Matt Damon backtracked on his controversial comments last month about there being a “spectrum of behavior” when it comes to sexual misconduct, apologizing for speaking in haste and hurting many people in the process.
“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” he told Kathie Lee Gifford on the Today show Tuesday. “I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry.”
The Downsized actor added that he realized the magnitude of his mistake when he was called out by longtime friends and colleagues like Alyssa Milano and his Good Will Hunting costar Minnie Driver.
“And 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,” he said. “But I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”
In December, Damon made headlines after he said on ABC News’ Popcorn With Peter Travers that while he thought it was “wonderful” that women were feeling empowered to speak out against their abusers, there was a “continuum” of behavior that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“There’s a difference between … patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he said at the time. “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.”
In response to Damon’s comments, Driver weighed in on Twitter, calling for him – and other men – to rethink how they are framing the conversation.
“God God, SERIOUSLY?” Driver tweeted. “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.”
Damon had previously acknowledged that he knew – secondhand – about friend Gwyneth Paltrow’s allegations of misconduct against Harvey Weinstein.