Two of Harvey Weinstein’s longtime pals — Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — have been tapped to star in a revenge movie about rape directed by Ridley Scott, and people are not happy about it.
According to Fox News, the acting duo, both of whom had their careers catapulted by #MeToo villain Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s, will be starring in “The Last Duel,” which tells the rather anti-Catholic story about the medieval practice of dueling, which the civil authorities would sometimes permit when an alleged infraction could not be resolved by a court.
“The film will reportedly depict the story of two best friends, Norman knight Jean de Carrouges and squire Jacques Le Gris,” Fox News said of the plot. “When Carrouges goes to war, he returns to learn that his wife accused Le Gris of raping her. After no one believes the woman, the court rules in favor of Le Gris. After the decision is appealed, the men are ordered to fight to the death under the logic that whoever survives will have done so by God’s will — and if Carrouges loses, his wife will be burned at the stake for her allegedly false accusation against Le Gris.”
Though the description does not explain any possible nuance that may erupt in the story, the film at least appears to portray medieval men as being patriarchal superstitious sexists who would burn a potentially innocent woman at the stake at the behest of a church that permitted it. As historians have noted, however, the practice of dueling was largely condemned by the Catholic Church for centuries and carried out by civil authorities, who were operating under a syncretized version of pagan rituals. Here is an extensive history on the attempts made to ban the ugly, wholly unbiblical practice, which began as early as the year 518 A.D.
Historical accuracy and portrayal of medieval men, however, is not the issue people have with the casting of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in “The Last Duel.” It’s the fact they were both friends with alleged rapist and sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein for nearly two decades.
“I’m almost impressed by the clueless unpleasantness of Matt Damon & Ben Affleck’s new movie,” said one Twitter user.
“Have Casey officiate the duel for the chef’s kiss of tone-deafness,” said another user, who was referencing the sexual assault allegations against Ben Affleck’s brother, Casey Affleck.
When the allegations against Affleck’s longtime producer friend Harvey Weinstein first broke, the spotlight quickly found Ben Affleck due to his decades-long friendship with the movie mogul. Despite knowing Weinstein for 20 years, Affleck initially suggested he had not known about Weinstein’s alleged behavior. However, one of Weinstein’s accusers, Rose McGowan, quickly took to social media to castigate Affleck as a liar.
“‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie,” McGowan tweeted.
McGowan’s former manager, Jill Messick, allegedly disputed McGowan’s claims in an email in which she said that her former client’s sexual encounter with Weinstein was consensual. “When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein,” Messick said in an email. “She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.”
Allegations against Affleck, however, quickly morphed from lying enabler to fellow harasser as allegations surfaced that he groped actress Hilarie Burton during an episode of TRL in 2003. Though Affleck apologized, more allegations against Affleck sprang forth alleging that he groped women at parties.