Journalist Sharon Waxman is accusing the New York Times of killing a story that documented Harvey Weinstein's mistreatment of women more than a decade ago.
Set off by a New York Times article that attacked Weinstein's "media enablers" in the wake the paper's revelations about his history of miconduct, Waxman, founder and CEO of TheWrap, described her frustrating experience reporting on his behavior for the New York Times 13 years ago. In a Sunday article, Waxman said "she got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein" back in 2004, an assignment that took her to both London and Rome where she apparently uncovered legitimate evidence pointing to the producer's pattern of abuse.
But the story never ran. From Waxman's account:
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.
John Landsman, a former editor at the New York Times whom Waxman implicated in the killing of her story, responded in a statement issued Monday that said, "Why, if she had the goods on Weinstein in 2004, has she been unable or unwilling to publish something in the Wrap, where she was in charge? Could it be because she didn't actually have the goods then, now or in between?"
Waxman responded to similar inquiries in an update to her Sunday article, arguing she "thought the issue was in the past."
After the New York Times published its bombshell report last week, some described Weinstein's reputation as one of Hollywood's biggest open secrets. So why did it take decades for the story to come out? If it's true, Waxman's account, one that implicates a major newspaper and two major celebrities, could provide some insight into that process. And it certainly sounds credible.
Given that Weinstein essentially admitted to at least some of the allegations in his apology last week, he obviously found a way to keep that conduct out of the media over the years. Who helped?
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.