Damon, 47, has done a handful of films with the disgraced producer including Good Will Hunting, which he won an Oscar for in 1998. “I never saw this,” the actor initially claimed. Over 40 women have come forward accusing the producer of sexual assault, harassment, and/or misconduct. “I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody’s saying we all knew. That’s not true,” Damon stated after the initial story broke.
Well… it’s a little bit true as Damon has backtracked a bit on that statement. The actor has now admitted to knowing about Weinstein allegedly sexually harassing Gwyneth Paltrow in 1996.
“I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after [she dated] Brad [Pitt],” Damon said on Good Morning America on Monday.
Paltrow claimed the producer sexually harassed her in a hotel room when she was 22 and about to star in the Miramax film Emma. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow alleged. She told her boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt, about the incident and the actor confronted the media mogul, warning him to leave her alone. Weinstein allegedly “screamed” at Paltrow for a long time, warning her not to tell anyone else about what had happened or she would be fired. Well, Paltrow apparently also told boyfriend Ben Affleck who shared the story with his BFF, Damon.
“I never talked to Gwyneth about it. Ben told me,” Damon now says. “But I knew that they had come to whatever agreement or understanding that they had come to. She had handled it, and she was the first lady of Miramax.”
Shortly after Emma, Paltrow went on to work with Weinstein and win an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. The actress teamed up with Weinstein and Miramax again for the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley, which also starred Damon.
“And he treated her incredibly respectfully, always,” Damon maintains to GMA. Allegedly soliciting a massage for professional gain in a hotel room isn’t our version of “incredibly respectful,” but to each his own.
Damon and Weinstein continued to have a professional relationship following The Talented Mr. Ripley. It’s been alleged the actor helped kill a 2004 story in The New York Times that was supposedly going to expose allegations against Weinstein and the head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo, of sexual misconduct.
While the actor admits to making a phone call to the paper to voice positive experiences working with Lombardo, he was not aware of any of the sexual harassment allegations against either of them. The author of that story, Sharon Waxman, confirms Damon’s account.
“When people say, ‘Everybody knew,’ like yeah, I knew he was an a**hole. He was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself,” Damon explains on GMA. “I knew he was a womanizer. You know, I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But that’s not my business really. This level of criminal sexual predation was not something I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.”
It’s not just Damon who has been dragged for not speaking up about Weinstein sooner. Affleck has also been called out online after claiming to be unaware of the producer’s behavior. Alleged Weinstein victim, Rose McGowan — who claims the producer raped her — told Affleck to “f**k off.”
@benaffleck “GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
McGowan also blasted the actor for the timing of his adoption of a stray puppy.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 22, 2017
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
- Taylor Swift crushes over boyfriend Joe Alwyn in ‘Gorgeous’
- Remembering Patricia Douglas, the first woman to call out Hollywood for sexual assault
- Why it’s also hard for Hollywood’s men to talk about being sexually assaulted