Matt Damon on “womaniser” Harvey Weinstein: “I knew the story about Gwyneth Paltrow”

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Susan Devaney
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Matt Damon has admitted that he already knew about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Joined by fellow actor George Clooney on Good Morning America (23 October), the two spoke about the multiple allegations Weinstein is currently facing, with Damon explaining: “I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt] and so I knew that story.

“But I was working with Gwyneth and with Harvey on [1999 film, The Talented Mr] Ripley.

“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 added: “When people say like, 'Everybody knew,' Like, yeah, I knew he was an a**hole. He was proud of that. That's how he carried himself.

“I knew he was a womaniser. I wouldn't want to be married to the guy. But this level of criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.”

Paltrow came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment in an interview with The New York Times.  

Explaining that the incident occurred when she was aged 22, shortly after she was hired for the lead in Weinstein’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, Paltrow says that she was summoned to the producer’s hotel suite for a meeting.

It ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she alleges.

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said in an interview with The New York Times.

After the confrontation, Paltrow told NYT that Weinstein called her and threatened her not to speak to anyone else about it.

“I thought he was going to fire me,” she told the paper. “He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.”

Matt Damon
Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow starred in The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999.

Multiple women have now came forward citing similar stories of sexual harassment, and earlier this month, Rose McGowan, one of the women who reached a financial settlement with Weinstein, called for the men of Hollywood to speak up.

McGowan accused Damon of staying silent after the story broke. In a tweet posted 9 October, she wrote, “Hey @mattdamon what's it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?” alongside a message naming the board members of Weinstein’s company she believed should resign.

She then tweeted: “Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how’s your morning boys?”

Shortly after, McGowan retweeted a tweet from another account that linked to a article about Damon and actor Russell Crowe being accused of helping to ‘kill’ a Weinstein story.

But both Clooney and Damon insist they were unaware of the full extent of Weinstein’s behaviour towards women.

Clooney said the producer bragged about affairs with various actresses but he never believed him: “I didn't really think that they were going to have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly. And clearly they didn't.”

Affleck also took to Facebook last week to address Paltrow’s story. Affleck, who worked with Weinstein on several films, including Good Will HuntingReindeer Games and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, wrote: “This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.”

However, McGowan alleged that Affleck had been aware of how Weinstein treated women – and said she once had a conversation with him about it. “You lie,” she wrote.

McGowan was then suspended from Twitter for telling Affleck to “F**k off”.

McGowan has been one of the most prominent figures to speak out against Weinstein, who has now been publicly accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by numerous women, including Gwyneth PaltrowAngelina JolieCara DelevingneRomola GaraiLéa Seydoux and Asia Argento. Many of the women disclosed these revelations to reporters from The New Yorker and The New York Times, prompting others to come forward.

In response to the NYT article, Weinstein issued a statement, saying: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

However, he has denied reports of non-consensual sex.

Images: Rex Features