Book of the week
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
(Little, Brown, $30)
Ronan Farrow has struck again, said Marisa Guthrie in The Hollywood Reporter. In his new book, the young, born-into-fame reporter whose work helped launch the #MeToo movement once again names names, as he recounts how entertainment insiders lined up against him when he worked to expose movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual predation. “Part memoir, part spy thriller, the book is an engrossing account of the dark arts employed by the powerful to suppress their stockpiled bad behavior, as well as the cover-up culture that pervades executive suites.” In Farrow’s telling, his bosses at NBC News quashed the Weinstein story, before he took it elsewhere, because of their personal and business ties to Weinstein—and also because NBC was covering up similar allegations against some of its own executives and stars. The network denies both charges.
“The behavior documented in Catch and Kill is profoundly distressing,” said Jennifer Szalai in The New York Times. Farrow focuses mainly on the stories of women victimized by Weinstein and other powerful men, and on the fight to have those stories told. In one of the book’s bombshells, a former NBC employee alleges that she was raped by former Today show anchor Matt Lauer while they were in Sochi to cover the 2014 Olympics. Lauer claims the encounter was consensual. But Farrow has uncovered numerous other allegations against the disgraced former network star, and argues that these incidents undercut NBC’s claim it had been unaware of any misconduct before Lauer’s firing in 2017. Farrow also reports that Weinstein himself obtained dirt on Lauer from the National Enquirer that he used to blackmail the network into silence.
“Farrow, of course, is no ordinary reporter,” said Paul Farhi in The Washington Post. Son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, the onetime prodigy graduated from Yale Law School at 21 and worked in high-level diplomatic posts before joining NBC at 25. Farrow’s sister, Dylan, famously accused Allen of molesting her as a child. She’s “both the muse and moral center of Catch and Kill,” encouraging and guiding her brother as he pursues justice for other women and withstands even pressure brought to bear by former Mossad agents hired by Weinstein. Farrow’s effort paid off. After he left NBC, his reporting on Weinstein was published in The New Yorker and won him a Pulitzer he shared with two New York Times reporters. Together, they “touched off a cultural avalanche.” ■