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Matt Damon denies killing 2004 Weinstein story, condemns behavior

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/10/2017 NICOLE BITETTE

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Matt Damon has responded to accusations that he helped stop the New York Times from running a piece on Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct back in 2004, saying "it's not something I would do, for anybody."

The Oscar-winner said in an interview with Deadline that he called New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman at the time, but it was about Fabrizio Lombardo, who ran Miramax's Italian office.

Waxman was the one who revealed in an article for The Wrap published earlier this week that Damon and Russell Crowe called her as she worked on a story about Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.

"Harvey said, Sharon Waxman is writing a story about Fabrizio and it's really negative. Can you just call and tell her what your experience with Fabrizio was," Damon told Deadline. "So I did, and that's what I said to her. It didn't even make the piece that she wrote."

Actor Ben Affleck, producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Matt Damon attend the Film Independent NYC "Live Read" at NYU Skirball Center on October 7, 2016 in New York City. © Provided by New York Daily News Actor Ben Affleck, producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Matt Damon attend the Film Independent NYC "Live Read" at NYU Skirball Center on October 7, 2016 in New York City. Damon, 47, reiterated that he had no knowledge of the rest of the 2004 piece, just that it was a "hit job" on Lombardo, according to Weinstein.

The actor also claims he was unaware that Weinstein allegedly behaved this way with young actresses — dismissing reports that everyone who worked with him knew about it.

"I never saw this [alleged sexual misconduct]. 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," Damon said, declaring that he would have intervened had he witnessed the misconduct.

"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," he continued.

Damon was adamant he would never support the allegations of sexual harassment that stretch back decades.

"Look, even before I was famous, I didn't abide this kind of behavior. But now, as the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night," he told Deadline. "This is the great fear for all of us."

Damon won an Oscar along with Ben Affleck for the Weinstein-backed and distributed "Good Will Hunting" and also worked on several other films with Weinstein, including, "Dogma," "The Brothers Grimm" and "Rounders."

When asked if Damon was having a "difficult past few days," he responded that he's "not the story here."

Russell Crowe attends "The Nice Guys" press conference during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 15, 2016, in Cannes, France. © Provided by New York Daily News Russell Crowe attends "The Nice Guys" press conference during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 15, 2016, in Cannes, France.

"The story is these women and what happened to them. So if I'm experiencing this discomfort, it hardly bears mention. There are some real victims here and they are being incredibly brave," he said. "Hopefully, them going through this experience right now will help them heal. They are who we all should be thinking about."

He also advocated for change — particularly starting with men, who need to protect their “sisters, daughters and mothers.”

“This kind of stuff can’t happen,” the “Jason Bourne” star said. “This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach.”

Affleck also condemned Weinstein's behavior in a statement Tuesday after three women accused the film producer of rape in a New Yorker article.

"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," Affleck said in a statement. "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," he said.

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