Catch and Kill Book Summary By Ronan Farrow

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

Catch and Kill (2019) is an intense account of how investigative journalist Ronan Farrow exposed the long-hidden abuses of Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein.

Farrow dug deep, unravelling the conspiracy that attempted to keep his findings in the shadows.

In this book, readers get insight into Weinstein's history of sexual harassment, assault, and rape and how it was brought to light in spite of all the attempts at silencing Farrow.

It also shares powerful stories from survivors who were brave enough to speak out.

This gripping and thought-provoking tale of investigative journalism is a must read for all.

Catch and Kill Book

Book Name: Catch and Kill (Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators)

Author(s): Ronan Farrow

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 37 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Ronan Farrow is an incredibly talented and recognized writer whose work has been highly acclaimed by both the public and media.

He is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, and his reporting has won him the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, as well as the National Magazine Award and George Polk Award.

Additionally, Farrow previously served as an anchor and reporter for MSNBC and NBC News.

His career even ventured into the political arena earlier on, where he was a State Department official.

In 2018 he released his book War on Peace, which provided insight into the US government's declining position in diplomacy.

Farrow truly embodies success in writing on journalistic topics; Catch and Kill will surely be no exception!

How Ronan Farrow Unlocked Hollywood’S Most Notorious Predator: The Investigative Journey That Sparked A Revolution

Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill: the inside story that exposed Harvey Weinstein is an account of the investigation conducted by Ronan Farrow into one of Hollywood’s most notorious predators.

It documents the challenges he faced while trying to uncover the truth behind the long-whispered rumors surrounding Weinstein.

Along the way, readers will gain insight into how Weinstein was able to keep his victims silent for so long, why NBC initially backed away from airing Farrow’s findings, and ultimately how Farrow’s tenacity and dedication helped expose Weinstein.

Throughout this book, Farrow shares his experiences in painstaking detail as he pushes through obstacles–legal pressure from Weinstein’s lawyers, skepticism from his employers, and a conspiracy of silence from Hollywood heavyweights.

Throughout it all shines Farrow’s unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth, bolstered by trust built with some of Weinstein’s victims and associates.

Catch and Kill is a gripping look at how one whistle blower managed to help bring a culture of cover-ups crashing down around him.

Is Nbc Afraid To Cover Sexual Assault: An Inside Look At The Network’S Controversies

The Washington Post’s leaked recording of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women sparked a massive media firestorm in October 2016.

While newspapers and television stations scrambled to report on this potentially election-defining scoop, NBCUniversal—the access Hollywood host Billy Bush belonged to—seemed reluctant.

When NBCUniversal finally did air the Access Hollywood tape, it edited out Bush’s most offensive remarks.

And when investigative reporter Ronan Farrow produced a well-reported piece about sexual assault investigations at universities, the network preempted its airing with one on Adderall abuse instead.

This refusal to address the issue of sexual assault was indicative of the attitude that NBC had towards scandal involving its talent; their response was an attempt to make it quietly go away rather than addressing it head-on as more sincere attempts at honesty would imply.

Although it would take some time for people to realize it, NBC’s discomfort in reporting sexual abuse stories that were becoming increasingly common served as an indication of exactly how uncomfortable they were with discussing them publicly.

The Road To The Dark Side Of Hollywood: How Accountability And #Metoo Stormed The Entertainment Industry

After Rose McGowan’s allegation of rape against a Hollywood studio head began circulating on social media, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow was given the assignment by his boss at NBC to delve further into the so-called “casting couch” in Hollywood culture.

He quickly found two more actresses with similar stories, but knowing that these were not definitive leads, he and his boss decided to reach out to McGowan directly.

On the heels of both the #WomenDontReport campaign and millions of women marching around the country in protest, Farrow began investigating McGowan’s claims.

It surprised many that a major network was taking a case of rape and sexual misconduct seriously.

Despite push-back from higher-ups within NBC itself, Farrow persevered and eventually gathered enough evidence to bring down one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, leading to a decision that would have long-term effects not just on the film industry but on how victims of sexual misconduct are taken seriously by society as well.

