Matt Damon has denied working to kill a 2004 New York Times exposé on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, claiming he was totally unaware of the accusations made against Weinstein at the time.
After former NYT journo Sharon Waxman claimed Damon and Russell Crowe called her to dissuade a damning report on Fabrizio Lombardo, the head of Miramax Italy reportedly hired to look after Weinstein’s “women needs”, Damon admitted making the call – but disputed Waxman’s recollection of events.
“For the record, I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that. I just wouldn’t do that. It’s not something I would do, for anybody,” Damon told Deadline.
Explaining his take on the events, Damon said “Harvey had called me and said, they’re writing a story about Fabrizio, who I knew from The Talented Mr. Ripley.“
He has organized our premiere in Italy and so I knew him in a professional capacity and I’d had dinner at his house. Harvey said, Sharon Waxman is writing a story about Fabrizio and it’s really negative. Can you just call and tell her what your experience with Fabrizio was. So I did, and that’s what I said to her.
Damon said he was “never conscripted to do anything” to deflect allegations of sexual misconduct, and that he was solely asked to vouch for Lombardo’s professional credentials.
“I just remember it being a negative piece, a hit job on Fabrizio, was what Harvey was saying,” Damon said. “Basically, that he had no professional experience.”
On whether he was aware of the allegations made against Weinstein, Damon says he was in the dark despite doing “five or six movies with Harvey.” He also claims that had he been made aware, he would have done something at the time.
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. 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.
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have also added accusations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, further suggesting Weinstein’s alleged misconduct was well-known throughout the industry, whether people like Damon were aware or not.