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.
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.
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.