It Took A Courageous Campaign To Bring Harvey Weinstein’s Abuses To Light


Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful movie executives of all time, with over 300 Oscar nominations to his credit and hundreds of successful films under his belt.

However, his success came at a cost; there were persistent rumors of sexual harassment and assault that had trailed him for two decades.

As someone who wielded so much power in Hollywood, fear kept the victims from speaking out about him.

It was an open secret that Weinstein was not only known for his rages — which often included screaming, cursing and throwing objects at people — but also for using various forms of coercion to keep women quiet about what he had done.

These included things like nondisclosure agreements, payoffs and legal threats against those who dared to speak up about him.

In spite of this silence, it was finally time for these stories to come to light and for Harvey Weinstein’s long-hidden abuse to be revealed.

Ronan Farrow’S Intrepid Journalism Exposed Harvey Weinstein’S Assault Allegations And Unmasked Hollywood’S Acceptance Of Sexual Abuse

Ronan Farrow’s personal history and familiarity with the Weinstein story helped him to win the trust of Rose McGowan, an actress who had been raped by Harvey Weinstein.

McGowan agreed to be interviewed on camera, but she was understandably reluctant to name her abuser directly.

In the days leading up to the interview, Farrow consulted with his sister Dylan and did extensive research into alleged witnesses and court records around Dylan’s case.

This preparation gave him insight not just into Weinstein’s methods, but also the systems that enabled them.

When he finally spoke with McGowan over the phone, Farrow immediately picked up on her reluctance.

As they continued their conversation, he realized she needed to feel supported in order for her story to be told effectively, so he encouraged her to share all of her experiences without fear or judgment.

When it came time to film their interview, McGowan revealed a lot of emotional details but fatally left out any mention of Weinstein’s name—instead relying on Farrow’s viewers connecting all of their stories together.

She admitted that this act alone shut out certain elements for her abuser which were ultimately beneficial for him and shameful for her as a victim.

Farrow understood how difficult this was for McGowan as he knew his own family had faced similar circumstances—his father having been accused by is own daughter years earlier; however, in order for this story to properly unfold and be heard distinctly from the rest of Hollywood noise it was necessary and important that his Rose not waver in courage despite the fear and doubt within herself that she was ever going to be able attribute Harvey correctly as her attacker in public light and thus render justice towards herself specifically as well as all other victims of harassment within this industry everywhere else facing a similar situation as hers..

How David Pecker And Dylan Howard Helped Harvey Weinstein Escape Justice

In 2015, a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Gutierrez was brave enough to walk into a local police station in New York and report that she had been groped by Harvey Weinstein.

The police were willing to hear her case seriously, going as far as to have her wear a wire so that they could extract a confession from Weinstein at the follow-up meeting.

Sure enough, Gutierrez managed to get him to confess – on tape – for grabbing her breasts and saying “I’m sorry, just come on in, I’m used to it”.

Now this evidence was undeniable proof of Weinstein’s wrongdoing; however, despite the Special Victim Division being able to use it as leverage against him, it ultimately didn’t reach that stage.

This is because two men then entered the picture: David Pecker and Dylan Howard of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper.

Together, they worked together on getting rid of what they referred to as the “Ambra thing”.

The hard proof of Weinstein’s guilt soon disappeared from headlines with the Enquirer splashed with derogatory articles about Gutierrez instead.

In addition, there were insinuations that she was nothing more than a prostitute – simply due to her previous attendance at one of Silvio Berlusconi’s sex parties.

The Power Of Evidence Versus The Clout Of Connections: The Story Of The Weinstein Scandal

Weinstein Scandal

In order to get the evidence he needed for his investigation into Harvey Weinstein, reporter Ronan Farrow put in a lot of work.

For example, he managed to get his hands on the Gutierrez tape – a crucial piece of evidence in the entire scandal.

But as Farrow dug deeper, opposition to his investigation started mounting.

He was warned repeatedly by spin doctor Matthew Hiltzik, who was representing both the Clinton and Trump families at the time, that Weinstein was concerned that an NBC journalist was asking about Rose McGowan and counseled Farrow to “put the Weinstein thing on the back burner.” But despite all these warnings and veiled threats, Farrow continued his investigations until he could finally uncover enough information about Weinstein’s predatory sexual behavior.

