There are a lot of people in Hollywood that have given their nuanced, poignant thoughts on the sexual harassment scandals shaking their industry. Matt Damon is not one of those people. In fact, the actor is doing a pretty good job of arguing the case for him to never speak again—on or off screen.
The actor has already put his foot in his mouth before on this subject. He’d previously said he didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct but then admitted that Ben Affleck told him what allegedly happened to Gwyneth Paltrow, so there’s that. Now, in a truly insane interview with Peter Travers, he decided that one misguided and ridiculous take on sexual harassment wasn’t enough. He’s here to let you know how he feels about everyone from Louis C.K. to his friend Casey Affleck.
But first, Damon really wants you to know that there’s a spectrum of harassment. “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior,” he explained. “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?” Right, you know?
In Damon’s viewpoint, this spectrum is important. So important, in fact, that he applied it to Louis C.K., Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, a hypothetical colleague, and himself, because why not. Read his hot takes if you want to groan because, like a horror film about spelunking or deep sea diving, it just gets worse the farther down you go.
Louis C.K. exposing himself to female comedians? “We can work with that.”
“The Louis C.K. thing, I don’t know all the details. I don’t do deep dives on this, but 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.”
I don’t know Louis C.K.. I’ve never met him. I’m a fan of his, but I don’t imagine he’s going to do those things again. You know what I mean? I imagine the price that he’s paid at this point is so beyond anything that he — I just think that we have to kind of start delineating between what these behaviors are.”
Al Franken groping women and pretending to grab their breasts while they’re asleep? “I personally would have preferred if they had an Ethics Committee investigation.”
“I personally would have preferred if they had an Ethics Committee investigation, you know what I mean? It’s like at what point — you know, we’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think.
When you see Al Franken taking a picture putting his hands on that woman’s flak jacket and mugging for the camera, going like that, you know, 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.”
Harvey Weinstein, who he had heard sexually harassed Gwyneth Paltrow? “Any human being would have put a stop to that, no matter who he was. They would’ve said absolutely no.”
“[With regard to the rape allegations,] nobody who made movies for him knew … Any human being would have put a stop to that, no matter who he was. They would’ve said absolutely no. You know what I mean? … 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.”
His friend Casey Affleck? “I know the real story if it’s my friend.”
“It depends on what the accusation is. It depends what’s going on. If it’s a friend of mine, I’m always talking to them. I know the real story if it’s my friend.”
A hypothetical colleague? “I guess it depends.”
“If it’s a colleague … I don’t know … I guess it depends on the situation and the allegation and how believable I think it is.”
Himself, hypothetically? “Organize a settlement…I’ll pay it, but you can never talk about this again. You’re fucking lying about this, but never talk about this again.”
“Ten years ago, you made a claim against me and I had a big movie coming out, okay? 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. I’d go, ‘I don’t want this out there. Peter’s going to go out and talk to the press and run his mouth, and it’s going to be overshadowing the opening of this movie. How much money do you want?’ The lawyers would get together, and they do this cost-benefit analysis, and they’d go, ‘Oh, this is what it’s worth.’ And I look at the number and go, ‘Okay, I’ll pay it, but you can never talk about this again. You’re fucking lying about this, but never talk about this again.’”