TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman has found witnesses to back up her claim that the left-wing New York Times killed a 2004 story that exposed producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual predations.
Just hours after the Weinstein scandal went nuclear earlier this month, Waxman revealed that way back in 2004, while working as a reporter for the Times, she nailed down a story about how Fabrizio Lombardo, the head of Miramax in London, had zero film experience and that his real job was to procure women for Weinstein.
According to Waxman, she had on the record sources ready to confirm “evenings [Fabrizio] organized with Russian escorts.” Moreover, Waxman says she “tracked down a woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein.”
Waxman claims that after intense pressure from Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, and a personal visit from Weinstein, “The story was stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion and buried on the inside of the Culture section[.]”
As one might expect, the New York Times immediately struck back against Waxman’s claims. Executive editor Dean Baquet, who was not with the Times in 2004, said that then-executive editor “Bill Keller and Jill Abramson … have no recollection of being pressured over Ms. Waxman’s story.”
Baquet also claims Waxman did not have the story nailed down. But it is the claim of no one being pressured that appears to be untrue, and Waxman says she has three witnesses to prove it, two of them on the record.
Michael Cieply, who was Waxman’s editor in 2004, says he remembers Weinstein, his high-powered attorney David Boies and spokesman Matthew Hiltzik “coming to a meeting with Keller in the building early in the process.” He adds that he is not “aware of any steps … to kill the story. But I do remember defending your right to report the story in several heated exchanges with Harvey afterward.”
Freelance writer Ross Johnson also confirmed the meeting and says it was “the talk of the newsroom.”
Waxman’s third source, who did not go on the record, claims that Abramson was also at the meeting. Abramson told Waxman that this is “untrue.” Waxman says Keller refused to answer the question directly.
These witnesses, of course, directly contradict Baquet’s claim that no one was “pressured.” A personal visit from Weinstein and Boies is as “pressured” as it gets, especially if, as Cieply claims, “several heated exchanges” occurred.
For her part, though, Waxman is every bit as compromised as she accuses the New York Times of being. She says she had the story nailed in 2004, but when she launched TheWrap in 2009, she was her own publisher and chose not to report it. Furthermore, her explanation for not doing so is contradicted by her own site’s reporting.
In part, Waxman claims, “Weinstein had made a big effort, supposedly, to curb his temper and behavior, which was reflected in other areas of his public life.”
That explanation simply cannot be reconciled with TheWrap’s own reporting in 2015 about Weinstein allegedly groping an Italian model.
What it sounds like to me is that because he was a big fundraiser for Democrats, a mover and shaker in the culture, a major source of advertising revenue, and someone who could and did offer countless journalists access and deals, the New York Times protected him, just like the media protected Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
My guess is that the Times finally decided to finally blow the whistle on Weinstein for two reasons: 1) He is an aging has-been, no longer the influential powerhouse he was in 2004. 2) The Times got wind of Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker bombshell and decided why not.
It is also reasonable to believe that Waxman chose to cover up for Harvey because, as a publisher in her own right in 2009, most especially of an entertainment site, she suddenly found she needed him even more than the Times. She needed the access Weinstein provided and most especially the Oscar campaign advertising revenue, which is the entertainment media’s Christmas season.
Add what we now know about NBC News to the mix and a disturbing picture begins to form that shows Weinstein was enabled for decades at every level, including the highest reaches of the national media.
This is no surprise. As we have seen, time and again, if you are a pro-abortion Democrat, our media will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure you remain in power.