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A false identity and secret recordings: How a Harvey Weinstein spy gained Rose McGowan's trust.

In April of 2017, Rose McGowan’s literary agent forwarded her an email from a London-based wealth management firm. Sent by a woman named Diana Filip, it asked if the actress and gender-equality advocate would serve as a keynote speaker at an upcoming event.

McGowan agreed to meet Filip at hotel restaurant in Beverly Hills. The pair bonded that night, and over the coming months the former Charmed star let her guard down and formed a friendship, a sense of trust, even confided in Filip about her intent to go public with sexual assault allegations against heavyweight Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein later that year.

Video by Mamamia

But as journalist Ronan Farrow reports in his upcoming book, Catch and Kill, Diana Filip wasn’t an employee at a wealth-management firm. The job was fake, as was the name, and indeed the compassion she’d shown McGowan.

Her real name was Stella Penn Pechanac, and she was an agent for an Israeli private intelligence firm called Black Cube.

Her client? Harvey Weinstein.

“There was no one else in the world she could trust.”

In extracts from Farrow’s books published by The New Yorker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote that, while he was reporting on the widespread assault allegations against Weinstein in 2017, he uncovered that the producer had hired “Israeli private-intelligence agency Black Cube to surveil his accusers and the journalists trying to tell their stories”.

Weinstein’s goal was to gather information that could quash the allegations that eventually emerged in The New York Times and The New Yorker that October (and kick-started the #MeToo movement).

Enter Black Cube agent Stella Penn Pechanac, a former actress who’d served in the Israeli Air Force.

Stella Penn Pechanac. Image: Channel 12.
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Farrow was among those Pechanac attempted to get close to. As was reporter Ben Wallace, who was working on the Weinstein story for New York Magazine. That time, posed as a woman named 'Anna'.

But Rose McGowan proved to be her most useful mark.

As Farrow first reported for The New Yorker back in 2017, there were phone calls and emails between the pair over the course of several months, along with in-person catch-ups and a "girls' night out". It worked.

"During one of their emotional heart-to-hearts," Farrow wrote, "McGowan told Filip that there was no one else in the world she could trust."

Meanwhile, the agent had recorded several hours of private conversations with the star and even obtained a manuscript of McGowan's then-unpublished memoir, Brave, which included details of her allegations against Weinstein.

The women of Mamamia Out Loud discuss the Harvey Weinstein saga, the reckoning, and how Hollywood’s changed forever.

"At the time, he was really not a monster."

Speaking to an Israeli television station in June, Penchanac, who stopped working for Black Cube after she was outed in the media, said she had no qualms about duping McGowan at the time.

"I always feel comfortable when I am approaching people in order to try and discover the truth,” she told Channel 12, according to The Times of Israel.

“My aim was to discover if someone was running a negative campaign against Weinstein, and if so, who was behind it.

“At the time, he was really not a monster. He was not the man we know him to be today."

More than a dozen lawsuits have since been filed against Weinstein accusing him of misconduct, and he is due to face a criminal trial over rape allegations in January 2020.

He continues to firmly deny all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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