Everybody knew something about Harvey Weinstein. That’s the foregone conclusion in most of the stories we are hearing from men and women in Hollywood, including Matt Damon and George Clooney on Good Morning America on Monday.
To their credit, they admitted they knew a few things, but didn’t put all of the pieces together. However, they knew enough that perhaps they should have supported their female co-stars and friends a bit better.
Damon clarified what he knew to GMA host Michael Strahan.
“When people say everybody knew, yeah, I knew he was an asshole. He was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself,” he explained. “I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy, but that’s not my business, really.”
Weinstein’s first wife Eve Chilton and second wife Georgina Chapman probably wish someone had made it their business. It might have saved both women a lot of pain and anguish.
Damon continued to tell his side of the story.
“But this level of criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not. I knew the story about Gwyneth [Paltrow] from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt]. I knew that story, but I was working with Gwyneth, with Harvey, on [The Talented Mr. Ripley]. I never talked to Gwyneth about it,” Damon said. “Ben told me, but I knew that they had come to whatever agreement or understanding they had come to. She had handled it. She was the first lady of Miramax, and he treated her incredibly respectfully. Always.”
Clooney, who has always been a strong advocate for women’s rights, admitted he knew Weinstein bragged about having affairs with women who were his friends or colleagues.
“Harvey would talk to me about women he had affairs with. I didn’t necessarily believe him quite honestly because it would be to believe the worst about some actresses who were friends of mine,” explained Clooney. “I didn’t think they were going to have affairs with Harvey — and clearly they didn’t.”
Even Clooney didn’t do more than that. He just brushed off Weinstein’s lurid gossip as his own version of locker-room talk. However, Clooney seems truly upset by all of the stories.
“The idea that this predator, this assaulter, is out there silencing women? It’s beyond infuriating, and the fact that the story is coming out now? The more it comes out…” he said. “I want to know all of it.”
Both actors were apologetic about missing some of the signs, but it seems like the lightbulb has gone off in men and women. Hollywood has allowed sexual harassment and sexual assault to be swept under the rug for far too long.
“There has to be a comeuppance for all of this,” Clooney said. “All of the people who were a part of that chain. Then we have to make it safe for people to feel that they can talk about this. And in doing that, I think that will scare away that kind of behavior.”
And for anyone in the entertainment industry who thinks they will get away with this horrific behavior, Clooney has a warning for all of the perpetrators.
“You will be outed, and you will be out of the business,” he said. “More than that, you might be prosecuted.”
If you’re experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and are unsure what to do, call the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 800-669-4000 for help.