Matt Damon sparked immense outrage when he claimed that sexual misconduct comprises “a spectrum of behaviour,” and observed that there is “a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.” The actor received severe backlash for his comments and many people called for not only his films to be banned but for him to also be removed from his upcoming film, Oceans 8, which has a strong female cast.
However, the actor has now apologised for the controversial comments on the Today show where host Kathie Lee Gifford asked him what he’d learned since facing backlash for his remarks on the scandals.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon told Gifford. “Ultimately what it is for me is that I don’t want to further anybody’s pain. With anything that I do or say, so for that, I’m really sorry.”
He continued, “And Time’s Up, 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.”
Damon came under fire for suggesting that claims of sexual harassment should be viewed differently from allegations of sexual assault.
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” Damon said in the interview. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated, without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
The comments drew criticism from his former girlfriend, Minnie Driver, as well as Alyssa Milano, who popularised the #MeToo hashtag.
After receiving backlash for those remarks, Damon later told Business Insider, “We’re in this watershed moment, and it’s great, but I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole lot 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.”
He added, “If I have to sign a sexual-harassment thing, I don’t care, I’ll sign it. I would have signed it before. I don’t do that, and most of the people I know don’t do that.”
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