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October 09, 2017

Reporter: New York Times "Gutted" 2004 Article That Exposed Harvey Weinstein's Use of Prostitutes and a Payoff to a Woman Alleging Abuse

Gatekeepers and throne-sniffers.

[I] simply gagged when I read Jim Rutenberg's sanctimonious piece [in the New York Times] on Saturday about the "media enablers" who kept this story from the public for decades.

"Until now," he puffed, "no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish."

Thats right, Jim. No one -- including The New York Times.

In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein....

I traveled to Rome and tracked down the man who held the plum position of running Miramax Italy. According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein's women needs, among other things.

As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment. He was on the payroll of Miramax and thus the Walt Disney Company, which had bought the indie studio in 1993.

I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts.

At the time, he denied that he was on the payroll to help Weinstein with favors....

I also tracked down a woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein. She was terrified to speak because of her non-disclosure agreement, but at least we had evidence of a pay-off.

The story I reported never ran.

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.

But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?

Wrong. 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. Who cared?

Meanwhile, the late-night clowns who I'm told are the New Conscience of the Nation aren't even mentioning their Democrat ally and patron Weinstein, and the very brave show Saturday Night Live cut its single joke about Weinstein just before staging the show for the public.

Half-Day Off: Because of my strong affinity for the Italian people (as well as the Spanish monarchy), i'm taking the day partly off. I'll just be posting links and the occasional open thread.


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posted by Ace at 01:07 PM

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