A whole lot of fur has been flying since last Thursday, when The New York Times published a game-changing investigative story about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct that in lightning speed brought the mogul to his knees.
He apologized and took an immediate leave of absence from the company he co-founded, but that wasn’t enough. His board members and legal advisers have been resigning en masse. And as new, ugly details emerge of three decades of settlements for sex-related offenses, he’s quickly becoming a national pariah.
I applaud The New York Times and writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for getting the story in print. I’m sure it was a long and difficult road.
But I simply gagged when I read Jim Rutenberg’s sanctimonious piece 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.”
That’s 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. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.
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. From the story: “Reached in Italy, Mr. Lombardo declined to comment on the circumstances of his leaving Miramax or Ricucci, saying they were legal matters being handled by lawyers. ‘I am very proud of what we achieved at Miramax here in Italy,’ he said of his work for the film company. ‘It cannot be that they hired me because I’m a friend.'”
I also tracked down a woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual…