Matt Damon has apologized for his comments about sexual harassment, and fine, we’ll let him stay in “Ocean’s 8” now
The recent rise in difficult conversations about sexual abuse and harassment has meant some ill-informed people have made some, well, foolish remarks. Chief among them? Matt Damon, whose assertions that we should be recognizing a “spectrum of behavior” when it comes to sexual misconduct — and talking more about the good guys instead of the men behaving badly — were swiftly condemned online.
Now, Matt Damon’s walking back on his controversial comments: In an interview on the Today show, the Downsizing actor told Kathie Lee Gifford he was “really sorry” for what he’s been saying.
"I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this, Damon said on the show. “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry."
Damon’s admission that he made a mistake by inserting his opinion before really listening is an important acknowledgement from which many others could learn.
In so many of the high-profile sexual misconduct cases we’ve been reading about, it’s the fact that people are finally listening to victims (as opposed to silencing them) that has creating much-needed change. By talking over victims and downplaying their trauma, Damon — whose comments even sparked a petition to have him booted from the female-fronted Ocean’s 8 — and others who’ve made similar comments are only perpetuating the lopsided system that silenced victims in the first place.
Also important to note: the public wasn’t alone in calling Damon out for his mansplaining.
Alyssa Milano and even former Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver posted online to express their disappointment in Damon as well.
"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," Damon went on to say on Today. "But I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while."
While we’re sure Matt Damon’s TV mea culpa won’t convince everyone he’s a changed man (that petition to have him removed from Ocean’s 8 is still alive and well), his apology rightfully conveyed that in order to support this movement, men sometimes need to step back and let women finally take the driver’s seat.