As this reckoning of predatory men is taking place, the absolute most important thing men, women, people of all genders, and especially men can do is listen. Listen to the women who are sharing their experiences and believe them when they say they were affected. And keep your mouth shut.
Some men, so far, haven't listened very well. Chief among the sh*tty listeners is Matt Damon — basically the epitome of the privileged white man. He's made some real dumb-dumb comments as of late about sexual harassment and assault.
But then, something incredible happened. Matt Damon, in a recent appearance on the Today show, rose like a woke phoenix from the ashes of his own white man stupidity, apologized for the comments he's made, and promised to shut his mouth and listen for a while. Halle–frickin'–lujah.
I don't know about you, but I dove headfirst off the SS Matt Damon when he proved he was racist (or at least unaware of his own privileges and biases) on Project Greenlight in 2015.In the episode, Damon gets into an argument with Effie Brown, a black female producer, about her push to hire a diverse crew to shoot a short film with a main character of color. He didn't want to "undermine what the competition is supposed to be about, which is giving somebody this job based entirely on merit." It was a blatant example of a disregard for institutional racism, and it sucked. He apologized for his comments...kind of, sort of. It wasn't a good enough statement if you ask me.
But Matt Damon wasn't done digging his hole quite yet.
"This level of criminal sexual predation was not something I ever thought was going on." - Matt Damon on Harvey Wei… https://t.co/j1EkG17nU3— Good Morning America (@Good Morning America)1508759853.0
After seeming to belittle the experiences of women who were harassed and assaulted by Weinstein, he just continued on this unfortunate roll.
via: Getty ImagesWhen Louis C.K. was accused of harassment by a bunch of women, Damon unloaded about the "spectrum of behavior," continuing to diminish the experiences of these women, who had been traumatized and driven out of their careers by a powerful man's abuse.
It was not a good look, and Damon's old girlfriend, Minnie Driver, ripped him a new one for his insensitive and utterly unhelpful statements.
via: Getty Images"Gosh it’s so interesting (profoundly unsurprising) how men with all these opinions about women’s differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault, and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem," Driver wrote on Twitter. She told the Guardian:
I felt I desperately needed to say something. I’ve realized 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. 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.
Matt Damon truly epitomized the privileged man who could not wrap his head around a woman's experience.A strange deficiency for an actor — one who is regularly supposed to enter and understand the personalities and inner workings of others — to have. But nevertheless, here we were: Matt Damon was donezo. Then, a miracle happened, and he apologized for the comments he's made and the way he's been acting...
In an interview on the Today show, Kathie Lee Gifford asked Matt Damon what he has learned from his experiences talking about this movement.
“A lot of those women are my dear friends and I love them and respect them and support what they’re doing and want… https://t.co/IV5wgh9ve5— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@TODAY with Hoda & Jenna)1516117382.0
It seems he's on the apology circuit because he addressed it again in an interview with AP. Good. Keep saying "sorry," buddy.
MEA CULPA: #MattDamon offers an apology after his comments about sexual misconduct drew criticism. The Oscar winner… https://t.co/OQ4Wqg7wWA— AP Entertainment (@AP Entertainment)1516141578.0
Let's just take a second. What he said is great.Does it excuse his comments? Hell no. Does it erase his probably latent racism and misogyny? Absolutely not.
But he took the feedback that women were giving him, and he reflected.
via: Getty ImagesAnd hopefully, he will learn from this and continue to listen and be less sexist and racist in the future. Honestly, that's what we need men to do. The bar is so low right now, guys. Come reach it.