Russell Crowe, Matt Damon helped cover up Harvey Weinstein claims - report

An ex-New York Times journalist claims Matt Damon and Russell Crowe helped to cover up an expose on Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harrassment several years ago.

Sharon Waxman has written a scathing piece for The Wrap in which she claims she was coerced into burying her story by the Hollywood heavyweights.

Weinstein was fired Sunday evening (local time) from his own company amidst the scandal, with the Weinstein Company's all-male board saying they made the decision "in light of new information about misconduct" him.

Waxman claims when she was first chasing the story in 2004, she was handed "evidence of a pay-off" from Weinstein to an unnamed woman in London, and had sources claiming he evenings organised with Russian escorts.

The story was centered on Fabrizio Lombardo, a man in Weinstein's employ who Waxman says was really hired "to take care of Weinstein's women needs".

"The story I reported never ran," Waxman says.

"After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at The Times, the story was gutted."

She says all references to sexual harassment and misconduct were removed and "the story was buried on the inside of the culture section".

In response to Waxman's claims, Charmed actress Rose McGowan has been publicly encouraging Hollywood to speak up about Weinstein's alleged misconduct.

"Hey @mattdamon what's it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?" she wrote on Twitter on Monday (local time), 

McGowan then tweeted at Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck asking: "how's your morning boys?"

Manchester by the Sea star Casey Affleck was sued for sexual harassment by two women in 2010.

Kiwi model Zoe Brock recently spoke out about her own experience of alleged sexual assault by Weinstein, saying "everyone in Hollywood knew [and] enabled this". 

"I said a lot of things to a lot of people, [but] this man runs Hollywood. You've seen him at the Oscars - he wins everything. There are millions and millions at stake."

In a statement he released about the accusations, Weinstein insisted he's "trying to do better", putting some of the claims down to "the rules about behaviour and workplaces" being "different" in the past.