It has been almost entertaining watching a number of Hollywood’s male celebrities attempt to deal with Harvey Weinstein’s downfall.
While many actresses came forward with either their own stories of abuse or with condemnations of Weinstein and men like him, the men of Hollywood were offering a different kind of response. And any thoughtful discourse about Hollywood’s culture of misogyny that men could offer has seemed stymied by their attempts distance themselves from Weinstein despite working with him and benefiting from his behavior.
For example, throughout the last nearly 10 days, Matt Damon has been decrying Weinstein, “championing women,” trying to convince everyone that he wasn’t trying to get that Weinstein story killed, reminding everyone that he cares because he now has daughters, making sure it’s clear he did not know about Weinstein’s transgressions, and most importantly, reassuring everyone that had he known, Weinstein would not have gotten away with it.
This morning, Damon and George Clooney sat down with Good Morning America to talk about Weinstein, and after waxing poetic about how much of a bully Weinstein was, Damon admitted (text via ABC News):
“I knew he was ... a womanizer,” Damon added. “I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But ... the criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought ... was going on. Absolutely not.”
Hmmm…seems like the womanizing part is pretty essential to the sexual predation part, but OK. At least he didn’t know about the kind of harassment that could be considered criminal? Oh wait: Damon straight-up admitted that he knew for many, many years that Weinstein had harassed Gwyneth Paltrow. So weird!
“I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck],” Damon added, referring to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently claimed she was forced to rebuff unwanted advances from Weinstein.
“I never talked to Gwyneth about it. Ben told me ... but I knew that ... they had come to whatever, you know, agreement or understanding that they had come to, she had handled it,” Damon said. “She was, you know, the First Lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully.”
This of course seems suspicious, as Damon had told Deadline, “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. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view.” Yes, Weinstein went out of his way to hide what he put women through. But again, people knew. It kind of seems like Damon thinks you literally have to witness a woman being abused by Weinstein firsthand in order to have a sense of responsibility about that matter.
“If he did ... if there was ever an event or something that I was at in public with Harvey, and he was doing this kind of thing ... I missed it.”
Damon added that if Weinstein ever harassed women at a public event, “and I somehow missed it, then I’m sorry.”
In true clueless fake male ally fashion, Damon has managed to render himself a victim and patronize women in this situation. It’s not like anyone expected him to be on Weinstein Watch, constantly on the lookout for harassment, and that women were harassed by that no-good Weinstein because Damon failed them. They expected him to believe women, and to do something about it.
Nice try, Matt Damon.