Actor Matt Damon on Monday said he had heard that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed actress Gwyneth Paltrow before the actress shot the 1996 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma for Miramax.
“I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt] and so I knew that story,” Damon said on Good Morning America.
“But I was working with Gwyneth and with Harvey on [the 1999 film The Talented Mr.] Ripley,” he said, adding, “I never talked to Gwyneth about it but Ben told me that whatever agreement they had come to there was an understanding … and he treated her incredibly respectfully. Always.”
Damon appeared with actor George Clooney, and both said they knew Weinstein was a “bully” and “womanizer.” But those reports are mild compared to what’s been alleged since The New York Times broke the story — some 40 women now accuse the film producer of sexually harassing or molesting them; at least five women say he raped them.
Damon, a longtime friend of Weinstein’s, was one of the last A-listers to comment on the allegations. Now Damon is just the fourth actor to publicly state that he was aware of at least one incident that occurred between Weinstein and one of his stars.
Damon’s decision to characterize the relationship between Paltrow and Weinstein as “always” respectful is a bit odd as well, considering her admission that she had been sexually harassed by the mogul is part of the reason the men were sitting down for the interview.
Clooney meanwhile said that like many of Weinstein’s victims, he had been told a number of times by the mogul that he was bedding a number of stars.
“Harvey would talk to me about women that he had had affairs with,” said Clooney.
“I didn’t necessarily believe him quite honestly, because to believe him would be to believe the worst of some actresses who were friends of mine, and I didn’t really think that they had affairs with Harvey — and clearly they didn’t.”
He then 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 and the more it comes out, I want to know all of it.”