Amidst all the sexual harassment claims currently circling around (former) film producer Harvey Weinstein comes the news that the story of his predatory behavior could have broken more than a decade ago, were it not for two meddling movie stars. According to Sharon Waxman, the founder of The Wrap, a story she wrote in 2004 for The New York Times exposing Weinstein's exploits was "gutted" when actors Matt Damon and Russell Crowe stepped in and refuted the claims made in the story.
At the time, Waxman was working on a story about Weinstein's many sexual misconduct allegations. It was thought that a lot of his predatory behavior was happening in Europe during film festivals and the like, so Waxman went to Rome and met the head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo. However, multiple people claimed that Lombardo had zero film experience—what he was really hired for was to "take care of Weinstein's women needs." There were even accounts of Lombardo hiring Russian escorts.
Waxman also located a woman in London who'd been paid for her silence after an "unwanted sexual encounter" with Weinstein. While the woman couldn't speak about the incident due to her non-disclosure agreement, Waxman had proof of the pay-off, which was the next best thing.
However, Weinstein put a ton of pressure on the Times not to run the story. He even had movie stars Matt Damon and Russell Crowe contact Waxman directly to vouch for Lombardo. Nice. Wonderful.
Once all the parts about the sexual harassment allegations were removed from the exposé , it wasn't much of an exposé at all. It ran in the Culture pages of the paper, but the then-Culture editor didn't really think the story mattered, saying "He's not a publicly elected official." Cue sound of women's teeth gnashing everywhere.
Well, it's sad that it took another THIRTEEN YEARS for the full story to come out, but now that it's out, it's not going away anytime soon.