Matt Damon's attempt to "deep dive" into the sexual misconduct issue wreaking havoc in Hollywood probably didn't go like he hoped it would. After defending some skeevy pervs, despite admitting he didn't know "all the details," insisting he didn't know about Harvey Weinstein's atrocious behavior, at least not exactly, and appearing to lament the way social media is screwing up the settlement/hush money process, Damon will likely be looking for the chance of a do-over real soon — and next time with a script instead of just winging it.
Damon's "car-crash" appearance on "Popcorn With Peter Tavers," in which he got to "share all his bad opinions on sexual misconduct" took place on Tuesday. On Wednesday, ABC proudly published the video and transcript of the largely regrettable discussion. Below are the top five most cringe moments:
1. Matt lays out his sexual misconduct "spectrum" theory.
Travers began the interview by asking Damon to respond generally to the current sexual harassment allegation era. After celebrating this "watershed moment" in which "women are feeling empowered to tell their stories," Damon laid out his "spectrum"/"continuum" theory, in which he rightly tried to differentiate between the seriousness of some allegations but then appeared to conflate false and true allegations. The result was a convoluted mess.
"I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? 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?" said Damon. "Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?"
After party defending Democrat Al Franken (see below), Damon got back on track.
"And we live in this culture of outrage and injury, and, you know, that we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, 'Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.' You know what I mean?" As an example, Damon for some reason shifted to defending Louis CK, who has openly admitted that he is guilty of truly disturbing behavior (see below). "I mean, look, as I said, all of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum," said Damon.
2. Matt says he knew, but didn't really know, about Harvey Weinstein.
Travers — who notes that he, like Damon, has worked with Weinstein, which, of course, gives him reason to want to defend Damon's inaction about Weinstein's behavior — specifically asks Damon about Weinstein. "It’s harder, isn’t it, though, when you actually know someone who gets accused?" said Travers about delineating between condemnable and less condemnable behavior. "We both know Harvey Weinstein. I’ve worked with him. But I didn’t see any of this."
Damon responded by again defending Franken, before noting that there's "no pictures" like Franken's infamous boob-groping photo documenting Harvey's abuse of women. "[W]hen 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," said Damon.
Travers then said that it's now up to all of those around the behavior, "even though we're not seeing it," he stressed, to act, or something. Damon responded by giving another convoluted explanation, this time about what he did and didn't know about Weinstein.
"A lot of people said, 'Well, Harvey — everybody knew.' As you were saying, that’s not true," said Damon. "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. And he enjoyed that reputation, because he was making the best movies out there … [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. ... For me, I’ve always kind of, you know, as long as nobody’s committing a crime — well, that’s your life, and you go live it."
3. Matt defends Louis CK.
While presenting his "continuum" theory, Damon decided it was a good idea to use Louis CK as an example of someone he could "work with," while also admitting he didn't "know all the details" about the allegations the comedian openly admitted to.
"The Louis C.K. thing, I don’t know all the details," said Damon. "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' … Like, when I’m raising my kids, this constant personal responsibility is as important as anything else they learn before they go off in the world."
He later added, "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."
4. Matt defends Al Franken.
For some curious reason, Democrat Damon repeatedly defended Democrat Al Franken, who the actor used as an example of someone who has probably been unjustly punished for his documented misbehavior.
"You know, we see somebody like Al Franken, right? — 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," said Damon, adding later, "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 … "
5. Matt laments social media throwing a wrench in settlements.
Finally, here's Damon's lengthy lament(?) about the impact of social media on rich people reaching settlements with less rich accusers:
I also think the day of the confidentiality agreements is over. I think it’s just completely over. 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. 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, “OK, I’ll pay it, but you can never talk about this again. You’re f------ lying about this, but never talk about this again.
Now … with social media, these stories get — it’s like they get gasoline poured on them. So the moment a claim is made, if you make that same claim today to me, I would be scorched earth. I’d go, “I don’t care if it costs $10 million to fight this in court with you for 10 years, you are not taking my name from me. You are not taking my name and my reputation from me. I’ve worked too hard for it. And I earned it. You can’t just blow me up like that.” So I think once a claim is made, there will no longer be settlements. That’s just my prediction, I mean, just based on what I’ve seen.