Farrow eventually managed to record Ambra Guiterrez’s recording using a crude yet effective solution- no files would change hands and there wouldn’t be a digital paper trail.

Upon listening to a two-minute audio file on old laptop, it became clear that Weinstein had admitted not just to one crime but rather an entire pattern- as he said, “I’m used to it”.

Finally armed with iron clad evidence of Weinstein’s behavior, Farrow was able to complete his investigation and publish Catch And Kill Book Summary – detailing untold stories of those impacted by Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of power.

Emily Nestor’S Rejection Of Harvey Weinstein Sheds Light On Consistent Pattern Of Predatorily Behavior

When Ronan Farrow was trying to piece together evidence about Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior against women, fellow journalist Ben Wallace provided him with the missing piece he needed.

Wallace had spent three months investigating the rumors, and by the end of 2016 he had a solid story.

But soon after that, Weinstein’s associates began calling his employer and threatening them with damaging personal information in order to shut down the story.

This forced New York magazine to drop the article in January 2017.

Unsurprisingly, Wallace was more than willing to assist Farrow when he contacted him that spring.

In May, Wallace provided Farrow with an incredible tip – Emily Nestor’s story of being sexually harassed by Weinstein at a hotel room in 2014 at just 25 years old.

The testimony combined with the other evidence – including interviews with Rose McGowan and audio recordings of Ambra Gutierrez – was enough for Farrow to start thinking seriously about publication.

From the beginning, Ronan Farrow had a hunch that he was onto something big with his Harvey Weinstein story.

He had worked tirelessly to get it to the point where he felt confident enough to present it–with producer Rich McHugh, they had crafted a tight, fact-filled script of evidence that made the case against Weinstein clear.

But not everyone saw it as such.

Farrow’s boss at NBC, Noah Oppenheim was one of those skeptics.

Oppenheim heard the tape in mid-June 2017 but remained silent and seemed far from convinced that this was actual newsworthy material.

He queried whether people even knew who Harvey Weinstein was, let alone cared about allegations against him.

And if that wasn’t enough, both Susan Weiner, NBC’s legal counsel, and Richard Greenberg advised Farrow against pursuing the story any further for fear of legal action from Weinstein or similar excuses like “interference with nondisclosure agreemnents”.

When all was said and done however, Oppenheim was the one who put an official stop on Farrow’s investigation and paused all reporting on sources associated with him at NBC shortly after hearing Gutierrez’s tape in mid-June 2017.

Unfortunately for Farrow’s investigation, Rose McGowan backed out of her follow up interview as her suspicion all along had been that NBC wasn’t going to take her seriously and the “pause” in reporting only confirmed her suspicions, leaving Farrow unable to make much progress by the time his reporting eventually got unpaused a few weeks later.

The Tale Of How Harvey Weinstein Suppressed An Nbc Investigation That Might Have Ended His Career


Harvey Weinstein’s attempts to hide his behavior from the public got a boost from NBC executives in 2017.

Throughout the spring and summer of that year, Weinstein was in contact with senior executives at NBC, and even proposed that reports about him were exaggerated.

Soon after, word reached Weinstein that there had been progress on Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Weinstein’s sexual misconduct – the script had been marked reportable.

Weinstein asked Phil Griffin, head of news coverage at NBCUniversal why they weren’t putting an end to it.

Griffin responded positively according to TWC staff, reassuring him that everything had been resolved and Farrow’s story wouldn’t be running with NBC.

In spite of this conversation, Farrow still proposed pursuing the story further by seeking comments and going to edit, but Greenberg stopped him in his tracks as it was a decision out of his pay grade.

When Oppenheim got involved he drafted up a long list of objections as justification for stopping Farrow – though leaving open the possibility for publishing in a print outlet like New York Magazine if Farrow took it there himself.

It was clear that while Oppenheim wouldn’t say it outright he had made the decision to kill Farrow’s story after numerous calls between Weinstein and the network’s senior staff members throughout the months leading up to August 2017.

