Bob Woodward Moderated a #MeToo Discussion and My God Was It a Shitshow

Bob Woodward, Jodi Kantor, and Megan Twohey
Photo: kira_lerner/Twitter

Bob Woodward sure pissed off a lot of people at an event for Jodi Kantor’s and Megan Twohey’s new book She Said.

The book, published by the New York Times reporters who cracked open the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, details their investigations into the Miramax producer’s alleged abuse of dozens of women. However, Woodward, of Watergate fame and the moderator for an interview event at the Sixth & I synagogue in Washington, D.C., took his focus elsewhere.

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According to tweets shared from the event and a report from his own Washington Post, audiences booed at the journalism legend after he continuously interrupted the book authors Kantor and Twohey, failed to focus on the women in She Said, and instead fixated on Harvey Weinstein’s “motives” for allegedly sexually abusing women.

One tweet from reporter Kira Lerner said that Woodward kept cutting the authors off, and repeatedly asked why Weinstein committed his alleged abuse. In response, she wrote, audience members were yelling back at him and walking out.

Journalist Kara Swisher commented that the event was an “exercise in how not to interview,” and that Woodward didn’t focus on the women who said Weinstein abused them. The Post also reported that Woodward asked the authors if they believed Christine Blasey Ford, whom they interviewed for the book, and if they would have reported on her allegations had they been against a local judge rather than Supreme Court nominee.

A rundown by the Post of the most cringeworthy segment of the interview showed both complete obliviousness on Woodward’s part, towards both the power dynamics of sex and the severity of the sexual abuse that Weinstein is accused of. From the publication, emphasis mine:

“If you spent all the time on him, you have to ask the question, which you really don’t address in the book, and that is: Why did he behave this way?” Woodward asked...

“That’s a good question — I think we could spend days or weeks or even months trying to get to the bottom of his psychology,” Twohey said...

“You’re artfully dodging the question,” Woodward said, and the audience started rumbling.

“I’ll tell you what we know. It’s that this story is an X-ray into power, and how power works,” Kantor said, as the crowd erupted into loud applause.

“It’s also about sex, isn’t it?” Woodward asked.

“No!” several attendees yelled at the same time.

“It’s not about sex in the romantic sense,” Kantor said, adding that “part of the way it’s about power is that it’s about work.” She noted that some of their sources were harassed as soon as their first day on the job.

Despite the increasingly loud muttering of a frustrated audience, Woodward continued his line of questioning, asking about Weinstein’s possible reasons behind his “perverted sexual crime.” “So, why? I’m sorry, I know this puts you on the spot. What is driving him?”

“Stop!” someone else yelled.

“Let’s get to the Q&A!” hollered another attendee.

But Woodward kept going, and the audience kept calling for him to stop. At one point, Woodward asked “What’s Rosebud for Harvey?” — a reference to the central mystery in the movie “Citizen Kane” — and wondered if his behavior was “some kind of weird foreplay.”

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Kantor and Twohey told the Post that they had invited Woodward to moderate their Washington, D.C., event, and had other people moderating their other book events as well. Woodward, meanwhile, told the Post that he was glad “people got to express themselves” but that Kantor and Twohey told him, “Thank you for the fabulous questions.”

“So there may be a difference of opinion,” Woodward concluded. Whatever helps you sleep at night, my dude.

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About the author

Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan