After coming under fire for his comments on sexual misconduct, A-list actor Matt Damon believes there's one thing he needs to do for now: shut up.
During a visit to the Today show on Tuesday, Jan. 16, Damon opens up to Kathie Lee Gifford about his regret with his comments on sexual assault and harassment following the #MeToo movement that recently swept through Hollywood. The Oscar winner reveals that he should have listened before speaking up on the sensitive topic.
"Boy, I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this," he says, insisting that he failed to keep his ears open on the issues when Gifford tried to assure him.
Damon's Controversial Interview On Sexual Misconduct
Damon, who enjoyed a well-documented working relationship with film mogul and alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, received considerable backlash from the public when he spoke out on ABC News' Popcorn with Peter Travers, saying that there's a "spectrum of behavior" when it comes to sexual misconduct.
He spoke of different digressions and went on to say that abuse such as rape and child molestations should be treated as criminal offenses, but "the other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross", citing Louis C.K. as an example. Louis C.K. was accused of and admitted to sexual misconduct including masturbating in front of female coworkers, which caused a lot of damage on the comedian's blossoming career.
The controversial interview earned Damon the ire of the public, including ex-girlfriend Minnie Driver and Alyssa Milano who both took to Twitter to express their criticism for the actor's opinions. An online petition received over 20,000 signatures demanding that Damon be kicked off the upcoming Ocean's 8 film, where he is set to play a small role in a mostly female cast starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Taking The Backseat On The Issue
Learning his lesson from the backlash, Damon wants to be more mindful of his words and avoid hurting victims even further. For now, the actor says this means retreating from the public eye in this particular topic even as he extends his support to his colleagues in the forefront of the Time's Up movement.
"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 explains in the Today interview. "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."
"I should get in the backseat and close my mouth for a while," Damon concludes.