The Courage Of A Survivor: Ally Canosa Speaks Out Against Harvey Weinstein

When David Remnick, the Editor of The New Yorker, heard about journalist Ronan Farrow’s research into Harvey Weinstein, he was eager to revisit the 2002 New Yorker profile which had vaguely mentioned that Weinstein’s business partners felt ‘raped’ by him.

While Farrow had documented tape recordings of first-hand accounts, The New Yorker wanted another source before they agreed to publish his story.

After a conversation with Ally Canosa – an English producer who had been working with Weinstein for years and had experienced eleven assaults herself – Farrow knew he’d found that source.

He approached The New Yorker again with the evidence of Canosa’s account on camera.

Remnick listened intently and agreed that it was enough to publish.

However, The New Yorker wouldn’t agree until they could corroborate her story with another so Farrow scrambled and eventually convinced Canosa to speak out despite having signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Only then did Remnick agree for the article to be published in early September 2017.

Outfoxed By A Rising Star: How Ronan Farrow Became The Man Who Brought Down Harvey Weinstein

When Ronan Farrow was putting the finishing touches on his exposé of Harvey Weinstein, it looked like he was going to be beat to the punch by another expose by the New York Times.

But they hadn’t gone as in-depth as Farrow had planned and he still had credible assault allegations to add to what they had already published.

Desperate to keep Farrow’s story under wraps, Weinstein’s lawyers shot off a letter with dubious claims hoping to stop publication at the last minute.

They tried intimidating The New Yorker with threats of damages and accused Farrow of being manipulated by his sister’s own claims against their father, but their attempts were in vain.

Despite its legal threats, The New Yorker pressed on and contacted Weinstein for his side of the story.

Disparagingly, he made assertions that any sexual contact between him and women employees couldn’t be classified as rape (which is false) and suggested that women who did come forward could have their stories heard simply by calling someone like Ronan…clearly leaving out all the attempts he had made to prevent that from happening.

Predictably, Weinstein’s flimsy attempt failed completely; On October 10th 2017, The New Yorker released Farrow’s article which substantiated more than four separate victim’s claims against him.

This was a major turning point in the #MeToo movement, exposing one of its most powerful enablers.

It also drove home an important lesson – there were other predators out there just waiting for their chance at injustice too

Nbc’S Fear Of Own Scandals May Have Prompted Attempt To Kill Weinstein Story

Own Scandals

The internal culture of harassment and secrecy at NBC had been going on for years, long before the Weinstein story began.

Matt Lauer had been engaging in inappropriate behavior for years – gifts of sex toys, playing “fuck/marry/kill” during commercial breaks, and lots of hitting on female coworkers.

In addition to this, there were rumors of more serious misconduct.

When the Weinstein story hit the news, it sent shockwaves throughout NBC’s staff.

Employees started to ask questions about what exactly their bosses knew about the rumors circulating around Lauer.

When these questions were asked of Kim Harris – somebody responsible for an internal investigation into the matter – minimally satisfactory answers were given.

It was made clear that while no formal complaints existed, NBC probably knew about many of these tales already – as evidenced by their multiple payouts to women who signed nondisclosure agreements after 2011 (including a woman who claimed Lauer had sexually assaulted her in his office).

These allegations against NBC staff came under public scrutiny with Farrow’s coverage, and it is believed this gave Weinstein leverage over the network executives.

They lived in fear that information regarding such misconduct would be made public if they dared make any action against him.

Ultimately, this vulnerability was most likely what kept NBC from publishing Farrow’s story about Weinstein – ensuring that he remained protected until a bombshell New Yorker story forced him out into plain sight.

Wrap Up

The overall message that is presented in Catch and Kill, written by Ronan Farrow, is that there exists a culture of complicity which protects those who perpetrate sexual assault and misconduct.

In 2016, Harvey Weinstein was the subject of allegations of predatory behavior made by many of his victims.

Despite all this, NBC attempted to keep the story quiet and suppress it from being released to the public.

Through a lengthy investigative period, Farrow eventually published his findings in The New Yorker.

His digging revealed that this culture of protecting those in power had kept the case from coming to light for years.

Ultimately, readers are left with an understanding that silence can protect even the most powerful abusers – and it’s up to brave individuals to speak out and create justice where it is lacking.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.