Harveygate: Clooney and Matt Damon Discuss Weinstein’s Misconduct

Stars George Clooney and Matt Damon spoke out against Harvey Weinstein, the mogul who helped launch both of their careers, alleging they didn’t know the extent of Weinstein’s misconduct.

“When people say like, ‘Everybody knew,’ Like, yeah, I knew he was an a—hole,” Damon told ABC News in a joint interview with Clooney. “He was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself. I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But this level of criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.”

Clooney said Weinstein talked to him about women he had affairs with, though Clooney didn’t believe him.

“I didn’t really think that they were going to have affairs with Harvey, quite honestly. And clearly they didn’t. But the idea that this predator, this assaulter, was out there silencing women like that, it’s beyond infuriating,” Clooney told ABC News.

“You had to spend about five minutes with him to know that he was a bully,” Damon said. “He was intimidating. Miramax was the place, really the place, that was making great stuff in the ’90s. And it was like, ‘Could you survive Harvey?’” While Weinstein wa difficult to work with, Damon said the sexual harassment allegations were not common knowledge.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Damon said he did hear about Gwyneth Paltrow’s experience from Ben Affleck. Damon worked with Paltrow and Weinstein on “The Talented Mr. Ripley” in 1999.  “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,” Damon said. “She was the first lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully.”

Damon said Weinstein’s “darkness” was done in private, and he never saw it take place.

“What makes something like this so horrific is that these are women and actresses who are pursuing their dreams,” Damon said. “They’re doing everything right. And suddenly they found themselves alone with a predator.”

Clooney and Damon addressed the Weinstein scandal and culture of sexual harassment at the premiere of the Clooney-directed “Suburbicon” on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

“We hope this is a watershed moment for us as a society, where women feel safe enough to talk about this issue, feel believed,” Clooney told reporters on the red carpet, adding that he hopes men who commit these violations fear jail time.

Clooney continued, “If we can get to that point, we’ve actually succeeded and this thing won’t just end up being Harvey Weinstein jokes in three months.”

Damon, who stars in the film, said these allegations will prompt “massive systemic change.”

“The fact that somebody that powerful, his career has been completely ruined, that’s a real message to anybody who would behave like this,” Damon said.