Could a sexual “monster,” as actress Rose McGowan described Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, have been stopped a decade ago?
Former New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman can only wonder.
Waxman, the founder of The Wrap, said in an op-ed over the weekend that The New York Times “gutted” a story she did in 2004 about Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse.
…after actors Matt Damon and Russell Crowe intervened.
— New York Times Events (@nytimesevents) October 10, 2016
She applauded The Times “game-changing” article last week on Weinstein settling sexual harassment claims from at least eight women, but said she “simply gagged” after reading a “sanctimonious piece” from Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg “about the ‘media enablers’ who kept this story from the public for decades.”
Because Waxman claims The Times “was one of those enablers.”
“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,” wrote Waxman. “It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.”
Fabrizio Lombardo, an Italian man being paid $400,000 to run Mirimax, was a part of Waxman’s investigative efforts.
“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,” she explained.
Waxman also located a woman in London “who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein.”
But the story she turned in never saw the light of day. Instead, according to Waxman, The Times buried the article, “stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion,” inside the Cultural section.
“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 wrote.
“I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known,” she said. “I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.”
Waxman explained that “then-culture editor Jon Landman, now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg, thought the story was unimportant,” in part because Weinstein was not a publicly elected official.
“Today I wonder: If this story had come to light at the time, would Weinstein have continued his behavior for another decade,” she concluded.
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