An investigation, a culture of silence, and the one conversation we need to be having.

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“I can’t change what has happened to you in the past – but if we work together, we may be able to put your pain to some productive use." 

It was the line that The New York Times (NYT) investigative reporter Megan Twohey offered to fellow NYT journalist Jodi Kantor; an appeal to the women who were too afraid to talk. 

The women who were the survivors of Hollywood producer mogul, Harvey Weinstein. 

Up until October 2017, he was untouchable. But the relentless investigation of Kantor and Twohey brought the allegations to light: Sexual abuse and rape. 

But not only did Kantor and Twohey manage to get ex-Weinstein employees and Hollywood actresses to go on the record, and see Weinstein face justice; their work propelled a cultural awakening.

In 2019, the Pulitzer-Prize winning duo penned She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, the critically-acclaimed page-turner took readers behind the scenes on how they managed to bring down Weinstein. 

And now, it’s been adapted into a movie. 

On November 17, Universal Pictures brings She Said to the big screen, directed by Maria Schrader and starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, Tom Pelphrey and Adam Shapiro.

Watch the trailer for She Said. Story continues below.

Video via YouTube.

"Harvey Weinstein paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades."

It was the nine-word headline that stopped the US entertainment industry – and indeed, much of America – on October 5, 2017.

In 3,300 words, Kantor and Twohey brought forward allegations that had lingered as rumour for decades. The report, and the ones to follow, featured detailed interviews with accusers and those who had at one time been close to Weinstein, legal records, and internal company communications that documented a damning trail of cover-ups, NDAs, and efforts to intimidate. 

More than 80 women would eventually speak out – including famed actresses Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

Six months of hard-earned trust with survivors, hushed phone calls, late night meetings and long e-mail chains culminated in this groundbreaking moment that exposed Weinstein – and ultimately led to his conviction. 

In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. 

And Hollywood was put on notice. 

The Culture of Silence

Weinstein’s crimes didn’t happen in a vacuum. 

He brandished sex as power, intimidating or persuading anyone who stood in his way into silence.

And complicity. 

Indeed, it was Kantor and Twohey’s reporting that spotlighted the enablers; the scores of people surrounding Weinstein who shielded him in omertà. 

The gatekeepers of business colleagues, board members and lawyers. Those who excused his behaviour as a reality of the ‘casting couch’. 

And those who looked the other way.

But accountability doesn’t just lay at the feet of Weinstein and the individuals who enabled his predatory behaviour.


It also exposed the landscape in which it was allowed to live and breathe. 

The systems that thrive on privilege and power imbalance and patriarchal structures. 

So, what’s changed since?

The bravery of the women survivors who chose to publicly come forward to share the abuse they suffered from Weinstein inspired countless others to do the same in a cultural reckoning. 

It reinvigorated the #MeToo movement and Times Up group, breaking the silence and shame. 

In 2020, I interviewed Kantor for The Australian Jewish News. In her words, I wanted to know what progress has she observed?

From her Brooklyn apartment, she reflected,

“… There is much more consensus that this behaviour is wrong. When we started the story, we had to endure all of these lectures from smug Hollywood executives who told us that we were naive, that the casting couch was intrinsic to Hollywood, that it would never go away, that everyone just accepted Weinstein’s behaviour… That’s obviously not true.”

Indeed, post-Weinstein scores of powerful men have since toppled, with allegations being levelled towards many, including Prince Andrew, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer – and closer to home – Geoffrey Rush and Craig McLaughlin.

And it has demanded real progress, with some of the key drivers of inequality beginning to be addressed: disparate gender representation, legislative change, industry reform, the necessity for pay equity and diverse and inclusive representation. 

It’s a conversation that continues to evolve – as it should – with its inherent nuance and complexity too.

What does the film promise?

Early reviews are resoundingly positive, applauding strong performances grounded in emotional realism. 


In a recent piece for Vogue, Kantor and Twohey wrote, 

“The film… depicts so much of what we witnessed and experienced, including the takeout, that late-night cab ride, and a few personal truths we’ve never shared before. In fact certain details are shown precisely as they were, down to the font on an incriminating document one of the [survivors] read to us.” 

As for their on screen portrayal?

“The actors Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan convey emotions and moments we never thought could be captured, and Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton, and other actors embody our sources’ tenacity, deep reflection, and risk,” Kantor and Twohey said. 

But it’s not a documentary, they affirm.

“There are differences, compressed chronologies, a couple of completely invented scenes. And some of the moments that feel like playback have nuance now. That’s because so much has shifted since 2017: The #MeToo movement has exploded, endured, and suffered backlash.”

Kantor’s greatest hope is that the film will “help bolster the case for this work… to build people’s confidence in telling the truth”.

“We want people to feel as deeply as we do that facts and stories matter, that change can happen. If a single truth-teller gains the confidence to call a journalist because of this film, that would be the best possible reward: the cycle beginning anew.”

She Said is a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever. Watch in cinemas November 17.

Feature Image: Universal Pictures.

Universal Pictures
Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever. She Said, in cinemas November 17.