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.
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.