In 2017, immediately after the New York Times published its first allegations against him, Harvey Weinstein was prepared to go on the offensive. In an attempt to salvage his career and reputation, he contacted his lawyer at the time, Lisa Bloom, who crafted a memo about the tactics Weinstein could use to get his life back on track (Bloom quit just a few days after Weinstein retained her).
The memo was recently made public for the first time as part of early buzz for She Said, the forthcoming book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the reporters who first broke the story of Weinstein’s sexual abuses at the New York Times.
It reads like a dirtbag’s handbook, a step-by-step guide for how people in powerful positions can quiet their accusers and carry on with their “business.” Some of the steps look familiar to anyone who has been watching the fall (and attempted rise) of men in the Me Too movement. But viewing the steps together, with such careful plotting, feels like peeking at the other team’s playbook—especially because Bloom herself had previously played for the “other team,” representing women in lawsuits against Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump.
In her memo, Bloom presented Weinstein with several options for moving forward, including ways to silence Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s most vocal accusers. We break down her tactics here.
Would these things have worked to restore Weinstein’s reputation had he not been arrested? It’s impossible to say. But based on the scattered track record of attempted comebacks (and by people accused of acts far less vile and systematic than what Weinstein is alleged to have done), Bloom’s plan would have taken a long time to pay off.