Matt Damon Denies He Helped Bury Earlier Expose About Harvey Weinstein: 'I Am Not the Story'
The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman claimed this week Damon and Russell Crowe meddled in a 2004 story about Weinstein’s alleged behavior
In a new interview with Deadline, the Oscar winner, 47, said that he “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.”
Weinstein famously championed Damon and Ben Affleck’s 1997 film Good Will Hunting, which he produced and distributed through his former company Miramax. Affleck and Damon two took home an Oscar for the film, which they wrote and starred in together.
Amid the mounting revelations of sexual harassment or abuse against Weinstein, The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman on Sunday claimed Damon and Russell Crowe meddled in a 2004 story she was writing for the New York Times about behavior by Weinstein and the the-head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo. Waxman claimed Damon and Crowe called her “directly” to vouch for Lombardo. Her story was ultimately killed by the NYT.
Damon confirmed the call with Waxman to Deadline, but said Weinstein only told him that Waxman was writing a negative story about Lombardo and asked him to vouch for Lombardo professionally.
“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,” said Damon. “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.”
Added the actor, “As I recall, her piece just said that Russell and I had called and relayed our experience with Fabrizio. That was the extent of it and so I was very surprised to see it come back. I was never conscripted to do anything. We vouch for each other, all the time, and it didn’t even make her article.”
Waxman alleged that Lombardo procured women for Weinstein.
“I’m sure I mentioned to her that I didn’t know anything about the rest of her piece, because I didn’t,” Damon told Deadline. “And I still don’t know anything about that and Fabrizio. My experience with him was all above board and that’s what I told her.”
After the Deadline interview was published, Waxman tweeted that she endorses Damon’s statement.
Slamming his embroilment in the scandal, Damon told the outlet, “I am not the story here. The story is these women and what happened to them.”
The actor said that “even before I was famous, I didn’t abide this kind of behavior.” He added that now, as a father of four daughters — Isabella, Gia, Alexia and Stella — “this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night.”
In a statement provided in response to new allegations, Weinstein’s spokesperson asserted, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
“Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Damon noted to Deadline that he has frequently collaborated with Weinstein on films, but asserted, “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,” he stated. “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.”
Continued Damon, “And I will peel my eyes back now, father than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.”
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“This kind of stuff can’t happen,” he said. “This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach.”
He added though, that his “discomfort” over being dragged into the controversy “hardly bears mention.”
“There are some real victims here and they are being incredibly brave,” said Damon. “Hopefully, them going through this experience right now will help them heal. They are who we all should be thinking about.”
The New York Times first broke the allegations against Weinstein in a report that ran last week. Eight women — including actress Ashley Judd — spoke out against Weinstein, accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.
A New Yorker expose published on Tuesday included allegations from 13 more women, and later — another NYT piece included claims of misconduct against Harvey from stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.