Matt Damon defends himself amid Harvey Weinstein scandal fallout


"Harvey had called me and said, they're writing a story about Fabrizio, who I knew from 'The Talented Mr. Ripley.' He has organized our premiere in Italy and so I knew him in a professional capacity and I'd had dinner at his house", Damon explained.

"That was the extent of it and so I was very surprised to see it come back".

In the article, Waxman had alleged Lombardo procured women for Weinstein and that he knew nothing about the film industry. Some of those incidents overlap with the eight allegations of sexual harassment previously reported by The New York Times, all of which resulted in financial settlements. "It's not something I would do, for anybody", Damon told Deadline.

He added later in the interview: "This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach".

Responding to the claims in an article forDeadline, Damon insisted Weinstein had asked him to call Waxman to vouch for Fabrizio Lombardo, who ran Miramax's Italian office, the distribution company for Weinstein, and Damon agreed to call the reporter. Whether it didn't jibe with her was an incomplete rendering of someone that I was giving but I had perfectly professional experiences with Fabrizio and I didn't mind telling her that. In a statement to The New Yorker, a spokesperson for the producer said, "Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances". It didn't even make the piece that she wrote.

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Waxman also said she traveled to London and met with a woman "who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein".

"Because we know that it happens", he continued. "I feel frightful for these women and it's wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now".

His spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister added that Weinstein "has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path" with the hope that one day he's given "a second chance".

Since the publication of Waxman's piece, Damon (and other men who've had working relationships with Weinstein) have drawn criticism.

Weinstein famously championed Damon and Ben Affleck's 1997 film Good Will Hunting, which he produced and distributed through his former company Miramax. Damon said that Weinstein had characterized Waxman's story to him as "being a negative piece, a hit job on Fabrizio, was what Harvey was saying".

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"Look, even before I was famous, I didn't abide this kind of behaviour", he said. This is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night.

Clooney said he is disturbed to now learn that women's sexual contacts with Weinstein apparently weren't consensual or that they felt pressured to have sex with him so they could get work. This is the great fear for all of us.

Weinstein was sacked from The Weinstein Company Sunday and denied in a statement to The New Yorker that he ever forced a woman to have sex or that he engaged in acts of retaliation against women who rebuffed his advances.

Regardless what you think about the statements from Affleck and Damon, it's clear there's a much deeper problem that needs to be addressed here.

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