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In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, Matt Damon claimed he didn’t know about the level of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein but knew Weinstein was an “a–hole” and “womanizer.”
“You had to spend five minutes with him to know he was a bully, he was intimidating. That was his legend. That was his whole M.O. Could you survive a meeting with Harvey? Could you stand up for yourself with Harvey?” Damon said of his initial interactions with Weinstein in the 1990s, around the time Weinstein released Damon’s breakout film, Good Will Hunting, through his then-company, Miramax.
“When people say everybody knew, yeah, I knew he was an a–hole. He was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself,” Damon said. “I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy, but that’s not my business, really. But this level of criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.”
More than 40 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The Shakespeare in Love star alleged Weinstein “tried to massage her,” per the New York Times. According to Paltrow, her then-boyfriend, Brad Pitt, confronted Weinstein shortly after the alleged incident.
Speaking Monday, Damon said he had previously heard about Paltrow’s allegations from Ben Affleck, who dated Paltrow after she and Pitt had broken up. “I knew that story, but I was working with Gwyneth, with Harvey, on [The Talented Mr. Ripley] … I never talked to Gwyneth about it. Ben told me, but I knew that they had come to whatever agreement or understanding they had come to. She had handled it. She was the First Lady of Miramax, and he treated her incredibly respectfully. Always.”
As to whether or not he had seen Weinstein act in an inappropriate manner with women, Damon said the disgraced producer “didn’t do it out in the open.” But, he added, “If there was ever an event or something that I was at, in public with Harvey, and he was doing this kind of thing and I missed it? And there’s some woman who was somehow assaulted, and it was at the Golden Globes, and I somehow missed it? Then I’m sorry.”
Damon’s comments Monday echo remarks he made earlier this month after the Weinstein scandal broke. “I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this. I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody’s saying we all knew. That’s not true,” Damon told Deadline. “This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn’t see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it. And I will peel my eyes back now, [farther] than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.”
Damon appeared on Good Morning America with George Clooney in support of Clooney’s new film, Suburbicon. Clooney, who has previously condemned Weinstein, said the producer had talked to him “about women that he had affairs with.” But, Clooney said, he didn’t believe Weinstein, “because to believe him would be to believe kind of the worst of some actresses who were friends of mine. I didn’t really think that they were going have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly. And clearly, they didn’t.”
Clooney added, “But the idea that this predator, this assaulter was out there silencing women like that, it’s beyond infuriating. And the fact that the story is coming out now? The more it comes out? I want to know all of it.”
Weinstein has since been fired from The Weinstein Co. and removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Through his representative, he has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.