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Matt Damon has found himself under fire after he spoke about a need to recognize a “spectrum of behavior” covering the range of sexual misconduct allegations that have emerged in recent weeks.
In an interview on ABC News’ Popcorn With Peter Travers, the Downsizing actor, who’s previously spoken out about the claims made against Harvey Weinstein, said he finds it “wonderful” that women are speaking out against their alleged perpetrators. But, he argued, there is a “spectrum of behavior” that underlies the issue brought up in the current “culture of outrage.”
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, 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, right? … We’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think,” Damon said, adding that while all behavior needs to be confronted, it’s a “continuum.”
“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,” he said. “That’s criminal behavior, and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross. … I just think that we have to kind of start delineating between what these behaviors are.”
“Dear Matt Damon, It’s the micro that makes the macro,” Milano tweeted Friday, sharing her initial response and unhappiness with Damon’s comments. “We are in a ‘culture of outrage’ because the magnitude of rage is, in fact, overtly outrageous. And it is righteous,” Milano wrote. “I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt. And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted–even welcomed– misogyny.”
Dear Matt Damon,
It’s the micro that makes the macro.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 16, 2017
Milano, who helped popularize the #MeToo campaign, went on to further explain her argument, saying that there are varied stages of cancer, “but it’s still cancer.” “Sexual harassment, misconduct, assault and violence is a systemic disease. The tumor is being cut out right now with no anesthesia. Please send flowers. #MeToo.”
We are not outraged because someone grabbed our asses in a picture. We are outraged because we were made to feel this was normal. We are outraged because we have been gaslighted. We are outraged because we were silenced for so long.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 16, 2017
Damon’s former co-star, Driver, who has also been vocal about her experience with sexual assault, also shared negative sentiments on Twitter about Damon’s comments. The on-screen lovers also dated and broke up shortly after Good Will Hunting won the 1998 Oscar.
“God God, SERIOUSLY?” Driver also tweeted on Friday, referencing Damon’s recent interview. “There are so many men I love who do NOT frame the differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape as an excuse or worse – our problem,” she wrote.
There are so many men I love who do NOT frame the differentiation between sexual misconduct assault and rape as an excuse or worse- our problem. Such bollocks..
— Minnie Driver (@driverminnie) December 15, 2017
In an interview with The Guardian on Saturday, Driver reiterated her comments about Damon, arguing that most men fail to “understand what abuse is like on a daily level.”
“I felt I desperately needed to say something. I’ve realized that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off in their ability to understand. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level,” Driver said. “I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse. A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”
In his interview with Travers, Damon also compared the allegations against Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken and Louis C.K.
Weinstein, whose Miramax-distributed Good Will Hunting, was someone Damon revealed that he was not surprised to have endured allegations, for the movie mogul was recognized as a “womanizer.” “I knew I wouldn’t want him married to anyone close to me. But that was the extent of what we knew, you know? And that wasn’t a surprise to anybody. So when you hear Harvey this, Harvey that — I mean, look at the guy. Of course he’s a womanizer … I mean, I don’t hang out with him.”
Damon also shared that Weinstein and Franken don’t “belong in the same category.”
“When you see Al Franken taking a picture putting his hands on that woman’s flak jacket and mugging for the camera… that is just like a terrible joke, and it’s not funny. It’s wrong, and he shouldn’t have done that … But when you talk about Harvey and what he’s accused of, there are no pictures of that. He knew he was up to no good. There’s no witnesses. There’s no pictures. There’s no braggadocio … So they don’t belong in the same category.”
The actor also expressed remorse for C.K. “When he [C.K.] 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’ … Like, when I’m raising my kids, this constant personal responsibility is as important as anything else they learn before they go off in the world.”
Driver argued that it is wrong for Damon to imply there’s a “hierarchy of abuse” and defend C.K.
“If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then we’re in a lot of fucking trouble. We need good intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again,” Driver told The Guardian. “I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others. Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse.”
She also added: “There is no hierarchy of abuse – that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for … you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other. And it certainly can’t be prescribed by a man. The idea of tone deafness is the idea there [is] no equivalency.”
Damon’s rep has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment.
Watch Damon’s entire interview below:
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