Matt Damon responded on Tuesday to claims that Harvey Weinstein asked him to help kill a New York Times story about Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment that was allegedly in the works more than a decade before the bombshell reports published over the past few days.
The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman alleged while she was reporting for the New York Times in 2004, Weinstein requested Damon call her to speak positively about producer Fabrizio Lombardo, who was thought to be involved in setting Weinstein up with women.
In an interview with Deadline on Tuesday, Damon said he was unaware of what Waxman’s story was about when he called. “For the record, I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that,” Damon told Deadline. “I just wouldn’t do that. It’s not something I would do, for anybody.”
Waxman has since endorsed Damon’s statement. “He called me briefly, wasn’t informed — nor [should] he have been — [about] investigative aspect of piece,” she wrote on Twitter.
This comes after the Times dismissed Waxman’s claims that the paper spiked her story because of pressure from Weinstein. “Sharon has now had more than a decade to pursue this story unencumbered by me or any New York Times editor,” Jonathan Landman, a former Times editor, told Politico. “Why, if she had the goods on Weinstein in 2004, has she been unable or unwilling to publish something in the Wrap, where she was in charge? Could it be because she didn’t actually have the goods then, now or in between?”
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In the interview with Deadline, Damon addressed his interactions with Waxman. “As I recall, her piece just said that Russell [Crowe] and I had called and relayed our experience with Fabrizio,” he said. “That was the extent of it, and so I was very surprised to see it come back. I was never conscripted to do anything. We vouch for each other, all the time, and it didn’t even make her article. Whether it didn’t jibe with her storyline…it 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.”
Damon said he assumed Crowe was involved in the same scope. “Russell worked over there too and must have known Fabrizio in a professional capacity because he was running Miramax Italy. He must have done a movie for Harvey around that time and must have a similar kind of conversation with her. Because nothing he said made it into that article, either. It was just a mention of our names.”
The actor has worked with Weinstein on a number of movies, and said not everyone was aware of Weinstein’s actions, including himself.
“This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view,” Damon said. “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. And I will peel my eyes back now, farther than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.”