At this point, it’s basically absurd for anyone who operated within Harvey Weinstein‘s orbit to claim that they knew nothing about what was going on. Even Quentin Tarantino, who initially avoided any specifics, admitted that he “knew enough” about what was going on.
Matt Damon is one of the names who keeps cropping up, because Weinstein’s company Miramax was key in his rise to fame. Damon is currently on a press tour with George Clooney for their movie Suburbicon, and it was inevitable that the Weinstein situation would at some point come up.
And come up it did. During an interview with Good Morning America, Damon offered somewhat conflicting accounts. Initially, he said that he knew Weinstein was a “womaniser”, but didn’t realise that it raised to the level of potentially criminal conduct – which is the line a lot of Weinstein associates are running with:
I knew he was a womaniser. You know, I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But I’m not, you know, 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.
But then he goes on to admit that he actually did know about one instance of sexual harassment: Gwyneth Paltrow‘s allegations.
I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt]. 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.
It’s kinda unclear what he’s even saying here: he knew about the allegation from Paltrow, but he never spoke to her about it and just assumed it had been dealt with somehow? Right.
“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.,” Damon went on.
He also apologised for missing instances of harassment or abuse whenever they may have happened in his periphery, though those apologies don’t really mean much now, decades later.
“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?” he said. “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.”
For his part, Clooney parroted a similar line. He says he knew about Harvey’s general sleazy vibe, but not that he was a harasser or abuser. He says Weinstein told him about “affairs” he had with actresses.
“I didn’t really think that they were going to have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly,” he explained. “And clearly they didn’t. But the idea that this predator, this assaulter … was out there silencing women like that … it’s beyond infuriating.”