Attorney Lisa Bloom was not only advising Harvey Weinstein, she was also defending Amazon studio head Roy Price, who announced a leave of absence Thursday after a separate allegation of making inappropriate sexual comments to a female producer. Today, reporter Kim Masters, who broke the story about Price in August, published a piece outlining the behind-the-scenes efforts by Lisa Bloom to prevent her piece from ever being published. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
In her zeal to protect her client—who has yet to address any of the allegations in my piece publicly—Bloom claimed that I had turned on Price after he rebuffed my demand to have Amazon underwrite The Business, the public-radio show that I host on KCRW. I can’t guess who concocted that allegation, but I assume the idea was to establish a potential argument that I had behaved unethically and had a personal grudge against him and therefore didn’t care what the facts were. (Since Price is a public figure, his only hope of prevailing in court would be to argue that I published information I knew to be false or acted in reckless disregard of whether it was false.)
When I first read the claim in an email from Bloom, I was angry, but I also laughed because it was ridiculous. I’ve never discussed underwriting with anyone, even internally at KCRW. I don’t know the first thing about it. I’m told Bloom insisted she had proof, though of course none was produced. My editor at THR told her that the story was false, but she repeated it to other publications nonetheless.
Thursday the story of price took a dramatic turn. The producer to whom Price made his comments went public in a story at the Hollywood Reporter (written by Masters). In addition, Rose McGowan directed a string of tweets to Jeff Bezos stating she had told Price repeatedly last year that she was raped by Harvey Weinstein and that he discounted it. A short time later, it was announced that Price was taking a leave of absence. And after that, Deadline reported that Lisa Bloom was no longer representing him:
At the same time, Deadline has learned that attorney Lisa Bloom has left Price’s side. “My representation of Roy Price has concluded,” the former advisor to Harvey Weinstein told Deadline today. “It concluded before the producer went public,” she added.
So Bloom claims she left earlier it just wasn’t mentioned to anyone until after Price was on leave. However that worked out, Bloom’s defense was certainly effective. Masters went through legal vetting of the story with six different publications before she finally found an outlet for it:
I tried BuzzFeed, which questioned me extensively before passing without offering an explanation…
I thought my luck was changing when The Daily Beast offered to buy the piece and indemnify me. It was edited and vetted and I was happy with the relatively complete version of the story that was readied for publication. I was told to give Price one last chance to comment and to advise him and Amazon that the story would post that night. Harder and Bloom quickly weighed in—still putting nothing on the record—and at the end of the day, I was told that we would give them more time to respond. The next morning, the editor said that at least one source had to go on the record. With that, the Beast and I were at an impasse and I withdrew the piece.
Masters admits part of this was because, until yesterday, the producer at the center of the story refused to go on the record. However, she did have multiple people who had agreed to talk to any editor behind the scenes to confirm the story. So it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that fear of a lawsuit was a major factor in hesitation to publish.
Lisa Bloom’s reputation took a hit when she decided to advise and defend Harvey Weinstein in the court of public opinion. But her decision to use, according to Masters, dubious claims to bury a story about another studio head suggests that wasn’t a one-time mistake on her part.