Veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward on Wednesday night came under heavy criticism at a Washington, D.C., event promoting a pair of New York Times reporters’ best-selling book, “She Said,” with many voicing frustration over how he handled an interview with the journalists.
The disapproval from many appeared to be aimed at Woodward’s line of questioning. Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s book, which was released last month, focuses on an in-depth investigation of sexual harassment and assault allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The reporting sheds light on how the Weinstein story impacted what is now known as the “Me Too” movement.
But several journalists called out Woodward on Twitter for focusing too much on Weinstein instead of the victims and repeatedly interrupting the authors as they discussed their book.
“Woodward is blowing this interview,” Recode editor-in-chief and New York Times contributing writer Kara Swisher wrote on Twitter during the event, which occurred at the Washington event space Sixth & I.
“Interruptive, not focused on the women who were victimized by Harvey Weinstein and weirdly obsessed with that creep, it’s a exercise in how not to interview. The crowd no like,” she wrote.
Ouch @realBobWoodward is blowing this interview with @mega2e and @jodikantor on their book “She Said.” Interruptive, not focused on the women who were victimized by Harvey Weinstein and weirdly obsessed with that creep, it’s a exercise in how not to interview. The crowd no like. pic.twitter.com/sEvEZPOlmG
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) October 2, 2019
“Listening to [Kantor] and [Twohey] discuss their remarkable reporting, and Bob Woodward keeps cutting them off,” Kira Lerner, a reporter for The Appeal, said. “He’s also repeatedly asking them why Weinstein did this, and the audience is protesting/yelling back/walking out.”
Listening to @jodikantor and @mega2e discuss their remarkable reporting, and Bob Woodward keeps cutting them off. He’s also repeatedly asking them why Weinstein did this, and audience is protesting/yelling back/walking out pic.twitter.com/6D3zibgBHo
— Kira Lerner (@kira_lerner) October 2, 2019
The audience’s frustrations only increased as the interview carried on, according to The Washington Post. At one point, an attendee yelled, “You’re interrupting her,” which drew applause, the newspaper reported.
Several audience members reportedly yelled, “Stop!” as Woodward pushed the reporters on what may have motivated Weinstein’s alleged abuse. The cry from the audience came as he accused Twohey of “artfully dodging” his question about “why” Weinstein behaved in such an abusive manner.
Another contentious moment came as Woodward disputed Kantor’s take on the main theme of the book.
“I’ll tell you what we know. It’s that this story is an X-ray into power, and how power works,” Kantor said at one point, the Post reported.
Woodward reportedly continued with this line of questioning throughout the interview. After again asking about Weinstein’s intentions, a crowd member repeated, “stop!” and another called for the audience’s question and answer session to begin.
Woodward said in an email to The Washington Post that he was glad “people got to express themselves” during the event.
“Jodi and Megan signed a copy of their book for me after the session, which I enjoyed very much, and said ‘thank you for the fabulous questions.’ So there may be a difference of opinion,” he said, adding that he “couldn’t praise the book more.”
In a statement, Kantor and Twohey said that they were grateful for the moderators that have conducted interviews with them amid their book tour.
“We welcome all questions, from them and especially from the audience, because each one is an opportunity to relate the wrenching decisions that many of our sources had to make and grapple with MeToo as an example and test of social change in our time,” the two said in a statement.
In October 2017, Kantor and Twohey authored an explosive report in The New York Times detailing Weinstein’s alleged abuse over decades. The story was the first in a wave of significant reports that have since exposed sexual harassment and assault in industries such as entertainment and politics.