Monday 17 December 2018

Matt Damon: I should have listened more before speaking about harassment

He said he did not want to increase anyone’s pain.

Jason Bourne European Premiere – London
Jason Bourne European Premiere – London

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

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.

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.

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.”

Press Association

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