heroes of the book, Rich McHugh gave a statement yesterday to Fox News, quote, "I take it that no Comcast board member has read Ronan's book or my article," speaking about a Vanity Fair piece he wrote. "I am sad for all NBC News employees that the status quo has been blessed." Ronan, what is your reaction to the reported extension of the contract of Noah Oppenheim, given everything that you've reported?
FARROW: You know, I'm a reporter not an activist. And my job is to rigorously interrogate the facts, I think we've done that here -- the reporting speaks for itself. An incredible senior fact checker at "The New Yorker," did really world-class work making every sentence in this thing bulletproof. How people react, what companies do in response is not as much within the scope of my job. I will say what we're seeing now play out at NBC reflects a pattern that we've seen in the media. Fox News had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accountability, you know. And they were smearing Gretchen Carlson in the press, and doing all sorts of counter-spin. And finally there was then a conversation about accountability --
BENSON: And an outside investigation --
FARROW: And an outside investigation --
BENSON: Which is still being resisted by NBC. They're saying their general counsel's good enough.
FARROW: Right. So you know, the problem is not solved there, but there was finally progress after much fighting and pressure. CBS, same kind of deal. You had a board at CBS that was aware of criminal investigations in to Les Moonves as presumably leadership at Comcast is now aware of some of the serious allegations about Andy Lack and others in the NBC chain of command.
BENSON: Right, not just -- I should point out, not just covering up stuff but their own personal allegations against them, yes --
FARROW: Right, so both are present in this book including multiple women on the record saying that the head of the NBC News group, Andy Lack slept with underlings and retaliated against them. He denied the retaliation part of that, and that's all laid out very fairly in the book. But the point being that in all of these cases you see companies really resisting the pressure for accountability. And in the CBS case you saw board members saying things like, I don't care if it's dozens of women with allegations of rape, you know -- we're keeping our men in power. Those are very close to actual word-for-word quotes that "The New York Times," later ran as they knew that I was reporting on this. And so when you see a company aware that there's careful investigative reporting about to emerge and before they even look at that, taking steps to kind of dig in -- that is common. And I would say that the experiences of these other companies speak to the fact that that --
BENSON: Perhaps not sustainable --
FARROW: Is perhaps not sustainable.
BENSON: Let's take one more break, when we come back I want to ask -- I know you're not the main story. You are the principal character in the book. It's written in the first-person. I want to talk a little bit about what you wrote, some of your fears, some of your vulnerabilities. When we come back, my quest is Ronan Farrow on his book, "Catch and Kill," it's "The Guy Benson Show:"
BENSON: Homestretch on "The Guy Benson Show," Ronan Farrow is with me. Ronan, I want to ask you a few questions and squeeze them in here in the time that we have left. One of the biggest betrayals in the book, setting aside Rose McGowan and her, quote/unquote, "friend" who was placed in to her life by this intelligence group Black Cube. A friend of yours, or at least a professional acquaintance Lisa Bloom who you had confided in, later is revealed to be working for Harvey Weinstein. You've asked her to keep your confidence, she has agreed. And at some point you confront her saying, how can you go and tell his people this stuff? We had an agreement. And she said, Ronan, I am his people. I was shocked by that, and I'm wondering -- I'm not an attorney, is that professionally sanctionable (ph) conduct? Is -- I mean, is there like a disbarment clause somewhere where you can do something like that?
FARROW: You know, Lisa Bloom and I were not an attorney-client privilege relationship and I acknowledged that up front. I said, look, I know we're not attorney-client here, but attorney to attorney, and journalist to journalist -- because she was a television commentator and writes about legal issues in the media. And as someone that I trust, you know? She was an activist who I think did really valuable advocacy for victims of exactly the kinds of abuses of power that I had reported on, including defending my sister for years and pointing out how there was an abundance of forensic evidence backing her claim. I trusted her. And I said, look, if I'm going to talk to you about this I need to trust your assurance of confidentiality. So while that was an informal arrangement, it was one where I believed someone to be of integrity and -- thankfully I didn't give her any information that could be weaponized, but damned if she didn't try. And it became
BENSON: And it was just (ph) --
FARROW: And it became increasingly apparent that she was working me for that kind of information.
