Matt Damon first crossed my douchebag radar during the 2015 season of HBO’s Project Greenlight, when he whitemansplained diversity in filmmaking to a Black producer and let a white man make a very bad, very white movie with literally no people of color in the cast. (If you like to hate-watch as much as I do, I highly recommend season four of Project Greenlight. It’s A+ hate-watch material.)
Damon caught a lot of heat when the clip of him being completely obtuse went viral, and you would think that would teach him to keep his mouth closed. Nope! Instead, he issued a statement patting himself on the back for “starting a conversation about diversity” and went on his way. (You didn’t start it, Matt. You put your shit-covered foot in it.)
Then that terrible movie where he plays a white guy who saves ancient China came out. After he was called out again, Damon tripled down on his irrelevance by arguing that he wasn’t participating in a whitewashed narrative because he didn’t “take a role away” from a Chinese actor.
After Matt Saves China (or whatever that movie was called) flopped, Damon (correctly) retreated from the public eye for a while. Until his friend Harvey Weinstein was accused (and accused and accused) of sexual predation. Weinstein’s production company Miramax produced Damon’s film Good Will Hunting (1997), as well as The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), so they go way back. In the months since #MeToo swept Hollywood, Damon hasn’t been able to stop himself from giving one misbegotten quote after another. He also hasn’t been able to keep his story straight or his mouth shut.
Here are the (nonexhaustive) garbage hot takes Damon has been spewing:
- Said he didn’t know about Weinstein’s behavior.
- Said he did know that Weinstein was a “womanizer.”
- Said he did know that Weinstein had sexually harassed Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Said that he definitely cares about sexual predators because now he has daughters.
- Denied getting a 2004 New York Times piece about Weinstein killed.
- Said he did get a piece killed at Weinstein’s request, but he didn’t know what it was about.
- Said “one thing that’s not being talked about” is the many men who are not sexual predators.
- Said that it was important we remember that “there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.”
- Said, “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.’”
- Said Louis C.K.’s apology is a sign that “we can work with that” (that meaning apologies).
- Said he doesn’t “imagine” Louis C.K. is “going to do those things again.”
- Would he work with someone who had been accused of sexual misconduct? “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. 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.”
- Said he would even be willing to sign “a sexual-harassment thing.”
- Would he work with someone who had been accused of sexual misconduct take two? “It would be a case-by-case basis. You go, ‘What’s the story here?’”
MATTHEW! Why does this concern you? Stop weighing in! Your opinions are irrelevant, illogical, and full of apologist excuses.
Damon is currently on a press tour for his terrible-looking film Honey, I Shrunk Matt Damon, so some of this public embarrassment is to be expected and the rest of it comes with the realization that Damon is a relic of the ’90s who is poorly media trained and thinks that his boyish Boston charm will carry him through.
We know that Weinstein employed a devastatingly skilled team of assistants, lawyers, PR people, and spies to silence his victims, hush any whisper of his activities, and provide him with more opportunities to prey on women. Whether or not Damon sees himself as complicit in that campaign of silence, he is. Every time Damon opens his mouth to excuse or cast doubt on “the story” of a sexual predator, he is complicit. When Damon picked up the phone in 2004 as a favor to Weinstein to convince a reporter to kill a story that would have exposed Weinstein, he was definitely complicit.
White men like Damon and Weinstein have been shaping our cultural understanding of what excellent filmmaking looks like for decades. They’ve been shutting out people of color, laughing off diversity, and helping each other up the boys’ club ladder. Please go away forever, Matt, and take your bad opinions with you.