Two weeks ago hollywood A-List actor Matt Damon said he had no idea that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted women.
Yesterday, RPT reported that Matt Damon admitted that he did know about an incident involving A-list actress Gwyneth Paltrow, that has since made headlines.
Matt’s BFF, Ben Affleck, told him about the Weinstein-Paltrow incident.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck decided to remain silent…probably because they were making bank on movies bankrolled by Weinstein.
Sitting down with George Clooney in an interview with “Good Morning America” Damon suddenly recalled…
“I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben (Affleck) because he was with her after Brad (Pitt) and so I knew that story.”
After Damon admitted to knowing about Weinstein…and believe me he and Clooney knew everything about Weinstein…”Good Morning America” decided to probe no further. They let the two actors off the hook with a prepared, pre-rehearsed statement and that was that.
It would have been easy to follow up with a thousand more questions about Damon’s revelation, but hollywood and the mainstream media play on the same team…and when it comes to scandals perpetrated by their idolized liberal left heroes, damage control is implemented by both the interviewee and the interviewer.
The Mercury News reports…
Damon was referring to the 1996 incident that Paltrow herself has since described to the New York Times. Paltrow said she was still an up-and-coming 22-year-old actress who was just about to shoot an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma” for Weinstein’s Miramax studio. She said the producer invited her to his hotel suite to supposedly discuss work. Instead, he put his hands on her and proposed they go into the bedroom for massages.
Paltrow told Pitt, her boyfriend at the time, who later confronted Weinstein. She also told Affleck, whom she dated after Pitt.
Damon’s admission that he actually did know a bit more about Weinstein’s alleged predations than he first admitted came as he and Clooney were on the ABC morning show to plug their new film “Suburbicon,” which is set to be released this week. Instead they had to do some post-Weinstein scandal PR damage control.
Both Damon, the film’s star, and director Clooney have faced varying degrees of backlash over the scandal. They both collaborated with Weinstein many times over the years and owe their superstardom to his decision to produce and heavily promote their films.
But the backlash has been especially intense on Damon, notably because he helped promote the career of his childhood friend Casey Affleck, even after Affleck was accused in a 2010 lawsuit of sexually harassing two female crew members on a documentary he directed. Damon produced Affleck’s film “Manchester by the Sea” and successfully campaigned for Affleck to win the Oscar for best actor.
During a clip of the interview that aired on “Good Morning America,” it doesn’t appear that Strahan asked Damon about Casey Affleck, who was dogged during last year’s Oscars race over the 2010 lawsuit, which he eventually settled.
Since the Weinstein revelations broke, Affleck’s sexual harassment allegations have prompted calls on social media for him to be booted out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The allegations also prompted an observation from HBO late-night host John Oliver over the uncomfortable fact that the actor would be giving out next year’s Oscar to the best actress winner.
In general, Strahan let Damon and Clooney — both no doubt well prepared for this interview — off easy. He didn’t push Damon on the Casey Affleck issue, and he didn’t push either star to address how they might have enabled alleged predators like Weinstein to persist in Hollywood — by not challenging the cultural status quo and by continuing to work with men like him.
Strahan basically let them repeat their previous lines over the Weinstein controversy.
Their position is that they both knew Weinstein could be an intimidating bully and that he had lots of affairs with women. But they say they never knew he allegedly harassed women or threatened or forced them into having sex with him.
Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing, assaulting or raping at least 40 women — even as many as 58. Police have launched investigations in London, New York City and Los Angeles, and Weinstein has already has been expelled from the Academy. Weinstein denies that any of his encounters with women were non-consensual.
In defending his professional relationship with Weinstein, Damon began: “You only had to spend five minutes with Harvey Weinstein to know he was a bully; he was intimidating.”
“That was his legend; that was his whole MO: Could you survive a meeting with Harvey?” Damon continued. “People who worked for him were, like, ‘I’m coming to make good movies. Miramax was the place making great stuff in the ’90s.”
“When people say ‘everybody knew’ – Yeah, I knew he was an (expletive),” Damon said. “He was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself. And I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But that’s not my business.”
Damon insisted he had not been aware of the “level of criminal sexual predation” Weinstein allegedly engaged in.
As for the Paltrow incident, he said he never talked to Paltrow about it, certainly not when he worked with her on the 1999 film “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” She was “the first lady of Miramax,” and Damon said he saw Weinstein treat her “incredibly respectfully.”
Damon said, “Ben told me, but I knew that they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to, she had handled it,”
Meanwhile, Clooney acknowledged that Weinstein boasted to him about women with whom he claimed to have had affairs.
“I didn’t necessarily believe him, quite honestly, because to believe would be to believe the worst of some actresses who were friends of mine,” he said.
Clooney added that it was “beyond infuriating” that such a sexual predator had been “out there silencing women like that.”
He added that he now wants “to know all of it,” and there “has to be a comeuppance” so that women can feel safe, going forward, under similar circumstances.
But when Clooney refers to someone getting “a comeuppance,” is he talking about any of his powerful guy friends who were in any way enablers or perpetrators of certain kinds of predatory male behavior?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.