George Clooney, Matt Damon and other stars who had a close working relationship with former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein could have stopped his tyranny of sexual assault… but didn’t. Now they’re trying to figure out why?
Many of the A-list actors and actresses owed their careers–and Oscars–to the movie mogul.
Weinstein, for example, was instrumental in giving Clooney his first big break in feature films in the 1996 movie “Dusk Till Dawn.”
The horror film, directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino, was distributed by Miramax Films, then owned by Harvey and Bob Weinstein.
It starred Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis.
Clooney said he was aware of Weinstein’s behavior, but discounted the stories he heard.
“I don’t want to say the rumors, because most of the rumors that I knew were from Harvey himself,” he told “Today’s” Natalie Morales.
“He would say, you know, ‘I had an affair with this actress or that actress.’ And, you know, I took all that with a grain of salt. I thought he might have been chasing them,” Clooney said.
Others, especially people in power had to know and didn’t act, Clooney said.
“There were people that brought young actresses to his hotel room,” the actor explained. “We should have known this. This is violating women. This is assault. This is silencing women.”
Tarantino, also worked with Weinstein on such films as “Pulp Fiction” told The New York Times he “knew enough to do more” but failed to act.
“There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip,” Tarantino said “It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Earlier this month, The Times broke the story about Weinstein’s reign of terror after actress Ashley Judd and others came forward.
Damon, who also got his first big break thanks to Weinstein did know about one of the mogul’s sexual assaults, and did nothing.
“I am racking my brain,” he said. “Did I see something? Could I have known something? Is there something I could have done?”
Damon has since acknowledged he was aware that Weinstein had sexually harassed actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Brad Pitt, who was dating Paltrow at the time, also knew about it and told Weinstein to back off. But he never went public.
When asked if he ever thought about confronting Harvey, Matt said: “I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
Weinstein was instrumental in producing “Good Will Hunting” the 1997 drama written by Damon and Ben Affleck. Both starred in the film with Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård and the late Robin Williams.
Matt added on ABC’s “Good Morning America:”
“You had to spend about five minutes with him to know that he was a bully and he was intimidating…that was his whole kind of M.O. When people say ‘everybody knew,’ yeah I knew. I knew he was an asshole. He was proud of that. I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. This level of criminal sexual predation (sic) was not something I ever thought was going on.”
Affleck was caught up in the Weinstein scandal when Hilarie Burton revealed that he groped her breasts during an MTV interview in 2003.
He apologized after she revealed the incident on Twitter earlier this month.
Affleck also had this to say about Weinstein:
“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. The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.”
Julianne Moore, who also worked with Weinstein, now says the important thing is to direct the conversation to the real problem.
“This is criminal behavior,” she said. “He’s got to face justice,” he said. “He’s got to face what he’s done.”
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.