Afflecks, Matt Damon caught up in Harvey Weinstein firestorm

Friday, 13 October 2017, 07:10:06 PM. Cambridge-bred Hollywood stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck — who owe their careers to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein — are now scrambling to do damage control amid a scandal that threatens to overshadow upcoming movie releases and even their careers.The Affleck brothers and Damon all have been slammed on social media for years of silence, after Weinstein was hit with sexual

Cambridge-bred Hollywood stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck — who owe their careers to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein — are now scrambling to do damage control amid a scandal that threatens to overshadow upcoming movie releases and even their careers.

The Affleck brothers and Damon all have been slammed on social media for years of silence, after Weinstein was hit with sexual assault and harassment accusations. The torrent of tweets and articles spotlighting them comes just weeks ahead of big movie releases.

Ben Affleck returns as Batman opposite Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in the superhero saga “Justice League” Nov. 17. Meanwhile, Damon will star in George Clooney’s darkly comic “Suburbicon” opening on Oct. 27. On Dec. 22 he will be in Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

Affleck has been hit hardest, with actress Rose McGowan — who reportedly settled with Weinstein in 1997 after a hotel-room incident — claiming that Affleck had admitted knowing about Weinstein’s actions 20 years ago, even as he now expressed shock.

Affleck then was forced onto Twitter yesterday to apologize for groping Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV’s “Total Request Live” years ago, as that embarrassing video resurfaced.

“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck tweeted.

The incident came up when a fan reminded Burton on Twitter about it.

“I didn’t forget,” Burton replied, saying later: “I had to laugh back then so I wouldn’t cry.”

Earlier this week, Damon was alleged to have helped kill a 2004 Weinstein expose by then-New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman. Damon insisted he acted innocently when he called Waxman to vouch for an Italian Miramax executive whose duties allegedly involved procuring women for Weinstein. Casey Affleck’s 2010 settlement of harassment accusations by two female co-workers also resurfaced amid the Weinstein scandal.

McGowan earlier this week called out the two Affleck brothers and Damon — who all got their first break in Weinstein’s mega-hit “Good Will Hunting.”

“Hey @mattdamon what’s it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?” she wrote on Twitter, adding later: “Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how’s your morning boys?”

The trio, like Hollywood at large, now face the prospect of a fan backlash like the NFL has experienced over anthem-kneeling, predicted Roger L. Simon, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and conservative commentator.

The Weinstein scandal will cast a shadow over their careers, Simon said, “I think it’s a long shadow, not a short-term thing.”

Simon predicted it will hurt their box office.

“How much, I can’t say. But people are turned off,” Simon said. “I see it in the comment sections online. People are saying, ‘I don’t want to go to their movies.’ ”

He added that the three will find it hard to be credible as liberal advocates as they have in the past.

“These guys are some of the biggest supporters of liberal causes on the planet, and their private lives don’t exactly mesh,” Simon said. “Most people are going to roll their eyes.”

Other observers are waiting to see the numbers.

“The box office is so unpredictable right now, it’s hard to guess how this will affect performance. And comic book movies are so popular, they’re hard to dent,” said Sarah Marrs, a film critic and entertainment writer for Lainey Gossip. “So it depends entirely on how bad it gets for Ben Affleck personally.”

She added it might help that “Justice League” isn’t a Weinstein film.

“But if this breaks the wrong way on Affleck, then it could be a problem, to have their marquee star embattled going into the press tour,” Marrs said.

Marrs said Damon’s “Downsizing” also could be in trouble.

“It’s a smaller movie, the kind it’s getting really hard to convince people to see in theaters,” she said. “And he also hasn’t come off well in the immediate aftermath.”

Matt Stout contributed to this report.

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