Book Review: “She Said – Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement” by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Reviewed by Bev Scott

In 2017 when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began to investigate Harvey Weinstein, women were experiencing sexual harassment, despite the laws against it. Women had achieved high-level positions and were highly educated. They had worked non-traditional jobs and broken barriers. But they also endured gropes, leers, propositions, physical advances and rape. Women who spoke up faced dismissal, demotion or humiliation. Sadly, sometimes a woman decided her best option was to accept a financial settlement in exchange for silence.

In the fall of 2017, the Weinstein story “broke through the dam” of silence. Women told their own stories in amazing numbers. Thus, men had to face the accusations. This book lays out the silent contracts and secrecy under which many women suffered. Meanwhile, their perpetrators continued with their successful careers. In shockingly frequent fashion, a so-called feminist lawyer would negotiate an outcome. In brief, the victim learned her best option was silence rewarded with a financial settlement. This allowed Weinstein in particular to continue to operate with impunity. The secrecy also challenged the authors as they pursued journalistic accuracy. As reporters, Kantor and Twohey obtained secondary confirmation to each revealed story. 

Summary

She Said tells the stories of multiple women who Harvey Weinstein harassed and the painful aftermath they suffered. Further, people around Weinstein knew about his blatant behavior and did nothing. Through their accounts, we follow Kantor and Twohey as they journey to uncover the truth and overcome barriers Weinstein constructed. They held to principles of good journalism during the time when accusations of “fake news” undermined the societal consensus of truth.

This book reveals the high-water mark of sexual harassment. It hid behind denials, legal gymnastics, bought-off silence and cultural dismissals. I highly recommend She Said.