You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

George Clooney ‘Glad’ Academy Took Action Against Weinstein: ‘It’s Long Overdue’

Matt Damon and George Clooney added their voices to the particularly prominent dialogue surrounding sexual harassment culture. Their input was prompted by the continuously growing number of allegations being brought to light within the industry, primarily against their former colleague Harvey Weinstein.

At the premiere of “Suburbicon” Sunday night in Los Angeles, Clooney addressed past sexual harassment cases, specifically those involving Bill Cosby and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, which didn’t ignite change quite the way they should have.

“We hope this is a watershed moment for us as a society, where women feel safe enough to talk about this issue, feel believed, and where men who are committing these crimes, these violations, don’t feel safe, and feel as if, if they do these things, they’re going to be outed, they’re going to be sued, they may even get litigated, maybe go to jail for it,” he told reporters on the red carpet.

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.”

He also responded to Woody Allen’s comments to the BBC, in which Allen warned against a “witch hunt” around Weinstein.

“That’s a stupid thing to say,” Clooney said. “The reality is, it’s not a witch hunt to these women who are trapped in a hotel room and told they’re going to get a part and, suddenly, here comes Harvey Weinstein in his birthday suit. That’s not a witch hunt; that’s an assault.”

Clooney commended Hollywood’s response to the scandal, namely stripping Weinstein of his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“I’m surprised, since we haven’t seen that happen before,” he said. “We’ve seen some pretty bad behavior by some people before, and we haven’t seen it.”

Clooney went on, “I’m glad it happened, it’s long overdue. I think once people knew, that was the only decision they could possibly make. If they didn’t do it, it would be a terrible mess.”

The slow unraveling of events, however, disappointed Clooney.

“It’s also infuriating when I read stories about reporters who did investigations and said, ‘I had a story and didn’t print it for 10 years,'” he said. “You go, ‘Why wouldn’t you print that story?’ I would have liked to have seen it. And I’d like to know who brought actresses up to Harvey Weinstein’s room and left. I’d like to know that.”

Moving forward, he added, “Maybe don’t do meetings in hotel rooms. How about that?”

Damon, who stars in the film, said the fallout of Weinstein “remains to be seen.” Still, he’s confident there will be “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.

Damon pointed to social media movements for providing a platform where conversation can prosper.

“Social media has given everybody a voice,” he said. “Women realize that they’re not alone and that their voice matters. That means behavior is going to change. It has to change.”

Damon expressed his optimism about this being an inflection point in the culture of sexual harassment.

“Maybe I’m totally naive, I just don’t see how somebody could even think they could get away with this anymore in this day and age,” Damon said.

Damon recently denied claims that Weinstein asked him to help kill a 2004 New York Times story about the mogul’s history of sexual harassment.

Clooney’s producing partner, Grant Heslov, said the swift decision to expel Weinstein from the Academy shows the industry is moving in the right direction.

“I’m just surprised more people haven’t been kicked out,” Heslov told Variety. “He’s not the only person who has done dastardly things.”

The silver lining in all this, Heslov said, is “the ballon has been burst.”

“It’s going to be much harder for people to use their power because people will speak up and hopefully feel safe,” he said. “These idiots and animals, whoever is doing this, hopefully they get found out.”

(Pictured: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and George Clooney at the premiere of “Suburbicon”)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Samara Weaving and Adam Brody Big

    'Ready or Not': That Time Samara Weaving Hit Andie MacDowell in the Face

    Samara Weaving didn’t mean to hurt Andie MacDowell, but she did just that while they were rehearsing for their new horror dark comedy “Ready or Not.” “I hit Andie MacDowell in the face by accident,” Weaving says on this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast. “It was horrible. It was [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • Tom Holland'Spider-Man: Homecoming' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Tom Holland Addresses Spider-Man’s Studio Divorce at D23: ‘I Love You 3000’

    British actor Tom Holland showed face on the main stage at D23 on Saturday, in the thick of an ugly studio battle over the rights to his iconic Marvel character Spider-Man. Headlines have been rolling in for days about the contentious battle for the cinematic future of the hero, after Sony Pictures became unwilling to [...]

  • Soul Movie

    Pixar's 'Soul' Announces Voice Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey to Star

    Disney debuted a first look at upcoming Pixar film “Soul” at the D23 expo in Anaheim, Calif. and announced its star-studded voice cast. “Soul” imagines that every person on earth comes pre-installed with a soul formed and perfected in a cosmic realm. Jamie Foxx will play a middle-school music teacher on earth who dreams of [...]

  • Emma Stone Variety Actors on Actors

    First Look at Emma Stone in Disney's Live-Action 'Cruella' Drops

    Emma Stone’s Cruella de Vil is significantly more punk rock than her animated counterpart. Stone appeared via video message to debut the first look of the titular character in Disney’s “Cruella” at D23 on Saturday, also revealing that it will take place in the punk rock era of the 1970s. In the first photo, Stone [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content