Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein spent the days leading up to his very public fall from grace desperately seeking revenge against those who told of his salacious misdeeds to the press, becoming so fixated on finding out how reporters uncovered those details of his past that even his physical appearance started to change.
“He looked awful and could not focus,” a colleague told Vanity Fair, which published an in-depth account of the days and weeks leading up to the New York Times story that turned Weinstein into the archvillain of the #MeToo movement.
As journalists came closer to publishing Weinstein’s sordid past – which includes a staggering number of sexual misconduct and rape allegations from Hollywood stars and aspiring actresses alike – the former Weinstein Company (TWC) head honcho began hiding and deleting incriminating documents.
He also began monitoring ex-employees’ online communications in a vain attempt to find out “who did him in,” a TWC executive told the magazine.
“Somebody is giving The New York Times everything,” Weinstein allegedly told Nicole Quenqua, TWC’s head of publicity. “They’re giving them my drivers’ phone numbers. My entire address book. … They’re calling people from my past. They’re calling people in Italy. They’re just calling everyone.”
Weinstein was “literally naked in conflict with himself,” another source told Vanity Fair. “He knew how bad it was. He knew he had to do the right thing and yet it was like there was a switch that would go off and he would become a different human being.”
Weinstein’s vice president of human resources, Frank Gil, allegedly helped Weinstein comb through his employees’ offices and do away with troubling personnel files, including one belonging to an former employee who recently sued for sexual discrimination and harassment.
He also assembled a team of famed attorneys and other high-price professionals as part of a last-ditch effort to determine what dirt the Times had on him, holding meetings in a “makeshift war room.”
“He was basically asking for advice of people [who were] blindfolded, without their knowing what the accusations were – nor the truth,” said one person who attended one such meeting.