After their own stumbles (well-meaning but insensitive remarks from Damon, as well as suspicion that he had helped kill a story years ago; embarrassing old video of Affleck seemingly groping Hilarie Burton on TRL in 2003) in the aftermath of the slew of sexual assault and harassment allegations laid out against Weinstein, followed by dozens of other prominent men, starting in October 2017, Affleck and Damon tried to make it clear that they wanted to be part of the solution as Hollywood moves forward as a more equitable, inclusive, safe place to work.
“We know this stuff goes on in the world. I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this,” Damon told Deadline. “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.”
Affleck said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that hearing about Weinstein’s “terrible crimes” did affect how he felt about the movies they’d made together. “It sort of tainted that a little bit to realize while we were having these experiences and making these movies, there were people who were suffering and dealing with awful experiences,” the actor said. “I didn’t really know what to do with that, you know? It’s hard to know.”
He said he’d be donating residuals from his Miramax films to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Film Independent.
Ultimately, Affleck added, “I thought I had a sense of the scope of the problem and I thought I understood it, and the truth is I really didn’t.”
Then, that December, Damon’s dad, Kent, died after a long bout with cancer, and while Damon was devastated, his father’s death hit Affleck really hard too.
“The guy is like a brother to me and there are ups and downs in life,” Damon shared with People in March 2018 at a Water.org event in New York. “It was a bad year for him, too. He was very, very close to my father, they had a great relationship. Loved each other a lot. So last year was no real picnic for him either.”
That summer, Affleck returned to rehab for 40 days, after which he continued with outpatient treatment and the never-ending efforts that go into the process of staying sober, his support system—Garner, his kids, his parents, brother Casey and best friend Matt—intact from years past.