New York Times fires lawyer who worked with Weinstein

This file photo taken on March 2, 2014 shows US film producer Harvey Weinstein arriving on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2017
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New York Times fires lawyer who worked with Weinstein

NEW YORK: The New York Times on Tuesday fired lawyer David Boies’ firm after learning it tried to halt the newspaper’s investigation into sexual harassment charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein while also representing the newspaper on other matters.
Boies has disputed the Times’ view that his work for Weinstein represented a conflict of interest. Still, he no longer works for Weinstein and said the task he completed for him was a mistake.
It represents the fallout from a New Yorker magazine article that reported Weinstein hired investigators to trail women who had accused him of mistreatment, including Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette. Journalists pursuing the story, including Jodi Kantor of the Times and Ronan Farrow, author of Tuesday’s New Yorker piece, also were investigated.
It was not immediately clear how much business the Times did with the law firm Boies Schiller and Flexner.
Boies, best known for representing Al Gore in the 2000 disputed election against George W. Bush, is the second prominent attorney to take heat for representing the man accused of being one of Hollywood’s biggest sexual predators. Lisa Bloom, a prominent women’s rights lawyer, quit representing Weinstein when the extent of the accusations against him became known.
The article said Boies’ firm hired and paid one organization with a background in Israeli intelligence agencies at the same time it was representing the Times in a libel case.
In a statement to his firm’s employees on Tuesday, Boies noted that his contract with the newspaper made clear that his firm might do work for clients in unrelated areas that were against the Times’ interests.
Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said the newspaper never contemplated the firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and reporters.
“Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm,” she said. “Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.”
Boies said Weinstein had told him that the Times was considering publishing a story alleging that the mogul had raped an actress. Boies said he would not defend him against these charges, and told him the only way the story could be stopped was to prove it was untrue.
Weinstein selected private investigators to try and do that, Boies said, and asked him to draft a contract with one such group. Boies said he now believes it was a mistake to do this for an investigative firm he did not know.
The New Yorker said some of the investigators misrepresented themselves in contact with their subjects, compiled personal and sexual histories on some, and left some of the targets feeling intimidated. Boies said he never would have drawn up the contract had he known what it would be used for.
“I would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein did not immediately return a message seeking comment. He has characterized his contact with actresses as consensual.


Facebook cracks down on bogus posts inciting violence

Updated 25 min 58 sec ago
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Facebook cracks down on bogus posts inciting violence

  • Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading context, such as doctored photos
  • Hate speech and threats deemed credible are violations of Facebook rules, and are removed

MENLO PARK, United States: Facebook on Wednesday built on its campaign to prevent the platform from being used to spread dangerous misinformation, saying it will remove bogus posts likely to spark violence.
The new tactic being spread through the global social network was tested in Sri Lanka, which was recently rocked by inter-religious over false information posted on the world’s leading online social network.
“There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down,” a Facebook spokesman said after a briefing on the policy at the company’s campus in Silicon Valley.
“We will be begin implementing the policy during the coming months.”
For example, Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading context, such as doctored photos, created or shared to stir up to ignite volatile situations in the real world.
The social network said it is partnering with local organizations and authorities adept at identifying when posts are false and likely to prompt violence.
Misinformation removed in Sri Lanka under the new policy included content falsely contending that Muslims were poisoning food given or sold to Buddhists, according to Facebook.
Hate speech and threats deemed credible are violations of Facebook rules, and are removed.
The new policy takes another step back, eliminating content that may not be explicitly violent but which seems likely to encourage such behavior.
Facebook has been lambasted for allowing rumors or blatantly false information to circulate that may have contributed to violence.
Many see Facebook as being used as a vehicle for spreading false information in recent years.
Facebook has implemented a series of changes aimed at fighting use of the social network to spread misinformation, from fabrications that incite violence to untruths that sway elections.