Kiwi actor 'helped spike Weinstein expose'

Publish Date
Tuesday, 10 October 2017, 11:25AM

Russell Crowe and Matt Damon may soon be forced to comment on the decades of sexual harassment Harvey Weinstein inflicted upon his staff and a number of Hollywood actresses after one of those stars took aim at the Oscar-winning writer and star of Good Will Hunting.

One day after Sharon Waxman revealed in a post on The Wrap that she had been working on an expose about Weinstein until Matt Damon and Crowe called her directly to try and bury the piece, Rose McGowan lashed out at the actor, according to the Daily Mail.

"Hey @Mattdamon what's it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?" wrote McGowan Monday afternoon, hours after calling on the entire board at Weinstein Company to step down for being complicit in covering up the executive's actions.

McGowan also acknowledged a few of Damon's similarly tongue-tied pals, tweeting: Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how's your morning boys?"

Waxman said in her piece that Damon and Crowe called her after she managed to get multiple sources stating on the record that an Italian man being paid US$400,000 (NZ$566,650) by the company knew little about film and was better known for the "evenings he organised with Russian escorts."

The story was ultimately killed despite Waxman's findings at the time.

Reps for both Crowe and Damon did not respond to requests for comment.

At the center of the story was a man who worked as the head of Miramax Italy, but who had no film experience.

Miramax, which was founded by Weinstein and his brother Bob in 1979, was still being run by the brothers at that team even though in 1993 they had sold to Disney.

Russell Crowe, Harvey Weinstein and Renee Zellweger. Photo / Getty Images

Multiple sources told Waxman that Fabrizio Lombardo, who headed up Miramax Italy, was actually put on the payroll to help procure women for Weinstein, and that was the reason for his US$400,000 (NZ$566.650) in the one-year span between 2003 and 2004 when he worked for the company.

Waxman also tracked down a woman in London who said she had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein.

She revealed however that while the reporting was going well, she began to hit a different road block once Weinstein learned that the Times was working on a negative story.

That is when the executive got to work trying to kill the story, using Damon and Crowe to help him by vouching for Lombardo.

The two men both appeared in Miramax films produced by Weinstein around that time - Damon in The Brothers Grimm (2005) and Crowe in Master and Commander (2003).

The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman says Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her in 2004 to stop a negative story about Harvey Weinstein. Photo / Getty Images

Damon and his lifelong pals Ben and Casey Affleck all owe their careers to Weinstein in many ways thanks to his championing of Good Will Hunting.

Waxman wrote the she was ultimately told that Weinstein made a visit to the Times newsroom, where he visited with people "above my head" to "make his displeasure known".

Miramax was a big advertiser in the paper at the time as well, and used that to help get the story killed according to Waxman.

In the end, her editors decided against publishing the accusations.

"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?" Waxman recalled.

Waxman wrote the story about her failed attempt to out Weinstein in response to a "sanctimonious" story written by the Times columnist Jim Rutenberg on Friday, praising his newspaper for taking down one of Holllywood's most powerful men when so many other media outlets ignored the rumours.

"Until now, no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish," Rutenberg, the Times' media columnist, wrote.

Waxman wanted to set the record straight: The Times may have been the ones to finally get Weinstein - but they knew about the allegations as early as 2004 and passed on the opportunity to report the truth.

"The New York Times was one of those enablers. So pardon me for having a deeply ambivalent response about the current heroism of the Times," she wrote.