Matt Damon and George Clooney both knew Harvey Weinstein was somewhat of a “womanizer,” but the actors were unaware the movie mogul was preying on women in Hollywood to the level that many starlets have recently come forward to allege.
In a new interview that aired Monday, Damon and Clooney told ABC News they were outraged for their female counterparts after a growing number of women in the industry accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and even rape in some cases.
“When people say like, ‘Everybody knew,’ like, yeah, I knew — I knew he was an a–hole. He was proud of that,” Damon said. “But this level of criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on.”
Earlier this month, Weinstein acknowledged in a bombshell New York Times report that his behavior with colleagues has “caused a lot of pain.” However, Weinstein has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex,” according to his spokesperson. Dozens of women — including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o — have since come forward with claims that Weinstein harassed or sexually assaulted them or behaved inappropriately with them.
Paltrow, who has starred in several of Weinstein’s films, told the New York Times Weinstein put his hands on her and suggested they give each other massages during a meeting at a hotel.
Damon told ABC News he “knew the story about Gwyneth” from Ben Affleck, his close friend and Paltrow’s ex-boyfriend. “I never talked to Gwyneth about it,” Damon said. “I knew that they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to. She had handled it.”
Damon first worked with Weinstein on Good Will Hunting in the late 1990s and said he knew Weinstein “was a womanizer” and a “bully.”
“What makes something like this so horrific is that . . . these are women and actresses who are pursuing their dreams,” Damon said. “And they’re doing everything right. And suddenly they found themselves alone with a predator.”
Clooney said he would have “done something” had he known the extent of what was happening, though he didn’t specify what kind of action he would have taken. “The idea that this predator, this assaulter was out there silencing women like that, it’s beyond infuriating,” he said.