A former New York Times reporter who investigated allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein as far back as 2004 has revealed that actors including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe lobbied the Times to kill the story.
In a column for The Wrap, the entertainment industry trade outlet she founded, former reporter Sharon Waxman claimed that while investigating the then-recently appointed head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo, sources claimed he was installed in the position solely to arrange escorts for Weinstein, and had no prior filmmaking experience.
To shield Weinstein from a potentially damaging story, both Damon and Crowe then allegedly called Waxman to “vouch” for Lombardo’s credentials.
“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,” Laxman wrote. “I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known.”
Waxman also spoke to a British woman who claimed she had been paid off by Weinstein after an “unwanted sexual encounter” but was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.
However, the story was eventually killed by The New York Times, after Waxman said the Times’ then-culture editor Jon Landman found it unimportant.
“‘He’s not a publicly elected official,’ he told me. I explained, to no avail, that a public company would certainly have a problem with a procurer on the payroll for hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the time, Disney told me they had no idea Lombardo existed,” Waxman wrote.
Waxman added that she was “devastated” that her story was finally published over a decade after she corroborated the evidence.
“I was devastated after traveling to two countries and overcoming immense challenges to confirm at least part of the story that wound up running last week, more than a decade later,” she continued. “Today I wonder: If this story had come to light at the time, would Weinstein have continued his behavior for another decade.”
On Monday, Weinstein was fired from his role at the Weinstein Company over the sexual harassment allegations. He has also threatened to sue the New York Times for “reckless reporting,” although has admitted to a “whole way of behavior that is not good.”
“I can’t talk specifics, but I put myself in positions that were stupid, I want to respect women and do things better,” Weinstein said last week.