Matt Damon: I should have listened more before speaking about harassment
He said he did not want to increase anyone’s pain.
Matt Damon has said he wishes he had “listened a lot more” before he commented on the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal.
The Good Will Hunting star was met with a barrage of criticism for his comments that the issue encompasses “a spectrum of behaviour”.
Appearing on US morning show Today, Damon apologised and said he did not want to increase anyone’s pain.
“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.”— Kathie Lee and Hoda (@klgandhoda) January 16, 2018
Matt Damon on the #TimesUp movement. pic.twitter.com/jNjiIjuhVl
The actor, 47, previously told Popcorn With Peter Travers, on ABC News, that not all men in the industry should be painted with the same brush.
“I would like to point out that, even though it feels like there’s this avalanche of men, how many people in the movie business have taken a tumble now?
“Think of how many men are in the movie business … this is like 1% of the guys, it’s not everybody, it just feels like it,” he said.
Discussing the scandal that has engulfed the industry since allegations arose against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, he told the show: “We’re in this watershed moment and I think it’s great. It’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and it’s totally necessary.”
But he added: “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behaviour and we’re going to have to figure, you know, there’s a difference between, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.
“Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated.”
Weinstein denies allegations of non-consensual sex.
Cher, Alyssa Milano and his Good Will Hunting co-star and ex-girlfriend Minnie Driver were among those to criticise Damon for his comments.
God God, SERIOUSLY? https://t.co/NDZFrLDXil— Minnie Driver (@driverminnie) December 15, 2017
Gosh it’s so *interesting how men with all these opinions about women’s differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem( *profoundly unsurprising)— Minnie Driver (@driverminnie) December 15, 2017
We are in a “culture of outrage” because the magnitude of rage is, in fact, overtly outrageous. And it is righteous.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 16, 2017
Matt Damon proving, once again, that nothing is more fragile than masculinity. https://t.co/8VtCAjzUVr— Cher (@thecherness) December 18, 2017
Asked what he learned from the backlash, he told Today: “I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this.
“I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry.
“Time’s Up and 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 and want to go along for the ride but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”