10/14/2017 / By Ethan Huff
A former reporter for The New York Times (NYT) has blown the lid on what she claims is the media conglomerate’s duplicitous handling of the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal. While the NYT is now claiming credit for most recently bringing to light Weinstein’s illicit sexual escapades, which date back several decades, it was this same NYT that back in 2004 tried to cover for Weinstein’s crimes, as he just so happened to be one of the news outlet’s top advertisers.
Sharon Waxman, who now runs The Wrap, says she was prevented from ever writing what she had uncovered about Weinstein nearly 15 years ago because the Times didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Weinstein once held a lot of sway there, and the paper simply didn’t want to lose one of its major financial lifelines. So Waxman kept the story to herself – that is, until the NYT suddenly did an about-face and broke the news as if it had just uncovered a buried treasure.
The only reason that “treasure” was buried, Waxman claims, is because the NYT buried in the first place. And for NYT writer Jim Rutenberg to now claim that “no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish,” claiming that they have instead functioned as “media enablers,” Waxman only has this to say: “That’s right, Jim. No one – including The New York Times.”
According to Waxman, she was still fairly new at the Times when she was first given the green light to take a closer look into allegations from even way back then pegging Weinstein as a sexual predator throughout Hollywood. Seeing as how she had been informed that much of Weinstein’s illicit behavior was believed to be taking place overseas, Waxman traveled far and wide to see for herself if there was any truth to such claims.
In numerous instances, Waxman had discovered what appeared to be foul play in the way certain individuals were hired and paid to work at Weinstein’s companies. A Fabrizio Lombardo, for instance, who had worked at Weinstein’s Miramax company for less than one year, had received $400,000 in compensation even though he reportedly knew nothing about film. Another individual, a woman from London, had also received an unusual sum of money – but in this case, it was for another purpose.
This woman, according to Waxman, had been paid off by Weinstein after she endured an “unwanted sexual encounter” with Weinstein, though she was afraid to speak of it due to a non-disclosure agreement. All of this and more was compiled into an in-depth investigatory piece that, after Waxman presented it to the Times, was rejected for publishing.
Waxman says the Times was pressured not only by Weinstein not to publish the story, but also by Hollywood A-listers like Matt Damon and Russell Crowe. It was as if a Hollywood mafia had come marching through the doors of the Times demanding that the truth be censored. And that was that.
“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 writes. “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.”
As to why she never came forward with the news after that through some other medium, Waxman says a lot had changed and that Miramax had separated from the Walt Disney Company by that time. She claims she didn’t have enough evidence to write about what she believed to be a payoff from Weinstein to Lombardo.
See more coverage of failures in mainstream media journalism at Journalism.news.