Over the past week, investigative journalists at the New York Times and the New Yorker have uncovered seriously stomach-churning allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein. The reports alone are horrific, but we know that Weinstein got away with abuse for so long because a network of complicit friends, colleagues and subordinates helped keep him in his role at The Weinstein Company.
One of those alleged to be complicit is Good Will Hunting star Matt Damon. Yesterday, Vulture reported that a journalist named Sharon Waxman, who founded the Wrap, was working on an exposé of Weinstein in 2004 for the New York Times. The story was killed, though she'd invested a significant amount of investigative time in the piece. Vulture writes that Matt Damon may have been partly to blame:
"Waxman alleges in the Wrap that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her “directly” to dispel the reports she was following about Miramax’s Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo, who was allegedly hired "to take care of Weinstein’s women needs". She says that because of their influence, and interference from Weinstein, whose company was a big advertiser in the Times, the article was edited to remove the more salacious details. Damon and Crowe had previously worked with Weinstein on pictures like Good Will Hunting, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Cinderella Man."
Now, Matt Damon has spoken to Deadline to explain his side of the story. "For the record, I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that. I just wouldn’t do that. It’s not something I would do, for anybody" ("kill" in this context is journalistic parlance for stopping a story from being published), and explains that he reached out to Waxman to clarify rumours.
"My recollection was that it was about a one minute phone call. Harvey had called me and said, they’re writing a story about Fabrizio, who I knew from The Talented Mr. Ripley. He had organised our premiere in Italy and so I knew him in a professional capacity and I’d had dinner at his house. Harvey said, 'Sharon Waxman is writing a story about Fabrizio and it’s really negative. Can you just call and tell her what your experience with Fabrizio was?' So I did, and that’s what I said to her. It didn’t even make the piece that she wrote," says Damon.
He goes on to say that men have a responsibility. "Men are a huge part of [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."
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