Matt Damon has both apologised for his previous controversial comments on sexual assault, and vowed to stop voicing his opinions on it going forward.
Now, the Oscar-winning actor has apologised for voicing his opinions on the matter.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon admitted during an interview on American breakfast show Today.
“I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say, so for that, I am really sorry,” Damon told host Kathie Lee Gifford.
“[With] 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…but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while,” Damon concluded.
Damon has been widely criticised after weighing in on the multiple sexual abuse allegations made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (with whom he worked on the 1997 film Good Will Hunting). Damon insisted he was unaware of Weinstein’s alleged abuse of women, but his follow-on comments were widely criticised by women – including his former co-star and girlfriend Minnie Driver.
“I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories … [but] I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behaviour, right?” Damon told ABC News.
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he added. “Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
People who commit “rape and child molestation or whatever” should go to prison, Damon continued, but “the other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross”.
Driver later took to Twitter to call Damon out on his comments, saying:
“[Good] God, SERIOUSLY?” she wrote. “There are so many men I love who do NOT frame the differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape as an excuse, or worse – [as women’s] problem. Such bollocks.”
Actress Alyssa Milano also condemned Damon’s comments. Responding to his remark in the ABC News interview that we “live in a culture of outrage and injury”, Milano wrote on Twitter: “We are in a ‘culture of outrage’ because the magnitude of rage is, in fact, overtly outrageous.”
“I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak,” she said. “They all hurt. And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalised, accepted – even welcomed – misogyny.”
Weinstein currently faces multiple allegations - of rape, forced oral sex, harassment and assault, and the silencing of his victims. Weinstein has denied these allegations and any accusations of non-consensual sex.
Images: Rex Features