Following The New York Times‘ explosive expos├â┬⌐ on Harvey Weinstein and claims of his decades of sexual harassment, many are left wondering how this was allowed to go on for so long. Well, it appears as though the boys’ club in Hollywood enabled the indie movie mogul’s behavior.
What do we mean exactly?? Apparently, this isn’t the first time a piece about Weinstein’s gross conduct has been written, as a similar story was drafted back in 2004. The reason it never saw the light of day is because Damon and Crowe allegedly helped Weinstein gut the investigation into a practically nothing piece.
Sharon Waxman, founder of The Wrap, made these bold claims in a new story on Sunday. The longtime journalist revealed:
“In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.
I traveled to Rome and tracked down the man who held the plum position of running Miramax Italy. According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs, among other things.”
Ew. We’re sure that job must’ve been a literal nightmare.
“As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment… I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts.”
At the time, Lombardo denied the allegations about his job responsibilities AND “declined to comment on the circumstances of his leaving Miramax.” Nonetheless, Waxman tracked down a London-based woman who had been paid off following an “unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein.” While the unnamed woman was too scared to comment on the harassment because of the non-disclosure agreement she signed, evidence of a pay off was supplied.
Despite all of this evidence, Sharon’s initial report of the situation never ran — and here’s where Damon and Crowe come in. Waxman relayed:
“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. 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.”
Still, the Times had a journalistic responsibility to publish the story, right? Wrong. The businesswoman added:
“The story was stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion and buried on the inside of the Culture section, an obscure story about Miramax firing an Italian executive. Who cared? The Times’ then-culture editor Jon Landman, now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg, thought the story was unimportant, asking me why it mattered.”
How awful. And shame on anyone who would help enable Harvey’s predatory ways.
We’re just glad that people are speaking out now.
[Image via WENN.]