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Matt Damon on Weinstein: I Only Knew 'He Was an A------'

George Clooney also speaks, plus more on the fallen producer
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2017 12:45 PM CDT
Updated Oct 23, 2017 1:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Matt Damon and George Clooney continue to declare they were in the dark when it came to Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misdeeds. On Good Morning America Monday to promote Clooney's new film, Suburbicon, in which Damon stars, Damon said, "When people say like, 'Everybody knew,' like, yeah. I knew he was an a------." But, he continued, he had no idea "criminal sexual predation" could possibly be going on. Clooney echoed that, saying Weinstein used to tell him about affairs he was supposedly having with actresses Clooney knew, but Clooney simply didn't believe him. "I didn't really think that they were gonna have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly. And clearly they didn't." Damon said Weinstein was known as a "bully" and "intimidating" and even a "womanizer," but the sexual harassment allegations were not widely known. More, including a "but" to Damon's story:

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  • There's a "but" to Damon's story: The actor did concede he "knew the story about Gwyneth" Paltrow because Ben Affleck, who dated Paltrow, told him about it. (Paltrow has said Weinstein asked her for a massage when she was 22, then threatened her to keep quiet about it.) "But I knew that ... they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to, she had handled it," Damon said. "She was, you know, the first lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully."
  • New investigation: The attorney general in New York state has opened a civil rights investigation into Weinstein, reports the AP. Eric Schneiderman wants company records on harassment claims and settlements to determine whether anti-discrimination or civil rights laws were broken.
  • Is Hollywood over? Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis says radical changes are needed in Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry, and the Weinstein scandal is just one sign of the problems with the "old order" in the city. "You have got to focus on those who may have colluded and protected him," Haggis tells the Guardian. "What about those who would rather look the other way? Were people covering for pedophiles, too?"
  • James Toback allegationsnot a surprise? In the wake of the Weinstein allegations, dozens of women have come forward to accuse filmmaker James Toback of sexual abuse. But way back in 1989, the now-defunct magazine Spy detailed Toback's "street technique" for trying to pick up women, the Los Angeles Times reports. Thirteen women shared stories of Toback approaching them, sometimes chasing them down the street, to tell them he was a film director and wanted to help them make it big, and then later moving to truly inappropriate behavior. (The article starts on page 86 here.)

  • And what about another powerful man accused of sexual assault? Women who have made accusations of unwanted touching or kissing against now-President Trump speak to the Washington Post, wondering why he wasn't taken down like Weinstein was. One Trump accuser notes that many of the women who came forward against Weinstein are famous. "When it’s a celebrity, it has more weight than just someone who [Trump] met at Mar-a-Lago or a beauty pageant contestant," she says. "They're not people we've heard of."
  • But back to Weinstein... New information continues to come out about the producer. Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times took an in-depth look at his connections to the fashion industry and how he used those connections "as a pipeline to women."

  • He'll be staying in rehab. TMZ reports that, though he completed a one-week outpatient program, Weinstein will remain in treatment in Arizona for another month.
  • Ashley Judd to talk Weinstein. Judd, one of Weinstein's accusers, will give her first TV interview on the subject to ABC's Diane Sawyer on Thursday, per the Hollywood Reporter.
  • How was all of this kept secret? The Financial Times takes a look at how Weinstein's lawyers were able to keep the accusations against him under wraps for so long. Zelda Perkins, who was Weinstein's assistant when he allegedly sexually harassed her, details the legal process used by Weinstein's team in which settlements were encouraged and alleged victims were made to sign intimidating non-disclosure agreements under threat of being "destroyed" otherwise.
(Read more Harvey Weinstein stories.)

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