The collective shock felt by members of Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal has now turned to rage, and calls for the mogul and those who aided him to be punished for their actions.
That charge is being led by George Clooney, who sat down with ‘Today’ to discuss the scandal alongside the stars of his new film ‘Suburbicon,’ Matt Damon and Julianne Moore.
Clooney once again reiterated that he was unaware of any criminal behavior, but confessed he does know of people who were complicit in supplying Weinstein with victims.
‘Most of the rumors I knew, were from Harvey himself. I had an affair with in actress or that actress,’ said Clooney.
‘Somebody knew. There were people that brought young actresses to his hotel room.’
Mad as hell: George Clooney spoke about the Harvey Weinstein scandal on ‘Today,’ and voiced his anger about the fact that people have known for years
Call for change: Also speaking out with Clooney were the stars of his new film ‘Suburbicon,’ Julianne Moore and Matt Damon (above)
Clooney also lashed out at media outlets that knew of this behavior and opted to kill stories on the executive.
‘Whoever had that story and didn’t write it, should be responsible. I want to know what kind of ad dollars were spent from the Weinstein Company and Miramax,’ said the actor and director.
‘We should have known this. This is violating women. This is assault. This is – this is silencing women.’
Clooney later said: ‘I’m furious. Yeah. He’s mean to work with. I knew that for a fact. But the idea that he’s, you know, committed these kinds of atrocities. I want to know who knew.’
One of the people who had some idea was his friend Damon, who in his interview repeated the story he told on ‘Good Morning America’ on day prior.
‘I knew the Gwyneth story. We worked on ‘[The Talented Mr.] Ripley.’ But Ben had told me about it. At that point, Harvey was incredibly respectful of her always,’ explained Damon.
Morales then asked what he would have done were he able to go back in time, knowing that these potential crimes were being committed by his boss.
‘I don’t know what I would have done, you know? I heard from Ben, who heard from Gwyneth that this happened,’ explained Damon.
‘He was a bully. He was intimidating. That was part of who he was. And I’ve been reading these stories because I am wracking my brain, did I see something? Could I have known something? Is there something I would have done?’
He later noted; ‘I hope that he’s prosecuted for some of these things. I hope some of the charges stand.’
Moore meanwhile is hoping that this horrific story be viewed as a crime, and that the salacious details do not take away from the awful incidents these women were subjected to by the disgraced mogul.
‘I think it’s important when we discuss this thing, rather than being salacious conversation, this is criminal behavior,’ said Moore.
‘That’s the most important thing. Rather than continue to discuss what could have happened or whatever, what if, what if. I think it’s important to think: What can we do?’
Mad Matt: Damon, who said he knew that Gwyneth Paltrow had been sexually harassed by Weinstein, said he did not know what he could have done at the time
Aiding and abetting: ‘There were people that brought young actresses to his hotel room,’ said Clooney, later adding he was still ‘furious’ over the scandal (Weinstein, Clooney and Damon above in 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival)
Damon’s revelation that he learned about Weinstein’s behavior from his friend Affleck seemed as though it would cause even more problems for the embattled actor as it appears to contradict his initial statement, but thus far there has been no backlash.
‘I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,’ said Affleck almost one week after news of the scandal broke in a carefully-worded response that seemed to suggest he had never before heard any of the allegations.
Damon’s decision to characterize the relationship between Paltrow and Weinstein as ‘always’ respectful is a bit odd as well, considering her admission that she had been sexually harassed by the mogul is part of the reason the men were sitting down for the interview.
Clooney meanwhile had previously spoke about Weinstein’s self-proclaimed voracious appetite for stars on ‘GMA.’
‘Harvey would talk to me about women that he had had affairs with,’ said Clooney.
‘I didn’t necessarily believe him quite honestly, because to believe him would be to believe the worst of some actresses who were friends of mine, and I didn’t really think that they had affairs with Harvey – and clearly they didn’t.
