Matt Damon, the star of director George Clooney’s upcoming Suburbicon, has given conflicting statements about his knowledge surrounding producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual predations.
The longtime Damon/Weinstein relationship began, of course, in 1997 with Good Will Hunting, the Miramax-produced hit that made stars of Damon and Ben Affleck and won both of them screenplay Oscars. And it was at this exact time that Weinstein was just beginning his ascent into two decades of the kind of Hollywood power and influence no one has enjoyed since the golden age of the moguls.
Weinstein’s power grasp was not just in Tinseltown. He was also a rainmaker for Democrats as a much-desired fundraiser and donor; a personal friend to some of the most powerful Democrats in America, including Presidents Clinton and Obama. He backed their causes — gun control, abortion-on-demand — with star power and bags of money.
During this time, though, according to dozens of women, Weinstein is alleged to have been a serial sexual harasser, groper, predator, and rapist. (Weinstein has repeatedly denied touching anyone without consent).
But while all of this was supposedly going on behind-the-scenes, Damon and Weinstein began a professional collaboration that would last nearly a decade, a business and creative partnership so apparent and fruitful, one cannot think of Miramax and Weinstein without also thinking of Damon.
The duo’s professional collaborations would include The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Rounders (1998), Dogma (1999), The Brothers Grimm (2005), and a producing relationship with Miramax involving the Project Greenlight reality show, that ran from 2001-2005, and was resurrected for a single season on HBO in 2015.
Nevertheless, despite the testimony of other Miramaxers from that era — including screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (who claims everyone knew) and director Quentin Tarantino — Damon denies knowing anything about Weinstein’s alleged predations … except when he doesn’t.
In just two weeks, Damon has already offered conflicting statements on the matter.
On October 10, Damon told Deadline he knew nothing about what Weinstein has been accused of:
We know this stuff goes on in the world. I did five or six movies with Harvey. 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. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view.
But on Monday, while promoting Suburbicon with Clooney, Damon changed his story and admitted to Good Morning America that he did know about Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct involving actress Gwyneth Paltrow:
I knew the story about Gwyneth [Paltrow] from Ben [Affleck] because she was with him after Brad [Pitt]. So I knew that story. But I was working with Gwyneth, with Harvey, on [The Talented Mr.] Ripley. I never talked to Gwyneth about it. Ben told me. But I knew that they had come to whatever agreement or understanding that they had come to. She had handled it. And you know, she was the ‘First Lady of Miramax,’ and he treated her incredibly respectfully, always.
Here, in part, is what Paltrow told the New York Times:
[A meeting] ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on [22-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow] and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said.
“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified.” … She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.
Weinstein stands accused of flat-out crimes.
This means that what people did and did not know is more than relevant.