Actor Matt Damon apologized for his recent comments about sexual harassment in Hollywood and the #MeToo campaign on the Today Show on Tuesday following withering criticism that he failed to recognize the seriousness of the problem.
“I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say,” he told host Kathie Lee Gifford. “So for that I am really sorry.”
Damon appeared on the morning show to discuss a Super Bowl ad that he stars in for Stella Artois. The ad promotes the organization Water.org, which works to provide access to clean water for millions around the globe.
The conversation eventually shifted to the #MeToo campaign and Time’s Up, an initiative by entertainment industry workers to end sexual harassment in the industry. Damon responded by apologizing for remarks last month about a sexual harassment being a “spectrum of behavior” that shouldn’t be bunched together.
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he said on ABC’s Popcorn in December. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
At the time, actress Alyssa Milano responded on Twitter, saying: “I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt. And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted–even welcomed– misogyny.”
Damon’s Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver also responded to Damon’s comments.
“Let women do the speaking up right now,” Driver said in an interview with The Guardian after Damon’s initial comments. “The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.”
On Tuesday, Damon responded to the criticism by saying, “I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this.” He added: “This whole Time’s Up—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, and want to go along for the ride, but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”