Matt Damon is once again stirring the pot when it comes to sharing his opinions on sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood. The “Downsizing” actor joined Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers for a video interview and expressed his belief that the punishment should fit the crime when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations, meaning not all men should be punished the same if the type of misconduct is different.
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior,” Damon says. “And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
Damon admits that all sexually inappropriate behavior “needs to be confronted,” but he also says that a “continuum” exists between certain examples of harassment and abuse. According to Damon, rape and child molestation are criminal while “other stuff” is simply just “shameful and gross.”
“All of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum,” he says. “And on this end of the continuum where you have rape and child molestation or whatever, you know, that’s prison. Right? And that’s what needs to happen. Okay? And then we can talk about rehabilitation and everything else. That’s criminal behavior, and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross.”
To prove his own point, Damon explains the difference between accused predators Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken. The former has been accused of both sexual harassment and rape, while the latter has been accused of groping women and was even photographed touching a reporter’s breasts while she was asleep.
“When you see Al Franken taking a picture putting his hands on that woman’s flak jacket and mugging for the camera, going like that, you know, that is just like a terrible joke, and it’s not funny. It’s wrong, and he shouldn’t have done that,” Damon says. “But when you talk about Harvey and what he’s accused of, there are no pictures of that. He knew he was up to no good. There’s no witnesses. There’s no pictures. There’s no braggadocio…So they don’t belong in the same category.”
Damon has been in the headlines several times during the wave of sexual misconduct allegations coming out of Hollywood. The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman accused Damon of helping to kill a Harvey Weinstein harassment story in 2004, which the actor denied. Weeks later, Damon admitted that he was told Weinstein had harassed Gwyneth Paltrow decades ago but he remained silent.
For more of Damon’s controversial opinions, watch his sit down video interview with Travers here.