Matt Damon is generally considered one of the nicest, least controversial actors in Hollywood.
But the star has gone ahead and stuck his typically-genial foot directly into his very handsome mouth.
On Wednesday’s episode of ABC News’ Popcorn With Peter Travers, the actor shared his take on the influx of sexual misconduct allegations that continue to hit the entertainment profession.
And, in doing so, Damon opened himself up to criticism from… well… pretty much everyone.
“I think we’re in this watershed moment,” he said early in the interview, adding:
“I think it’s great. I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories – and it’s totally necessary.”
There you go. Perfect. Damon could have just stopped there and no one would be talking about him right now.
But he didn’t stop there.
With sexual misconduct allegations derailing the careers of such stars as Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Mario Batali and MANY others, Damon made many attempts to parse various situations.
Referring to a “spectrum of behavior,” he said:
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?”
In this case, Damon was citing scandals that have enveloped politicians Al Franken (butt patting) and Roy Moore (alleged child molestation).
“Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” Damon continued, saying he would have “preferred if they had an Ethics Committee investigation.”
However, Damon argued:
“We are so energized to kind of get retribution.”
Most people would not say anyone is energized to get “retribution” right now.
They would say women are energized to speak out against the many times they’ve been wronged; and this should only be applauded.
In one of his most dissected and disappointing statements, Damon said:
“We live in this culture of outrage and injury, and, you know, we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, ‘Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.'”
“You know what I mean?”
One can not be perfect and also know how to treat a woman with respect at all times.
Among those who have dragged Damon for his comments is Minnie Driver, who co-starred with the actor in Good Will Hunting.
She linked to his controversial interview on Twitter and just wrote “God, God seriously?”
Others, meanwhile, have said things like the tweets excerpted above.
Damon, who was close to Harvey Weinstein after the producer helped get Good Will Hunting made, dug himself into an even deeper hole when citing individual examples.
Admitting he doesn’t “know all the details” about Louis C.K., for example, Damon said the following:
“I don’t do deep dives on this, but I did see his statement…
“When he came out and said, ‘I did this; I did these things; these women are all telling the truth,’ I just remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s the sign of somebody who…well, we can work with that.'”
Ummm…. there are two problems with this argument:
- CK was accused of pulling out his penis and masturbating in front of many women. Damon could have taken a few easy second to research this online.
- CK only released his statement AFTER reports came out that basically confirmed these actions.
Damon is concerns that “the clearer signal to men and to younger people is [to] deny it, because if you take responsibility for what you did, your life’s going to get ruined.
“I mean, look, as I said – all of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum.”
“And on this end of the continuum where you have rape and child molestation or whatever, you know, that’s prison. Right? That’s what needs to happen. OK?”
Look, yes, there’s a difference between outright rape and a few misguided comments. No one denies this.
But one could argue that a culture that looks past the latter on a continual basis contributes to more of the former because there because a general acceptance of women as nothing but sex objects.
Moreover, this just isn’t the time, Matt.
There have been too many instances of too much heinous behavior around Hollywood.
This isn’t the time to get up on a pedestal and try to teach America about grey areas.
But Damon focused on social media in his interview and lamented today’s culture of presumed guilt, saying:
“The moment a claim is made… I would be scorched earth.”
“I’d go, ‘I don’t care if it costs $10 million to fight this in court with you for 10 years; you are not taking my name from me. You are not taking my name and my reputation from me. I’ve worked too hard for it.
“And I earned it. You can’t just blow me up like that.'”
“Once a claim is made, there will no longer be settlements. That’s my prediction, just based on what I’ve seen.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Travers countered, noting many female had been unable to share their stories because of nondisclosure agreements.
“One hundred percent,” Damon responded, adding that “every woman who’s coming forward with one of these stories needs to be listened to and heard.”
Boom. Yes. Done.
That’s all you had to say in the first place, Matt Damon.