He then added: ‘But the idea that this predator, this assaulter was out there silencing women like that, it’s beyond infuriating. And the fact that the story is coming out now and the more it comes out, I want to know all of it.’
Avoiding: Moore said she was never once left alone with Weinstein (pair above in 2002)
Damon was a bit more blunt in his assessment of Weinstein’s persona, having witnessed it first-hand when he starred in a string of Miramax films during the mid to late nineties
He was one of the few that had been part of the exclusive coterie of actor and actresses the studio favored at the height of Weinstein’s power.
‘He bought “Good Will Hunting” and shot it in ’97 and I did three movies after that, he signed me to a three-picture deal,’ explained Damon.
‘That was the height of his power.’
He continued: ‘I mean, you had to spend about five minutes to know he was a bully. He was intimidating. That was his – that was his legend. That was his whole kind of M.O.’
This description of the movie boss also lines up with the accounts given be the victims, who said they could not turn down the powerful executive when he made demands to meet them in a hotel room or asked them to succumb to his demands.
‘Like could you survive a meeting with Harvey. Could you survive – could you stand up for yourself with Harvey,’ Damon went on to say in a poorly elected turn of phrase.
‘So when people say, “Everybody knew,” like, yeah, I knew he was an a**hole. I mean, he was proud of that. You know what I mean? That’s how he carried himself.’
He then stated: ‘I knew he was a womanizer. You know, I wouldn’t want be to married to the guy but I’m not – it’s not my business really.’
Damon later said that many were unaware because the incidents too place behind closed doors.
‘He didn’t do it out in the open,’ said Damon.
‘If there was ever an event where there was something I was at with Harvey in public and he was doing this thing and I missed it, and there’s some woman who was somehow assaulted and was at the Golden Globes or something and I somehow missed it, then I’m sorry.’
Clooney wrapped up that interview by stating the sexual harassment and assault that is now being revealed in Hollywood is not exclusive to that industry.
‘There has to be a comeuppance for all of that, all those people part of the chain and then have to make it safe to feel people can talk about this, and in doing that I think that will scare away that kind of behavior, ‘ said Clooney.
‘But more than anything, you’re going to have to have a warning shot over the bow of anyone that would act like that that you will be outed and out of the business and more than that you might be prosecuted.’
He then name dropped his famous wife Amal by going on to say: ‘I talked with my wife about this, and she said she could find in her line of work, which is human rights law, there have been plenty of instances where some guy in power has tried to make their move.’
Clooney said that the sad reality is, most women deal with this behavior.
‘I think that’s a little bit of a surprise to some of us, that it’s this big, that it’s this prevalent,’ said Clooney.
‘And maybe that’s something else that’s good is that we’re going to have these discussions and have this conversation and again we’ll make it harder for it to happen.’
Talented: Damon and Jude Law with Gwyneth Paltrow on the set of ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ (above)
Paltrow detailed her encounter with Weinstein for the second New York Times expose.
‘I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,’ said Paltrow, who revealed that when she was told to meet Weinstein in his hotel room she did not think anything suspicious of it because it came on a fax from Creative Artists Agency.
Once she arrived at the hotel, he began to massage her and then asked her to join him in the bedroom.
She rejected his advance and drove away devastated, thinking: ‘I thought you were my Uncle Harvey.’
She told then-boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident she said, who then confronted Weinstein.
Weinstein came back to the actress and told her to never tell anyone what happened between them again.
‘He screamed at me for a long time,’ said Paltrow.
‘It was brutal.’
A few years later she was a superstar and Oscar winner, but she did not have the power to share her story.
‘I was expected to keep the secret,’ said Paltrow, who called Weinstein ‘alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying.’
She has now decided however to no longer staying quiet.
‘We’re at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over,’ said Paltrow.
‘This way of treating women ends now.’
Weinstein is said to be in rehab but there has still been nothing to prove this claim, and now over 60 women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
‘Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances,’ said a spokesperson for Weinstein.
‘Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.
‘Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.’