I just finished the audiobook of investigative journalist Ronan Farrow‘s brilliant non-fiction tome Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, which details how his Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker story on Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual predation and intimation of women (aka the one that ended that monster’s career and influence) came to be. The book reads (or narrates in my case) more like a thriller than a historical document, and I mean that as a high compliment. He’s a great, great writer. The book details how hard it was for many of these women to come forward, how he was followed and tracked by operatives hired by Weinstein, and how his bosses at NBC News, where he was employed at the time and where he intended to break the story on TV, actively tried to shut down his investigation.
If I were Farrow, I don’t know if I’d have been able to resist the urge to directly and loudly repudiate NBC News in public as people tried to make him do repeatedly in various interviews. But, as he says, he dodged those questions and minimized making an issue of that aspect of the story because he didn’t want the focus to be on him. He wanted the spotlight to remain on the women’s stories, which is the correct instinct as a journalist. His actions speak louder than words. He did exactly what he set out to do, even if it made him look shady a few times because he refused to out these people for the pieces of shit they are.
Thanks and praise to people like Rose McGowan, Annabella Sciorra, Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, Ambra Gutierrez, Emily Nestor, Emma de Caunes, Rosanna Arquette and others for being willing to go on the record to help bring down this monster, but more importantly to help all women have the courage to speak up in the future.
The book is well-written, meticulously researched and an easy listen. If this subject is important you, as it should be, Farrow’s work is nothing less than essential.
Really my only criticism of the audiobook is that Farrow voices every single person he quotes in the book. This means he’s doing men’s voices and female voices, and many of them are people with accents. Put it this way; Ronan Farrow is not an actor. Some of the voices are over-the-top to the point of being offensive. I’m actually shocked he wasn’t roasted online over it, but I guess that’s how much goodwill he has in his favor. That, and I guess criticizing audiobooks doesn’t generate clicks. Either way, it’s the only thing I’d have advised him not to do. Several times while listening I had to pause the narration because I was laughing so hard at how awful his voice imitations were. Just hire some actors to do these parts or read them in your own voice, my man.
Have a quick listen at these clips and try not to laugh:
I’m not a professional journalist, so I don’t have to hide my feelings. Fuck Harvey Weinstein (who has sadly survived his battle with COVID-19). Fuck Noah Oppenheim, President of NBC News (whose contract was actually extended AFTER we learned about his obstruction of Farrow’s story). Fuck Andy Lack, Chairman of NBC News. Fuck Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. Fuck Matt Lauer. Fuck all enablers. Fuck people who seek to silence victims with NDAs and financial settlements. Fuck all would knowingly engage in cover-ups to protect corporate profits.
I respect and admire honest journalism. It’s one of society’s most important professions. And in these hyper-partisan times, it’s increasingly difficult to find the genuine thing. That’s why Farrow’s work on this issue has been nothing short of heroic. I salute you, sir.
–HERE is the original New Yorker story that started it all. If you never read it (and you probably didn’t), you need to.
–HERE is a good article referencing Farrow’s accents in the book. His Rosie Perez imitation is MUST LISTEN.