Actor Matt Damon says he’s sorry for the anger-inducing string of comments he’s made of late, for which he was accused by many of downplaying the culture of sexual misconduct currently upending much of the entertainment world.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon said in an appearance Tuesday on Today “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry.”
In December, the Downsizing star received backlash after seemingly excusing Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) alleged serial sexual assault as a “terrible joke” and said he’d be able to “work with” Louis CK after the comedian admitted to masturbating in front of several women.
Those Rolling Stone interview comments were preceded by Damon’s admission to ABC News that there’s apparently “a spectrum of behavior” and that there’s “a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?”
Damon managed to enrage more people by insisting that the “sh*tload of guys” who aren’t sexual predators aren’t getting enough credit.
Now, Damon — whose acting career was launched into superstardom, with help from disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein — says he’s going to sit down and shut up and let the women leading the anti-harassment “Time’s Up” movement do the work without him getting in the way.
“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,” he said on Today.
The wave of misconduct allegations against powerful men in Hollywood hit home with Damon, who, in October, was accused of pressuring the New York Times in 2004 to kill a story alleging sexual abuse against Weinstein.
Last month, a petition was launched demanding Damon’s cameo in the upcoming female-led heist reboot Ocean’s 8 be removed from the film. The petition, which says Damon’s role in the film is “a show of massive disrespect for the brave women speaking out, has more than 28,000 signatures.