Matt Damon, Russell Crowe Reportedly Helped Cover Up Harvey Weinstein Sexual Abuse Allegations

Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Jessica Chastain speak up against Weinstein, while Lena Dunham calls for men in Hollywood to denounce the former film studio exec.

AceShowbiz - Matt Damon and Russell Crowe have been dragged in the shocking sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. After the New York Times published a report exposing "Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein," journalist Sharon Waxman claimed the paper cut her own investigate reporting in 2004 that would have exposed Weinstein.

Waxman, the founder of TheWrap, wrote that the Times killed her story under pressure from several Hollywood elites, including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe who worked with Weinstein on films like "Good Will Hunting", "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Cinderella Man".

Waxman claimed she was following Miramax's Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo, who was allegedly hired "to take care of Weinstein's women needs." She said her article was edited to remove the more salacious details because of their influence and because Weinstein was a big advertiser in the Times.

On Monday, October 9, the Times' current Executive Editor Dean Baquet responded to Waxman's claims. He doubted that the Times "killed a story because of pressure from Harvey Weinstein, who was and is an advertiser." He added, "The top two editors at the time, Bill Keller and Jill Abramson, say they have no recollection of being pressured over Ms. Waxman's story."

Instead, Baquet said that Waxman's story "did not have anything near what was revealed in our story" and consisted largely of "an off-the-record account from one woman."

Meanwhile, other stars have spoken up against Weinstein. Meryl Streep told The Huffington Post in a statement, "The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes."

She said she "didn't know about these other offenses" and "if everybody knew, I don't believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it."

The veteran actress, who worked with The Weinstein Company for such films as "The Iron Lady" and "August: Osage County", added, "The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game."

Kate Winslet told Variety, "The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear. The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace."

"His behaviour is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naive. And it makes me so angry," she continued. "There must be 'no tolerance' of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace anywhere in the world."

Jessica Chastain also weighed in on the controversy. "Yes. Im [sic] sick of the media demanding only women speak up. What about the men? Perhaps many are afraid to look at their own behavior.....," she tweeted in support of Weinstein's abuse victims. She tweeted again, "This is heart shattering," and added a link to Vulture's story about Damon and Crowe's alleged involvement in killing a New York Times story that would have exposed Weinstein over a decade ago.

One of the first celebrities who reacted to the shocking allegations, Lena Dunham has called for men in Hollywood to denounce Weinstein. She wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on Monday, "A liberal-leaning industry, we have been quick to condemn Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes and, yes, the president. We do not accept sexual abuse as 'locker room talk.' So why the deafening silence, particularly from the industry's men, when one of our own is outed as having a nasty taste for humiliating and traumatizing women?"

"The reason I am zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations," she added. "But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein's most powerful collaborators to say something. Anything. It wouldn't be just a gift to the women he has victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely. They need a signal that we do not approve of the abuse of power and hatred of women that is the driving force behind this kind of behavior."

She concluded, "Hollywood's silence, particularly that of men who worked closely with Mr. Weinstein, only reinforces the culture that keeps women from speaking. When we stay silent, we gag the victims. When we stay silent, we condone behavior that none of us could possibly believe is O.K."

While actors Seth Rogen and Mark Ruffalo as well as directors James Gunn, Scott Derrickson and Kevin Smith have spoken up against Weinstein, late-night talk show hosts mostly avoided the topic.

Meanwhile, fashion designer Donna Karan has defended Weinstein. She told Daily Mail on the red carpet of the CineFashion Film Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday that Weinstein was all to blame for the alleged sexual abuse. "It's not Harvey Weinstein, you look at everything all over the world today and what [women] are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do," she said. "I think [Weinstein] is being looked at right now as a symbol and not necessarily as him."

She added, "To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think, how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? And what are we throwing out to our children today about how to dance and how to perform and what to wear? How much should they show?"

Weinstein has been fired from The Weinstein Company following the accusations. A studio insider says that the company is going to change its name following Weinstein's termination. Weinstein's name will also reportedly be stripped from several TV projects.

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