- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2017

Actor Matt Damon said friend Ben Affleck once told him a sexual harassment story involving Harvey Weinstein, but he denies knowing the “level of criminal sexual predation” that upended the producer’s career.

Mr. Damon and George Clooney, who stopped by ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week to promote their new movie “Suburbicon” for Paramount Pictures, discussed their time at Mr. Weinstein’s Miramax Films, including Mr. Damon’s turn in 1999’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” in which he co-starred with Gwyneth Paltrow.

“When people say everybody knew, yeah I knew he was an a—hole. He was proud of that,” the actor said. “You know what I mean? That’s how he carried himself. I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy, but it’s not my business really. 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 from Ben because he was with her after Brad [Pitt], and so I knew that story, but I was working with Gwyneth on ‘Ripley.’

“I never talked to Gwyneth about it,” Mr. Damon said. “Ben told me. But I knew that they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to. She had handled it. She was, you know, the first lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully — always.”

Mr. Clooney also claimed ignorance of any criminal behavior, adding, “There has to be a comeuppance for all of this. All of the people who were part of that chain. And then, we have to make it safe for people to feel that they can talk about it.”

Their remarks came 10 days after actor Seth Rogan told The Hollywood Reporter that “everyone” who was close to Mr. Weinstein knew of his sexual predilections.

“I think someone like him, everyone knows,” Mr. Rogan said Oct. 13. “I remember one of the first stories you heard about him involved inappropriate sexual misconduct, you know? … I know that people would say to me when I would refuse to work with him, ‘he’s old school’ and stuff like that. There is kind of like a wink and an acceptance of that sort of behavior.”

Weinstein Company’s board fired the producer on Oct. 8. Hachette Book Group ended Weinstein Books four days later.

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