Friday 21 September 2018

Journalist alleges two male A-list Hollywood stars helped to kill her story on Harvey Weinstein's misconduct in 2004

Harvey Weinstein with his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
Harvey Weinstein with his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A journalist has claimed that two A-list Hollywood stars helped to kill a story she was working on about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct in 2004.

Sharon Waxman says she was investigating the story for The New York Times at the time and, as part of that investigation, she was shadowing Fabrizio Lombardo, the Italian head of Miramax.

He was, she says in an article on The Wrap, simply employed to "take care of Weinstein's women needs" and she also says she spoke to a "woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein".

However, the story never ran, and she blames "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".

Waxman also notes that Weinstein was a "major advertiser".

However, The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet has issued a statement in response to Waxman's claims.

“I wasn’t here in 2004. But it is unimaginable to me that The Times killed a story because of pressure from Harvey Weinstein, who was and is an advertiser," he writes.

"After all, The Times is an institution that has published investigative reporting that caused our Chinese-language website to be blocked in China.

"The top two editors at the time, Bill Keller and Jill Abramson, say they have no recollection of being pressured over Ms. Waxman’s story. And her direct editor, Jonathan Landman, suggested she didn’t have it nailed. The story we published last week took months of work by two experienced investigative reporters. It included the on-the-record accounts of numerous women who were harassed by Mr. Weinstein. It also included the fact that Mr. Weinstein paid settlements to keep women from talking.

“I’m sure Ms. Waxman believes she had a story. But if you read her own description, she did not have anything near what was revealed in our story. Mainly, she had an off-the-record account from one woman.”

Several A-list stars including Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Jennifer Lawrence have come out in recent days to condemn Weinstein over the allegations and for his response to the allegations.

Weinstein has been fired from his own company but before that move was taken he reportedly emailed high-ranking Hollywood executives asking them to support him and oppose his removal from the board of directors.

The email was published on Twitter by MSNBC's Janice Min who said it was sent to her by a "disgusted" male recipient.

"If you could write this letter backing me getting the help and time away I need and also stating your opposition to the board firing me, It would help me a lot," he wrote.  "I am desperate for your help. Just give me the time to get therapy. Do not let me get fired. If the industry supports me, that is all I need. With all due respect, I need the letter today."

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