Matt Damon denies helping axe Weinstein sex scandal story in 2004, condemns producer

Ben Arnold

Matt Damon has denied he had any part in helping to axe a story in the New York Times about Harvey Weinstein’s sexually inappropriate behaviour in 2004, and has condemned the Hollywood producer.

Sharon Waxman, who founded the movie business website The Wrap, yesterday claimed that while working for the Times, Damon and Russell Crowe both called her personally to defend former Miramax employee Fabrizio Lombardo, who she claimed was employed by the company for the sole reason of helping procure escorts for Weinstein and organising his ‘women needs’.

Speaking to Deadline, Damon denied he helped to derail the story, and said he was never told what it was about.

He clarified that he had spoken to the reporter to vouch for Lombardo, who he worked with on ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, after being asked to do so by Weinstein.

He also spoke out about the allegations of rape and sexual assault against Weinstein, who launched his career when he bought the script for his breakthrough movie ‘Good Will Hunting’, which he co-wrote with Ben Affleck and was made into an Oscar-winner by Miramax.

“Even before I was famous, I didn’t abide this kind of behavior. But now, as the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night. This is the great fear for all of us,” he said.

“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,” he added.

“This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn’t see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it.

“I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.”

He went on to say that speaking out about what goes on behind closed doors in Hollywood is ‘overdue’.

“Men are a huge part of that change, and we have to be vigilant and we have to help protect and call this stuff out because we have our sisters and our daughters and our mothers. This kind of stuff can’t happen. This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach,” he said.

Ben Affleck, who also benefitted from Weinstein’s patronage in his early career, has also condemned him.

However, despite his condemnation, Rose McGowan, who is among those who it’s alleged Weinstein assaulted, has accused him of lying, and that he knew about the producer’s behaviour all along.

Weinstein is reportedly leaving the US for Europe to check into a rehab clinic for sex addiction.

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