Last Thursday, The New York Times released a report exposing the sexual dalliances of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. The article, written by Jodi Kanton and Megan Twohey, alleges that Harvey Weinstein has more than a 30-year history of sexual misconduct, and has been paying off sexual harassment accusers for decades.
While the report was scathing, it left a nagging question. Why now? Kathy DeClesis, a former assistant to Weinstein’s brother Bob Weinstein, told The Times that Harvey Weinstein’s sexual proclivity “wasn’t a secret to the inner circle.” Others mentioned that Weinstein’s conduct was well known among the women who worked for him. Now, Sharon Waxman, a former reporter for The New York Times, says that she approached the paper in 2004 with evidence of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, but the story was scrapped amid pressure from Weinstein himself, as evidenced on Twitter.
Michael Calderone, a senior media reporter for Politico, tweeted a statement from Sharon Waxman where the reporter alleges that the “NYT withheld her reporting on Weinstein’s sexual misconduct back in 2004 amid pressure.”
“After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at The Times, the story was gutted.” Waxman explains. “I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in The Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.”
“But I had the facts, and this was The Times. Right?” Waxman questioned at the time.
Harvey and Bob Weinstein founded The Weinstein Company in 2004 after leaving Miramax Films, which they also founded. Harvey was fired from The Weinstein Company in the wake of the allegations, and many board members have since resigned.
In an article for The Wrap, Waxman explains how the mainstream media, including the supposedly upstanding New York Times, enabled Weinstein’s sexual misconduct by failing to report on the open secret.
Waxman says her reporting on Weinstein took her to Italy. She believed that many of Weinstein’s untoward sexual advances occurred at international film festivals.
At the time, Miramax Italy was being run by Fabrizio Lombardo. Waxman explains that he had no knowledge of the film industry, but was paid $400,000 for less than a year’s work of arranging escorts and women for Weinstein. Waxman’s story was going to focus on the scandalous nature of a Disney-owned company having what amounts to a pimp on the company payroll.
Lots of people knew. Nobody did anything. Did media enable Weinstein sexual misconduct?
However, the story was killed by the New York Times in 2004. Any mention of Weinstein was stripped from the article, and it was relegated to the Culture Section, during a time when exposure relied on where an article was located in a newspaper.
More than a decade later, Waxman says she is disgusted by the pomp currently being displayed by The Times. Jim Rutenberg, a “mediator” for The Times, celebrated his paper’s reporting, writing, “Until now, no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish.”
Yet, according to Waxman, even The Times waffled for 13 years, and enabled the powerful Hollywood mogul to, allegedly, continue his crimes.