Matt Damon is apologizing for unpopular opinions he made about sexual harassment during the fall and winter while he was promoting his films “Suburbicon” and “Downsizing.” The actor was being interviewed on TODAY to promote his Water.org Super Bowl commercial when the conversation pivoted to Damon’s controversial remarks.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon admitted. “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry. A lot of those women are my dear friends and I love them and respect them and support what they’re doing and want to be a part of that change…but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”
Damon was slammed by actresses such as his “Good Will Hunting” co-star Minnie Driver for a December interview with Rolling Stone in which he expressed his belief that not all sexual misconduct claims “belong in the same category.” He said the punishment should fit the crime when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations, meaning not all men should be punished the same way.
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior,” Damon said at the time. “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?”
“All of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum,” he continued. “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.”
Damon tried to prove his point by explaining 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. The actor referred to Franken’s actions as a “terrible joke,” saying what the senator did does “not belong in the same category” as Weinstein.
Damon was back in the headlines just days later for an interview with Business Insider in which he stressed that there are also good men in Hollywood who would never even think of harassing women. He also was unsure about whether or not he’d work with actors and directors who have been accused of harassment, saying he would have to judge each decision on a “case-by-case basis.”
“I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole shitload of guys — the preponderance of men I’ve worked with — who don’t do this kind of thing and whose lives aren’t going to be affected,” Damon said.
Nearly a month later, Damon finally apologized for his remarks. You can watch his TODAY interview in its entirety in the video below.