After coming under fire for his controversial comments about sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, Matt Damon is vowing to spend more time listening and less time talking.
Damon appeared on Tuesday’s episode of Today, where Kathie Lee Gifford asked him what he’d learned from the criticism of his comments.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon replied.
“I think ultimately what it is for me is I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything I do or say, so for that, I’m really sorry,” he continued. “[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 and want to go along for the ride, but I should get in the backseat and close my mouth for a while.”
Damon came under fire in December, when he said in an interview for Popcorn with Peter Travers that he championed the women coming forward to share their stories of experiencing misconduct, but that it was important to not conflate sexual harassment with sexual assault.
“I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories, and it’s totally necessary,” he said. “I do believe there’s a spectrum of behavior… There’s a difference between 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.”
Damon later faced additional criticism for suggesting that the media should focus more on the many men in Hollywood who aren’t accused of sexual harassment or assault, telling Business Insider, “We’re in this watershed moment, and it’s great, but I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole s—load of guys — the preponderance of men I’ve worked with — who don’t do this kind of thing and whose lives aren’t going to be affected.”