Arts

Here’s what Matt Damon said about #MeToo, and the backlash that followed

Over the past week, Cambridge-born-and-bred actor Matt Damon has found himself at the center of the #MeToo sexual harassment controversy.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Over the past week, Cambridge-born-and-bred actor Matt Damon has found himself at the center of the #MeToo sexual harassment controversy.

Over the past week, Cambridge-born-and-bred actor Matt Damon has found himself at the center of the #MeToo sexual harassment controversy after giving two interviews on the subject. Here’s a look at what he said, and what the response has been.

Dec. 12: Matt Damon’s ABC News interview

Damon first faced criticism in response to an ABC News interview that aired last Tuesday. Damon spoke with film critic Peter Travers about several men who are facing sexual assault and harassment allegations, including film executive Harvey Weinstein, US Senator Al Franken, and comedian Louis C.K.

In an interview on “Popcorn with Peter Travers,” Damon said that we are living in a “culture of outrage” and that these recent allegations of sexual misconduct need to be analyzed on a spectrum.

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“There’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation,” Damon said. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated.”

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Damon said it’s been a “watershed moment” that women have felt empowered to share their stories and hold men accountable for sexual misconduct. He also said people should try to be optimistic about the state of the movie business and of men overall.

“This [is] like 1 percent of the guys who are losing their careers,” Damon said. “It’s not everybody. It just feels like it.”

Dec. 15: The response

Damon’s interview was met with criticism, including from actresses Alyssa Milano and Minnie Driver.

Driver, Damon’s ex-girlfriend and “Good Will Hunting” co-star, responded to Damon’s comments in a series of tweets on Friday afternoon.

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Milano, who worked with Damon in “Glory Daze” in 1995, responded to Damon’s comments in a Twitter thread last Friday night that began, “Dear Matt Damon, it’s the micro that makes the macro.”

Milano went on to compare Damon’s spectrum philosophy to the spectrum of cancer.

Dec. 17: Minnie Driver continues her criticism

In an interview with The Guardian published Sunday, Driver expanded on her reaction.

“I felt I desperately needed to say something,” Driver told the publication. “I’ve realised that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off in their ability to understand. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level.”

“I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse,” Driver continued. “A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”

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“How about: it’s all f****** wrong and it’s all bad, and until you start seeing it under one umbrella it’s not your job to compartmentalise or judge what is worse and what is not,” Driver continued. “Let women do the speaking up right now. The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.”

Dec. 18: Damon speaks with Business Insider

Damon continued defending men in the entertainment industry in a Monday interview with Business Insider. He said more attention should be focused on the men who don’t commit acts of sexual misconduct.

“We’re in this watershed moment, and it’s great, but I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole s---load of guys — the preponderance of men I’ve worked with — who don’t do this kind of thing and whose lives aren’t going to be affected,” Damon said.

Dec. 19: The response

Damon was called out on Twitter yet again by various Hollywood figures, including actresses Rose McGowan and Debra Messing.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.