Matt Damon has divided opinion after an awkward discussion on the current sexual misconduct scandal in Hollywood.
The 47-year-old actor was quizzed by ABC News journalist Peter Travers on the topic during an interview to promote his new film Downsizing on Thursday, but his answers haven’t gone down so well with the public, with many labeling it a “car crash” interview.
The Bourne Identity star began the conversation by insisting it’s “wonderful” that women are feeling empowered enough to tell their stories, with Harvey Weinstein and Dustin Hoffman just a few of the men accused of inappropriate behavior. However, the star then said that misconduct needed to be differentiated in terms of its severity.
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right?” he started. “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?”
He then touched upon the scandal surrounding comic Louis C.K., who admitted his guilt over the sexual assault claims made against him, and in the aftermath his film I Love You, Daddy was dropped by film distributors.
Expressing his fear that men may feel the need to deny reports for fear of losing their livelihoods, Damon appeared to suggest that C.K.’s admission of guilt may have come at too high a price.
“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,'” he continued.
Kevin Spacey was also mentioned, with Damon praising director Ridley Scott for dropping the former House of Cards star from his production All the Money in the World after actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of making sexual advances towards him when he was just 14.
However, while discussing the exposure of harassers via social media, he controversially explained how in the past, he would have silenced allegations with lucrative settlements.
“Ten years ago, you made a claim against me and I had a big movie coming out, OK? I have $100 million or I have a movie that is personally important to me coming out, and close to the release of that film, you say, ‘Matt Damon grabbed my butt and stuck his tongue down my throat.’ We would then go to mediation and organize a settlement,” he admitted.
– Cover Media0