BENSON: And is just deeply unethical, and I was -- I was really taken aback by that strand of the story --
FARROW: Well, and her letter -- the legal threat letters that Harvey Weinstein directs at me, which say among other things, I have a deal with NBC, they've given me written assurances they're going to kill the story, they're going to assert a copyright claim if you ever take it elsewhere. Also argues, you know, Ronan Farrow's sister was brainwashed and, therefore, he can't be taken seriously because he has a person he cares about who was sexually assaulted. And she, as someone who wrote op-ed after op-ed defending my sister --
FARROW: -- signs on to that letter. So you know, it's a real story about the power of greed and Harvey Weinstein optioned her book, and she saw fame in her future and I think she made some decisions that she'll now have to live with.
BENSON: Very shameful. There is a very interesting tentacle in this whole saga involving Hillary Clinton that a lot of Conservatives have paid attention to -- you can read the book and that's all documented in there. Also documented heavily, and this has come out in a lot of your interviews is your personal fear -- not living in your apartment for a while because you were nervous about who was following you around, how they were tracking you, what could happen -- someone urged you to buy a gun. Something that I haven't heard you asked as much about is another type of vulnerability -- you actually get in to your relationship -- your personal, romantic relationship -- and how it was rocky at times through this process. And you don't really sugarcoat it, and I was -- I was taken aback just because there's such, I think, an instinct to protect yourself and your loved ones. To even -- you could have glossed over some of those tensions but you didn't, why did you make that choice?
FARROW: Yeah, my partner is great and kind of emerges as one of the voices of conscious in this and really held me together at a time when the walls were closing in, and I --
BENSON: You call him Jonathan, that's Jon Lovett -- former Obama --
FARROW: Jon Lovett.
BENSON: -- speechwriter.
FARROW: He -- you know, he is pugnacious and morally indignant, and when he sees wrongs of this kind, kind of throws caution to the wind and it was really powerful for me to have someone with that kind of moral fiber in my life during these moments where I was at times, being tempted by people saying you should just stop, this isn't worth it. So it was important to have that thread of both how important it was to me to have someone with that strength and also how, I think in so many cases where journalists are banging their heads against the wall trying to break a tough story, they lean on people around them.
BENSON: And there's a strain, and it's not always easy -- and it's not this, you know, storybook tale of mutual support, and it's just wonderful all the time, (inaudible) --
FARROW: No, it really -- the relationship was really brought low. And it's funny, we had a lot of fights about it while I was writing the book where he said, can't I just be like, a running source of comic relief? Like, can't I just be wonderful through the whole plot? And he is wonderful, but I also felt it was important --
BENSON: It wouldn't have made it past the fact checkers at "The New Yorker," though, like hang on --
FARROW: Right, right -- that's the thing -- that's the thing, he had to be fact checked too.
BENSON: Although you do mention, because we're running out of time -- you just casually drop at the end of the book, oh, by the way I propose and we're engaged. And so, congratulations on that --
FARROW: Spoiler alert, Guy, but thank you for that.
BENSON: That's very exciting.
FARROW: Well that's -- the saga of the relationship being tested and then sort of coming back was one I wanted to tell honestly because I think that's what hard times in your life look like for so many people in these circumstances.
BENSON: Less than a minute -- there are a few quotes that I read in the book and I just, my brain fired off, this is going to be a movie or a TV miniseries, it is going to happen. Last question, who would you like to play Ronan Farrow when this project eventually happens? Probably sooner rather than later.
FARROW: Let's just get Meryl to play all the parts.
BENSON: She'd be amazing.
BENSON: We could workshop that one, maybe crowd-source?
FARROW: She is a character in "Catch and Kill," she could play herself.
BENSON: She is, she is. Maybe people can tweet us @GuyBensonShow, who should play Ronan Farrow when this becomes a movie. The book is where you need to start, "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," by Ronan Farrow. Ronan, thank you.
FARROW: Thank you, Guy, for having me.
BENSON: We'll see you tomorrow on "The Guy Benson Show."