Former Times’ reporter says paper squelched 2004 exposé about Harvey Weinstein

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The New York Times broke the explosive story of sexual harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein last week, which resulted in the liberal movie mogul being fired from his own company.

Now, Fox News is reporting that a former Times’ reporter says the paper could have exposed Weinstein back in 2004, but the story she wrote was watered down by editors after Weinstein paid them a visit and they received calls from two famous Hollywood actors.

TheWrap CEO and Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman published an article on Sunday night detailing a 2004 incident in which she was given “the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein,” when she was a “fairly new reporter at The New York Times” but the piece she wrote was hacked up by editors.

In her efforts to investigate accounts of Weinstein behaving badly overseas, Waxman traveled to Rome and tracked down Fabrizio Lombardo, who ran Miramax Italy. Citing “multiple accounts,” Lombardo “had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs,” she wrote.

Waxman said that she also “tracked down a woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein” but was called directly by Weinstein associates such as Matt Damon and Russell Crowe to vouch for Lombardo. In addition, Waxman stated that Weinstein even visited the Times’ newsroom personally to discuss the story she was working on with the paper’s higher-ups. Right after that, the story looked much different.

“The story was stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion and buried on the inside of the Culture section, an obscure story about Miramax firing an Italian executive,” Waxman wrote. “Who cared?”

Current Bloomberg editor Jon Landman was the paper’s culture editor at the time and told Waxman that the story wasn’t interesting, according to her report.

Waxman went on to point out how the Times had enabled Weinstein before it eventually exposed his sexual misconduct. “So, pardon me for having a deeply ambivalent response about the current heroism of the Times,” she wrote, noting that she “simply gagged” when she read a follow-up Times piece about media enablers who “kept this story from the public” for decades.

The Times now claims that Waxman’s 2004 article may not have met the paper’s standards for publication.

“The Times newsroom has a long history of exposing corruption and abuse by powerful people and institutions. Our newsroom was the first to publish a meticulously reported investigation of Mr. Weinstein revealing numerous settlements for sexual harassment,” a Times’ spokesperson told Fox News. “Our former colleague Sharon Waxman wrote about a story that was published in the Times in 2004. No one currently at the Times has knowledge of editorial decisions made on that story. But in general, the only reason a story or specific information would be held is if it did not meet our standards for publication.”

Waxman added an update to her report to address questions posed about why she didn’t report the story at TheWrap, writing, “Five years later, 2009, the moment had passed to go back and write the missing piece about Lombardo, who was no longer on the scene and whose story had been half-published in the Times.

“Miramax was no longer part of the Walt Disney Company. And I did not have sufficient evidence to write about a pay-off, even though I knew one existed. My focus was on raising money, building a website and starting a media company. In the subsequent years since then, I did not hear about further pay-offs or harassment and thought the issue was in the past. Weinstein had made a big effort, supposedly, to curb his temper and behavior, which was reflected in other areas of his public life.”

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