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Matt Damon Finally Gets The Message About Sexual Harassment

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#MeToo is demanding a lot more than we’re used to from our favourite celebrities. No longer can they wittingly ignore gender injustice prevalent in their industry, tactfully bypassing awkward questions. Now, there’s a sea of online commentators lying in wait ready to hold anyone accountable for their uninformed, ignorant opinions.

Matt Damon fell foul to this back in December when he gave the most misguided response to a question regarding how he feels about sexual misconduct in the industry. In the interview with ABC, he said:

‘I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior… there’s a difference between patting someone on the butt on rape or child molestation, both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated.’

Groundbreaking.

In a separate interview with Business Insider, he felt it necessary to stress the importance of the poor men who are being forgotten now that women are speaking up about sexual harassment, stating:

‘One thing that's not being talked about is there are a whole shitload 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.'

Seemingly, Damon misses the entire point of #MeToo which brought to attention how all of the ‘minor’ sexual offenses contribute to a society that ignores sexual abuse towards women. As Alyssa Milano stated in her open letter to Damon, they ‘are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted- even welcomed- misogyny’.

Now, Damon has apologized for his latest episode of #Damonsplaining (for which there are many, just watch him trivialize diversity to the producer of Dear White People here). In an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford on Today, he said:

‘I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this.

‘I don't want to further anybody's pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry. A lot of those women are my dear friends and I love them and respect them and support what they're doing and want to be a part of that change...but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.’

Finally, he gets the point.

It may be human nature to view something from entirely your own perspective on first hearing about it, but this reluctance to think beyond your own personal experience and understand how the issue effects other people, specifically groups less privileged and more marginalized than yourself, isn’t acceptable anymore. Not when you have a platform like Matt Damon’s.

Commenting on something you're ignorant about is at best stupid, but at worst - with his huge mostly younger male audience - can end up hurting a lot of people and damaging a socio-political movement.

His apology is hopefully the start of a learning experience in which he will stop speaking on issues he has not thoroughly researched. Men, take note, read a book before you jump into conversations about gender injustice. Better yet, just take the time to listen – you don’t always have to have an opinion.

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