How Harvey Weinstein allegations went from Hollywood joke to national scandal: A timeline
Now that Harvey Weinstein’s long history of alleged sexual harassment, coercion, and assault is out in the open, the question has turned to just how long Weinstein was able to get away with it — and why.
The Weinstein rumors circulated for almost two decades, with numerous journalists trying to expose the truth. Meanwhile, parts of the truth occasionally emerged in plain sight, usually in the form of jokes. How much the people writing those jokes knew is still up for debate.
Below is a timeline of the major articles written about Weinstein, blog posts that edged toward public accusations, and pop culture references to Weinstein and his actions.
December 2001: David Carr writes a profile of Weinstein for New York magazine. Carr confided in other journalists that he had pursued serious allegations against Weinstein but was unable to substantiate them.
Carr alluded to the issue: “Shortly after beginning work on this profile, I stumble across a trip wire that fires conspiracy and fomentation. Something in his unalloyed nature brings out the storyteller in people, as long as no name is attached. It’s all sex, lies, but no videotape.”
December 2002: Ken Auletta writes a Weinstein profile for the New Yorker. Auletta is also unable to stand up the rumors, but includes an even more oblique reference: “Weinstein doesn’t want to share the costs of the movie or trade half an interest in a Miramax film; instead, his partners, this studio head said, feel ‘raped’ — a word often invoked by those dealing with him.” H/T to Recode’s Peter Kafka here.
January 2004: Peter Biskind publishes an in-depth book about Miramax, the Sundance film festival, and the indie movie scene: Down and Dirty Pictures.
Biskind reportedly had heard from Brad Pitt that Weinstein had sexually harassed Gwyneth Paltrow, but did not pursue the story.
2004: Sharon Waxman works on a story about Weinstein that includes allegations of sexual coercion. This month, shortly after the New York Times and New Yorker published their stories, Waxman claimed the Times had “gutted” her story due to pressure from Weinstein.
“I was devastated after traveling to two countries and overcoming immense challenges to confirm at least part of the story that wound up running last week, more than a decade later,” Waxman wrote for The Wrap.
July 2005: The character “Harvey Weingard” first appears on Entourage in season two, episode seven, “The Sundance Kids.” “Weingard” is a thinly veiled reference to Weinstein, complete with allusions to real-life examples of his infamous temper. No oblique references are made to Weinstein’s treatment of women.
December 2009: Celebrity-focused blog Lainey Gossip publishes a now-infamous blind item entitled “Casting Couch” about a Hollywood power player’s sexual relationship with an actress. It is widely assumed to be about Weinstein.
December 2010: Entertainment and culture blog Pajiba posts “Harvey’s Girls,” analyzing the systemic promotion of certain actresses associated with Weinstein and speculating about why a certain pattern tends to emerge.
“Rumors of Harvey’s casting couch ways are legendary. As a minor Midwestern blogger, I can’t know their validity. But I do know for each of these girls, there was an enormous PR push, proclamations of ‘it-girl’ and ‘the next big thing,’ and then a fairly daunting silence that had to be devastating to these young women who really believed this was their ‘it,'” wrote Courtney Enlow.
March 2012: NBC show 30 Rock includes a joke about sexual advances from Weinstein.
“I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions out of five.”
January 2013: 30 Rock cracks another Weinstein joke.
January 2013: Seth MacFarlane jokes at the Oscar nominations ceremony about Weinstein and the best actress nominees.
“Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
April 2015: Gawker’s Defamer blog publishes a comprehensive rundown of the rumors about Weinstein — and calls for people to talk.
“So here’s the question: If Weinstein’s behavior has reached the level of ‘despicable open secret,’ who’s going to crack it truly open?” wrote Jordan Sargent.
2016: Journalist Benjamin Wallace pursues the Weinstein story for New York, but is unable to get enough evidence to publish.
March 2017: Journalist Ronan Farrow in which Weinstein is heard to admit having groped an Italian model. NBC, however, tells him to stop reporting the story. NBC eventually gives him permission to take the story to another outlet.
Oct. 4, 2017: Variety publishes a story about Weinstein readying his lawyers due to upcoming stories from the New York Times and New Yorker that include allegations of sexual assault.
Oct. 5, 2017: The New York Times publishes its first Weinstein story: “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.”
Oct. 10, 2017: Farrow publishes his piece in the New Yorker: “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories.”
On the same day, the Times publishes its second Weinstein story: “Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Others Say Weinstein Harassed Them.”