BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon say they are sickened by allegations of sexual assault and harassment made by numerous women against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein has now been accused of raping three women according to a story published by The New Yorker, and star actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie came out Tuesday with their own stories of alleged harassment at the hands of Weinstein.
Affleck and Damon’s breakout film “Good Will Hunting” was produced by Weinstein. Affleck called the allegations “completely unacceptable.”
“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 on Facebook. “The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick.”
Damon, who grew up with Affleck in Cambridge, says he never saw any predatory behavior from Harvey Weinstein but that the stories have made him “sick to my stomach.”
Damon tells the trade website Deadline Tuesday that change is necessary and overdue and that men have to be part of that. He praised the courage of the women who have spoken out with allegations against Weinstein.
Attorneys for Weinstein did not immediately return messages Tuesday. The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister responding that “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. 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,” said Hofmeister. “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.”
Boston women’s rights attorney Wendy Murphy thinks even more victims will come forward.
“I wish I could say I’m shocked, but I’m not,” Murphy said.
“Not everybody wants to file a lawsuit, not everybody wants to testify in criminal court but it’s an interesting question, how many of the women who’ve been hurt, even know their rights? Often women don’t come forward and they don’t demand justice because they don’t know their rights.”
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The New Yorker story, written and researched by the NBC correspondent Ronan Farrow, claimed that thirteen women have said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them between 1990 and 2015. The incidents described range from unwanted groping to forced sex. Some of those incidents overlap with the eight allegations of sexual harassment previously reported by The New York Times, all of which resulted in financial settlements.
But they also go much further. In the article, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino are among those who claim Weinstein sexually harassed them. Arquette described a 1990s incident at a Beverly Hills hotel in which Weinstein tried to make her give him a massage and then attempted to lead her hand to his penis. Afterward, the actress told the magazine, “He made things very difficult for me for years.”
Jolie also told the Times that she has “a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth.” Since, she said, she has refused to work with him and “warn others when they did.”
Weinstein was fired Sunday from the Weinstein Company, which he founded in 2005.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)