Matt Damon's full interview with Popcorn with Peter Travers on ABC has yet to air, but an excerpt containing controversial comments on sexual harassment in Hollywood has been made public.
“I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and it’s totally necessary,” he told Travers in the clip (and spotted by PEOPLE). “I do believe there’s a spectrum of 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.”
He details this view by comparing allegations against comedian Louis C.K., who he suggests could be forgiven for his past behavoir, and Harvey Weinstein, who may have engaged in alleged criminal behavior.
“A lot of people said, ‘Well, Harvey — everybody knew’ … that’s not true,” he said. “Everybody knew what kind of guy he was in the sense that if you took a meeting with him, you knew that he was tough and he was a bully, and that was his reputation. Nobody who made movies for him knew [he might be involved in rape] … Any human being would have put a stop to that, no matter who he was.” However, he later said to Travers that he did know that Weinstein wasn't the sort of man who he'd want any woman close to him to marry.
Social media is repping those who remain not here for his views today.
Throughout the rest of the interview, he remarks that it's good that women are more empowered to speak out now. "The rotten, horrible apples are getting weeded out right now." But he also expressed that the bad apples make up a small percentage of the film industry that he loves.
He said he believes we are currently in a "retribution" phase, with people wanting immediate action after accusations of any sort.
"That rage is deserved," he said of women coming forward with sexual harassment allegations. "Then what?"
Watch a 16-minute excerpt of his interview below:
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