A secret "hitlist" containing the names of 91 actors, financiers and Hollywood figures identified by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein – seemingly drawn up as part of a strategy to prevent sexual misconduct disclosures from coming to light – has leaked.

Obtained by The Observer and revealed Sunday (19 November), the list included a slew of prominent accusers including actors Rose McGowan, Laura Madden and Zelda Perkins. In total, the newspaper said it contained 43 men and 48 women of interest to Weinstein.

Weinstein, a notorious figure in the industry, has been accused of rape, harassment and misconduct by more than 50 women. He is now the subject of police investigations.

His legal representatives have denied wrongdoing.

But the so-called hitlist showed that Weinstein apparently knew about the New York Times probe into the allegations long before they became public knowledge.

It appears to be an attempt to uncover what victims knew and when information would appear.

The list – created in early 2017 – was reportedly handed to a specialist team hired by the producer to "suppress claims that he had sexually harassed" women, The Guardian reported.

More than 50 names were highlighted in red to show who the investigators should prioritise. They included McGowan, Madden and an English actor called Sophie Dix – who each went on to make highly detailed and lurid allegations against Weinstein.

A typed note on the document described Madden as "very bitter". The hitlist includes the name of filmmaker Brett Ratner, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein's downfall after The New York Times and the New Yorker published the claims against him caused deep shockwaves across Hollywood, as victims – bolstered by the #MeToo movement – are becoming more empowered than ever to speak out.

Allegations have subsequently been made by prominent actors, including Terry Crews, and Rebel Wilson, most recently. Multiple powerful figures in the industry – including Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Dustin Hoffman and Brett Ratner have all since been embroiled in scandal.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein denies a majority of the claims against him Getty