Like most of Hollywood, George Clooney was outraged. After more than 50 women went public in October with accusations including sexual harassment, assault, and rape against mega-producer Harvey Weinstein — who gave George his first big breaks as both a film actor and director — the A-list star railed against the mogul, 65, while claiming he had no idea what his old friend had done.

“He would say, you know, ‘I had an affair with this actress or that actress,’” George said in a Today interview that aired on Oct. 24. “But the idea that he’s committed these kinds of atrocities… I want to know who knew.”

george clooney harvey weinstein getty
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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Critics point out that he and his friends should have known. His buddy Matt Damon, 47, even confessed — while sitting right next to George, 56, to promote their new movie, Suburbicon, in an interview with Good Morning America that aired on Oct. 23 — that he’d heard that the mogul sexually harassed Gwyneth Paltrow years ago. But instead of criticizing his fellow stars for staying silent all these years, George instead blamed the media for failing to expose Harvey’s wrongdoings.

Critics pounced. A scathing column in the New York Post called George and others “hypocrites,” questioned his “flimsy assertion that he knew next to nothing” and suggested that some actors may have “traded their own consciences for careers” when it came to Harvey’s behavior.

“Minimizing the sexual harassment and predatory behavior of Weinstein was convenient
for powerful men in Hollywood,” Noreen Farrell of exclusively tells In Touch. “Clearly, many chose to ignore the obvious.” But George was quick to condemn journalists for doing nothing. “Whoever had that story and didn’t write it,” he said, “should be held responsible.” That’s rich, charge his critics.

George’s rep didn’t respond to requests for comment. But regardless of who knew what and when more male A-listers should be taking responsibility, says famed attorney Gloria Allred. “This wasn’t a secret in Hollywood. The days of looking the other way are over,” the women’s rights attorney, who represents a handful of Harvey’s alleged victims, tells In Touch. “Women are now empowered to come forward, and they should have these men in powerful positions to stand with them.”

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