The Downsizing premiere happened last night in LA. Matt Damon wasn’t there. Matt Damon hasn’t been generating a lot of great press lately. Coincidence or conspiracy? Maybe he was never expected at the premiere. Maybe he was never going to begin with, or had prior commitments. But the timing…
I posted about Matt Damon’s ass-talking last week. That was in reference to his interview with Peter Travers. Who did not check Matt. And it doesn’t seem like anyone else in Matt Damon’s orbit checked him either. Which is not surprising because that’s what happens to celebrities – they stop hearing “no” and they’re almost never challenged, they’re resistant to cricitism, and then they open their mouths and we hear the consequences.
This is how Matt Damon responded to a question from Business Insider about the dominant conversation in our culture following the Harvey Weinstein revelations:
"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 sh--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 told Business Insider while promoting his new movie, "Downsizing," opening in theaters Friday.
"If I have to sign a sexual-harassment thing, I don't care, I'll sign it," he said. "I would have signed it before. I don't do that, and most of the people I know don't do that."
As women continue to come forward about how they were harassed and abused, about how their careers have been derailed, Matt wants us to talk more about the “whole sh-tload of guys” who aren’t gropers and harassers and rapists. Hey, you, dude over there? Have you sexually harassed anyone today? No? Great! Let’s put the focus on THAT guy. Let’s spend time talking about the guy who hasn’t asked a woman to come into his office and pulled his dick out.
Because THAT guy needs more air time?!?
I want to believe that Matt’s line about men “whose lives aren’t going to be affected” was actually about the fact that most men aren’t going to care about this – because their lives aren’t affected, which means they don’t have motivation to change things… and THIS is what he’s identifying as a problem that needs to be addressed. But that’s optimistic if not naïve. Because the way I’m reading his words is that he is indeed “yeah but”-ing the situation. He’s #NotAllMen-ing the situation. He’s saying, yeah but not all men…so…
Is that how low Matt Damon wants to set the bar? Why do I need to spend any time thinking about a man who doesn’t harass and/or rape? A man who doesn’t harass or rape is BEHAVING HOW HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE BEHAVING. He doesn’t not need a participation ribbon for acting like a decent human being, Matt Damon.
It’s basically a metaphor for white male privilege: the celebration of mediocrity.
And, yes, he’s being dragged for it. Which is fine. But let’s not forget, Matt Damon is still influential in Hollywood. Minnie Driver and Alyssa Milano calling him out on Twitter isn’t going to change that. And remember, last week, during his interview with Peter Travers, he came real close to considering absolution for Louis CK. Like, A MONTH after Louis CK was finally exposed after almost two decades of harassing women. What does that mean? It means that if there are more men like Matt Damon – and he’s not an exception – Louis CK’s “comeback” might be welcome in certain circles. Certain circles of men who are all congratulating themselves for not being dick-pulling groping sexual harassers and rapists.