Matt Damon said he was aware of an alleged incident involving disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow, who told the New York Times that the producer made unwanted advances towards her in a hotel room when she was 22.
In a Monday sit-down with Good Morning America, Suburbicon stars Damon and George Clooney spoke about the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Weinstein, the man who helped launch both of their careers in Hollywood.
“I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt],” Damon shared.
He added, “I never talked to Gwyneth about it. Ben told me, but I knew that they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to, she had handled it. She was, you know, the first lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully always.”
Aside from that incident, Damon said he got a bad vibe from Weinstein but had no idea about the extent of his alleged behavior.
“I knew he was a womanizer,” the actor said, noting that he worked with Weinstein at the “height of his power in the late 1990s on movies like Good Will Hunting. “I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But the criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.”
Clooney said that Weinstein had told him that he had affairs with “some actresses who were friends of mine.”
“I didn’t really think that they were going have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly. And clearly they didn’t,” he added. “But the idea that this predator, this assaulter was out there silencing women like that, it’s beyond infuriating.”
More than 40 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment after the New York Times first published reports of his alleged misbehavior on Oct. 5. The women speaking out on their negative personal encounters with Weinstein include Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and Cara Delevingne.
Actresses Asia Argento, Rose McGowan, Lysette Anthony and Lucia Evans have all claimed they were forced to perform a sex act by Weinstein. In a subsequent report by The New Yorker, another unnamed woman alleged the producer had raped her. According to the New York Times, Weinstein has reached civil settlements with eight different women relating to inappropriate sexual behavior.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
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Damon also spoke out about what men in Hollywood can do to end this type of behavior at the London premiere of Suburbicon.
“To me, the message is, somebody as powerful as Harvey can be brought down by this, what we need is for it to filter down, all the way down to somebody who’s like a single mom who’s a waitress, who’s getting harassed when she’s punching out, and she’s afraid to speak up because she’s going to lose her job, and she needs her job,” Damon told PEOPLE. “And what we need is for her to be able to be a human being and say on the level of human decency, I’m allowed to speak up, and I’m empowered to speak up, because this is wrong, period, the end. That’s hopefully where this is going.”
The actor added that social media has been a powerful tool in getting the word out and showing victims that they are not alone.
“Maybe I’m naive or an optimist, but I really do believe that there’s going to be major change, that there won’t be this type of behavior anymore,” he said.
Suburbicon opens Friday.