As ugly and repulsive as the New York Times account about Harvey Weinstein was, the new report from Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker is much, much worse, detailing claims of sexual harassment and outright sexual assault from thirteen women. The accounts from the women – many recognizable names – will leave you sick.
Even worse, it appears a significant number of Weinstein’s employees were complicit in arranging and/or covering up his serial acts of sexual harassment and assault.
Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein’s films and in the workplace. They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models. All sixteen said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Messages sent by Irwin Reiter, a senior company executive, to Emily Nestor, one of the women who alleged that she was harassed at the company, described the “mistreatment of women” as a serial problem that the Weinstein Company was struggling with in recent years. Other employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein’s places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe. A female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a “honeypot”—they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman.
This may be just the tip of a very big iceberg; everyone who worked with Weinstein should and probably will face tough questions about what they knew and what they were willing to do on behalf of a disgusting, abusive, repulsive human being. Among them, why did stars like Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call a New York Times reporter investigating Weinstein, as Sharon Waxman claims?
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.
As of this hour, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not yet issued statements about Weinstein. At this point, a rote issued statement probably won’t be sufficient. Why was such a legendarily physically abusive, exploitative creep able to thrive in the allegedly enlightened circles of the Democratic Party?