Following the exposé that outed Harvey Weinstein's history of sexually assaulting and harassing countless women in the filmmaking industry, details on how the prolific movie producer was able to keep his misconduct under wraps made their way to the public. Sharon Waxman, the founder of The Wrap, has since claimed that an earlier exposé was never released after Weinstein got Russell Crowe and Matt Damon to vouch for the legitimacy of Fabrizio Lombardo, a man reportedly hired to "take care of Weinstein’s women needs."
The actors have been facing backlash ever since the allegations were made, but now The Martian co-star Jessica Chastain has publicly defended Damon.
Waxman claimed that her Weinstein exposé was not allowed to be published back when she worked for The New York Times thanks to the pressure from the Hollywood elite. Because of this, she describes herself as feeling ambivalent in light of the praise that has been showered upon The New York Times, which she believes enabled Weinstein's sickening actions.
After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted. I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall. But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?
Damon has since tried to clarify the situation, explaining his side of the story to Deadline. According to the star of the Bourne movies, he did in fact call Waxman, but not to defend Weinstein or deny the accusations that the producer was facing.
My recollection was that it was about a one minute phone call. Harvey had called me and said, they’re writing a story about Fabrizio, who I knew from 'The Talented Mr. Ripley.' He has organized our premiere in Italy and so I knew him in a professional capacity and I’d had dinner at his house. 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. So I did, and that’s what I said to her. It didn’t even make the piece that she wrote. As I recall, her piece just said that Russell [Crowe] and I had called and relayed our experience with Fabrizio. That was the extent of it and so I was very surprised to see it come back. I was never conscripted to do anything. We vouch for each other, all the time, and it didn’t even make her article.
In the same interview, the actor said that he had no prior knowledge of Weinstein's actions. However, the actor did acknowledge that he had heard rumors about them.
"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. 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. And I will peel my eyes back now, father than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now."
Crowe has yet to give a statement regarding his alleged involvement in the Weinstein scandal.