“That was his legend; that was his whole M.O.: Could you survive a meeting with Harvey?” Damon said, seated next to George Clooney, in what was supposed to be a plug for their new ’50s-set crime dramedy Suburbicon. But, both men having been a big part of Weinstein’s world, they came well-prepared for those questions.
“People who worked for him were, like, ‘I’m coming to make good movies. Miramax was THE place making great stuff in the ’90s,” defended Damon, who worked often with the Hollywood mogul at the center of a Hollywood sex scandal. Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing, assaulting or raping more than 40 women; police have launched investigations in London, New York City and Los Angeles; he already has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and proceedings have begun to kick him out of the TV Academy and the Producers Guild.
“When people say ‘everybody knew’ – yeah, I knew he was an a**hole,” Damon continued. “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.” He acknowledged he “knew the story of Gwyneth” Paltrow from Ben Affleck, but never had discussed directly with her, saying they appeared to have “come to whatever agreement they had come to” and that “she handled it and was the First Lady of Miramax and he treated her incredibly respectfully. Always.”
Clooney, meanwhile, acknowledged 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.”
Clooney called it “beyond infuriating” that such a sexual predator had been “out there silencing women like that,” adding 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.
Clooney said his wife told him there are “plenty of instances” of this behavior in “her line of work” too, but said nonetheless it is surprising “to some of us that it’s this big.”