In a Wrap article by Sharon Waxman, the former New York Times reporter claimed that she tried to file a story about Weinstein's alleged history of sexual misconduct in 2004, but the piece was cut after pressure from Hollywood elites like Damon and Russell Crowe. Waxman, who founded The Wrap in 2009, claimed that Damon and Crowe called her "directly" to shut down reports she was following about Miramax's Italian head, Fabrizio Lombardo, who was allegedly hired "to take care of Weinstein's women needs."
Damon denied that he tried to put a stop to the Weinstein story in his interview with Deadline, explaining that he made a "one-minute phone call" to Waxman at Weinstein's request.
"Harvey had called me and said, they're writing a story about Fabrizio, who I knew from The Talented Mr. Ripley," Damon recalled. "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 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. Whether it didn’t jibe with her storyline…it was an incomplete rendering of someone that I was giving but I had perfectly professional experiences with Fabrizio and I didn’t mind telling her that," Damon continued. "I’m sure I mentioned to her that I didn’t know anything about the rest of her piece, because I didn’t. And I still don’t know anything about that and Fabrizio. My experience with him was all above board and that’s what I told her."
"I just remember it being a negative piece, a hit job on Fabrizio, was what Harvey was saying. Basically, that he had no professional experience," he added. "Harvey said, 'You worked with him. Can you tell her that he was a professional and you had a good experience?' and that was it. I didn’t mind doing it, because that was all true."
Damon said he has since spoken to Waxman, and claimed to Deadline that she apologized "about this thing coming out."
"For the record, I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that," he declared. "I just wouldn't do that. It's not something I would do, for anybody."
Waxman tweeted on Tuesday that she endorses Damon's statement. "He called me briefly,wasn't informed - nor shld he have been - abt investigative aspect of piece," she wrote, alongside a screenshot from Damon's Deadline interview.
Damon -- who worked with Weinstein on "five or six movies," including 1997's Good Will Hunting, which he won an Oscar for -- said he never witnessed Weinstein sexually harass anyone.
"Everybody's saying we all knew. That's not true," he insisted. "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."
"We can all feel this change that’s happening, which is necessary and overdue. Men are a huge part of that change, and we have to be vigilant and we have to help protect and call this stuff out because we have our sisters and our daughters and our mothers," Damon said. "This kind of stuff can’t happen. This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach."
In a statement to ET, Weinstein's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, called the New York Times report "saturated with false and defamatory statements." He also said Weinstein and his team are planning to file a lawsuit, with any proceeds being donated to women's organizations.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Weinstein's spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, issued a statement after The New Yorker published an article that includes allegations made by Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Asia Argento and others.
“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," the statement reads. "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.”