Sharon Waxman Was Aware of Harvey Weinstein’s Reputation, But Still Considered Him ‘A Friend’

The abhorrent story surrounding the once powerful and now thoroughly disgraced movie studio executive Harvey Weinstein has served as a damning indictment of not just his political allies, but also the entertainment journalism industry charged with covering him.

Harvey Weinstein is a pig. This conclusion is unavoidable given the allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault — and especially in light of audio recently posted by The New Yorker. The published audio reveals Weinstein trying to convince a young woman to join him in his hotel room — ignoring her pleas of feeling uncomfortable, clearly unconvinced by his insistence that he wouldn’t touch her. It’s deeply disturbing to hear, but it demands listening so That everyone knows what has occurred, and what is likely still is going on.

But this story has served as a troubling commentary on the entertainment journalism industry, given all the talk of the “open secret” of Weinstein’s misconduct among the industry’s reporters. The admission that journalists were aware of Weinstein’s awful reputation signals an insider status, for one, but also serves as a gross admission that they looked the other way. The NY Times Jim Rutenberg wrote about this dynamic in a thoughtful but tough take down entitled Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers.

This article drew its own controversy as Sharon Waxman, founder of The Wrap, alleged that the Times was itself, one of the media enablers of Weinstein Rutenberg was ostensibly criticizing — with Ms. Waxman saying that she had a similar report about Weinstein’s sexual indiscretion’s spiked by the paper over a decade ago, noting that Weinstein Co. was a major advertiser.

The deeper suggestion of her piece is that there was an economic relationship between the NY Times and Weinstein (who not only controlled ad dollars but also access to movie stars for feature pieces) and even alleged that she received phone calls from Matt Damon and Russell Crowe to speak on Mr. Weinstein’s behalf.  Since Ms. Waxman’s critique there have been at least two public denials from NY Times executives about these claims, which leads us back to Ms. Waxman.

When the NY Times broke the Weinstein story last Friday, CNN’s Jake Tapper booked Ms. Waxman on his show to discuss the allegations. In the interview, she reveals that she had her own bombshell Weinstein story ostensibly spiked by Times editors, but then also goes on to explain her complicated relationship with Weinstein.

In classic Hollywood media “cool kids” style, Ms. Waxman opens by pointing out that she has “known Harvey for a very long time,” adding “I consider him somebody we cover, but also a friend.”  She then discloses her past reporting, adding “at the same time in the way that things kind of work in this business, I also did an investigative story for the “New York Times” about ten years ago when I covered Hollywood for them.”

She then explains that her report was killed and suggests it never saw the light of day because “a lot of pressure was applied to not let that story appear,” before defending Weinstein as “complicated” with “voracious appetites across many categories, business and apparently this one as well.”

So to recap, Ms. Waxman was well aware of Weinstein’s reputation. She publicly complained about how the NY Times spiked her article outing Weinstein’s awful behavior. She launched her own website that covers entertainment and media, but NEVER thought to follow up on that Weinstein story because she considers this alleged rapist to be a friend.

In other words, she looked the other way because The Wrap might have benefitted from her friendly and symbiotic relationship with Weinstein?

If true, that’s gross.


This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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