Matt Damon apologizes for previous remarks about sexual harassment

Actor Damon attends the premiere of "Live by Night" in Hollywood. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actor Matt Damon has apologized for the comments he previously made about sexual harassment, saying, “I really wish I’d listened a lot more.”

During his appearance on the Today show, host Kathie Lee Gifford asked Damon what he had learned after facing great backlash due to his remarks about Hollywood’s ongoing revolution against sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this,” Damon said. “Ultimately what it is for me is that I don’t want to further anybody’s pain. With anything that I do or say, so for that I’m really sorry.”

Damon says he continues to support Time’s Up, the ongoing movement against the culture of sexual harassment and abuse that many women have endured for decades in the hands of rich and powerful men. The actor said he wants to be part of the change but is ok to do it from the background. He said he wants to “go along for the ride, but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”

Last month, Damon came under fire when he suggested that claims of sexual harassment should be viewed differently from sexual assault. He argued that there’s a difference between patting someone on the butt, and rape or child molestation. He also said that while he believes both behaviors should be confronted and eradicated, they shouldn’t be conflated.

These remarks drew a lot of flak from critics and other celebrities, who criticized Damon’s tone-deaf statements.

Actress Minnie Driver, who once dated Damon, was one of the louder voices that spoke up against the actor’s remarks. “You can’t tell a woman about their abuse,” she said, adding that “it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”