Sometimes — just sometimes — you can forgive New Yorkers for acting like they live in the center of the world, when you consider the number of high-falutin’ publications that name-check the city.
Nowhere is this more evident than the current spate of journalistic revelations and ensuing publicity meltdowns swirling around famed Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. His career has come crashing to a spectacular end — thanks entirely to publications named after the Big Apple — although one pulled its punches.
It all kicked off last week with The New York Times’ expose, accusing Weinstein of a pattern of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior stretching back over decades, targeting employees and movie stars alike. The scoop prompted an angry denial from Weinstein’s lawyers, who vowed to sue the NYT for defamation.
But as so often happens, it turns out the first revelations were just the tip of the iceberg.
As more women came forward with their own stories, and Weinstein was fired by his own production company, the scandal shovel passed to The New Yorker, which dug up even more mud over the weekend. An article by Ronan Farrow cites sources who claim that Weinstein raped at least three women over the years, and touched four other women against their will. It also confirmed numerous accounts of sexual harassment, unwanted advances and indecent exposure.
Weinstein has emphatically denied the rape accusations, but both articles suggest the pattern of sexual harassment was widely known at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, with other employees allegedly working to procure young aspiring actresses for the movie mogul.
In the wake of the NYT and New Yorker stories, even more alleged victims came forward with claims of harassment, including high-profile celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
After the mud finally stuck, it also emerged that plenty of journalists had previously attempted to document Weinstein’s predatory behaviors but were stopped by the threat of legal action by Weinstein’s lawyers.
According to an anonymous source cited by the New York Post, New York magazine reporter Ben Wallace was chasing down the story last year, racking up interviews with dozens of sources, but the magazine spiked the story after Weinstein’s lawyers and PR flacks descended with dire threats.
A spokeswoman for New York denied the rumor, explaining the magazine couldn’t gather enough proof of the sexual harassment allegations to go to press.
Whether due to pressure or simple lack of evidence, New York has plenty of company in this regard, including the two publications that eventually broke the story.
In fact, according to Farrow’s article in The New Yorker: “This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence.”
Sharon Waxman, writing in The Wrap, delivered a barb wrapped in accolades to the NYT for finally publishing a story on Weinstein, over a decade after the newspaper’s editors effectively gutted a story she wrote about Weinstein’s alleged European procurers, following pressure from Weinstein’s legal and PR machine.
According to Waxman, Weinstein visited the newspaper in person to voice his displeasure, causing the meat of the story to be removed — after which Weinstein enjoyed another 13 years of impunity.