Matt Damon is reflecting on comments he made about sexual misconduct in Hollywood, now wishing he had taken more time to listen before speaking out.
“Boy, I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” he explained on the Today show on Tuesday, January 16. When coanchor Kathie Lee Gifford replied that he is a good listener, the actor said: “Not in this case.”
As previously reported, 47-year-old Damon came under fire for defending what he claimed to be the majority of men in Hollywood amid the #MeToo movement. “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 s—load 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 told Business Insider in December. “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.”
The actor was almost immediately bashed by several A-list stars including Debra Messing, Rose McGowan and Cher. “This is NOT the time to ask for a pat on the back,” Messing tweeted. Cher added: “Matt Damon is the epitome of a faux ally whose performative wokeness is more about servicing his own ego than the needs of the oppressed & disenfranchised.
Damon also made controversial comments on the subject to ABC News earlier that month. “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior. 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?” he said. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
Now, amid the Time’s Up movement, which helps provide legal aid for victims of sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace, it seems the actor has taken the backlash into deep consideration. “I think, ultimately, what it is for me is I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say,” he said on Tuesday. “So for that, I’m really sorry. This whole Time’s Up [movement], 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 go along for that ride.”
Regarding “that ride,” he quipped: “I should get in the backseat and close my mouth for a while.”
Damon also revealed that he and wife Luciana Barroso have an ongoing dialogue on the subject with their daughters, Alexia, 19, Isabella, 11, Gia, 9, and Stella, 7. “They’re very clear that their bodies are their own and no one is allowed to touch them. We’re just trying to raise good kids,” he explained. “We’re not having specific conversations about harassment. It’s about trying to raise kids who are respectful of themselves and others.”
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