As the allegations of sexual assault and harassment continue to roll in — the latest involving Dustin Hoffman and Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock — many in Hollywood have felt the need to comment on the new age of accountability for men. While on the press tour for his upcoming film, Downsizing, Matt Damon sat down with Peter Travers and shared his opinions on his connection to Harvey Weinstein and the latest harassment accusations in Hollywood, claiming “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior. And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
Many would agree this is true and there does need to be some sort of discussion. But as many pointed out online, Damon continued and complicated his statement:
“All of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum. And on this end of the continuum where you have rape and child molestation or whatever, you know, that’s prison. Right? And that’s what needs to happen. OK? And then we can talk about rehabilitation and everything else. That’s criminal behavior, and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross.”
Damon continued to give his thoughts on specific instances of sexual assault. He agrees with the response to the allegations against Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, but seems to waver on the backlash against other notable cases like Louis C.K. and Al Franken, wondering if the response to them was justified:
“The Louis C.K. thing, I don’t know all the details. I don’t do deep dives on this, but I did see his statement, which kind of, which [was] arresting to me. When he came out and said, ‘I did this. I did these things. These women are all telling the truth.’ And I just remember thinking, Well, that’s the sign of somebody who — well, we can work with that.'”
While he didn’t get specific, Damon held a similar sentiment to his friends and colleagues that had been accused of sexual misconduct:
“It depends on what the accusation is. It depends on what’s happening. If it’s a friend of mine, I’m always talking to them. I know the real story if it’s my friend… If it’s a colleague … I don’t know … I guess it depends on the situation and the allegation and how believable I think it is.”
Damon is one of the figures connected to early reports in the Harvey Weinstein scandal along with George Clooney and Ben Affleck, who was also accused of sexual misconduct. The Downsizing actor has already taken criticism for his past comments and actions, including reports that he helped suppress a New York Times story on Weinstein in 2004. This was later cleared up by the author of the piece and Damon himself, though his latest comments are already causing some controversy.