“Downsizing” star Matt Damon says he regrets having inadvertently caused anyone discomfort over remarks he made last month urging proportionality between accusations of sexual harassment and accusations of sexual abuse.
Appearing Tuesday on “Today” with his Water.org co-founder Gary White to promote the group’s mission of helping to supply clean water to communities in need, the actor, 47, told Kathie Lee Gifford, “I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this.”
Damon was responding to criticism — most pointedly by actress-activist Alyssa Milano and former girlfriend Minnie Driver, his co-star in “Good Will Hunting” — over remarks he made in December to ABC News’ Peter Travers. Praising “this watershed moment” in which women have felt empowered to go public with allegations of decades of sexual impropriety by men, he added that, “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? . . . There’s a difference between, y’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?”
“I think, ultimately, what it is for me is I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say,” Damon, who shared an Academy Award with Ben Affleck for writing “Good Will Hunting,” told Gifford. “And so for that, I’m really sorry.”
Addressing the Time’s Up coalition of actresses who formed a legal defense fund for women suffering sexual harassment, Damon noted, “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.”