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After being criticized last month for arguing that there’s a “spectrum of behavior” that underlies the issue of sexual misconduct, Damon publicly addressed his controversial comments for the first time, expressing regret during a Tuesday appearance on Today.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon told Kathie Lee Gifford. “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry.”
In an interview on ABC News’ Popcorn With Peter Travers, the Downsizing actor said that while he finds it “wonderful” that women are speaking out against their alleged perpetrators, there is a “continuum” with respect to questionable 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, right?… We’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think,” Damon said.
Also adding, “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…. 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.”
Actresses Alyssa Milano and Damon’s Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver were among the high-profile Hollywood women to criticize the actor’s comments and attempt to differentiate between sexual misconduct, assault and rape.
“God God, SERIOUSLY?” Driver had tweeted, referencing Damon’s 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.
“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…but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while,” Damon told Gifford.
In his interview with Travers, Damon also compared the allegations against Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken and Louis C.K.
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