When the New York Times published an exposé last week detailing Hollywood producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual misconduct, one question murmured softly in the background: why now?
It was over twenty years ago that Weinstein invited actress Ashley Judd to his hotel room and asked her to watch him shower.
In 1997, Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement with Charmed actress Rose McGowan over an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival, although details of this incident remain undisclosed.
And it was as far back as 1991 when former employee Laura Madden was approached by Weinstein for ‘massages’. In 1998, a 25-year-old assistant Zelda Perkins confronted Weinstein about his treatment of women in the office, and threatened to go public or initiate legal action if he didn’t stop.
So, why now?
Why have decades of allegations against Harvey Weinstein been able to accumulate and then seemingly disappear?
In response to this question, many turn to the women who didn't speak up, or who didn't do 'enough' to pursue charges against the man who sexually harassed them. But new reports suggest there were men around Weinstein, who allegedly actively intervened to dispel reports of the producer's misconduct at a moment they could have been made public.
In 2004, after extensive investigation, journalist Sharon Waxman claims she wrote an article for The New York Times detailing Weinstein's sexual misconduct. It was cut from the paper, she says, due to pressure from several big Hollywood names. In an article for The Wrap published on Sunday (Los Angeles time), Waxman alleges that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her “directly” to refute reports that Miramax’s Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo was hired “to take care of Weinstein’s women needs".