Matt Damon is famously one of Hollywood’s Nice Guys, a cheerfully smiling dude happy to pop in for a cameo for a friend or give helpful advice to younger co-stars. This week, for instance, he did the whole internet a solid, by giving an interview that got all of his uncomfortable takes on the current sexual harassment scandal down in one easy-to-find place. Convenient!
Per Vulture, the interview was part of an ABC News sit-down with Peter Travers, and covered a surprisingly wide swath of Hollywood’s most notable (alleged) abusers. At the center, of course, was Harvey Weinstein, who made Damon a star with Good Will Hunting; Damon holds to what he’s said in the past, which is that nobody who made movies with Weinstein in the ’90s—except for all the women, obviously, and also Quentin Tarantino, plus Ben Affleck, who Damon once said told him about the harassment Gwyneth Paltrow received—knew what he was up to behind closed hotel-room doors.
Any human being would have put a stop to that, no matter who he was. They would’ve said absolutely no. You know what I mean? … I knew I wouldn’t want him married to anyone close to me. But that was the extent of what we knew, you know? And that wasn’t a surprise to anybody.
Damon also expressed the idea—popular among older white guys who’ve been on 30 Rock—that this situation demands a lot more nuance than the angry hordes are giving it. Take Al Franken, for instance: Damon called the pictures Franken took, grabbing the sleeping body of Leeann Tweeden, “wrong,” “terrible,” and “not funny,” and made it clear he thinks Franken’s actions should have been investigated by an ethics committee. But it’s also clear that he thinks that the numerous female Democratic senators who called for Franken’s resignation probably went too far, regardless of the number of women who’ve ultimately come forward with accusations against him. Similarly, he praised Louis CK for the quality of his apology to the women he allegedly forced to watch him jerk off; skipping over the actual allegations, he noted that CK’s full confession of guilt marked him as “somebody who—well, we can work with that.”
To be clear, Matt Damon—who, in case you hadn’t heard, has four daughters who serve as the points of his personal moral compass—thinks all of this behavior sucks; it’s just that some of it, to his mind, didn’t suck enough to get those people fired. (He did praise his old director Ridley Scott for getting rid of Kevin Spacey on All The Money In The World, though, calling it “smart” and “a total business decision.”) He also discussed a bunch of hypotheticals with Travers, including the question of what he would do if someone accused him of inappropriate behavior; his response carries the fire-and-brimstone fury of a nice guy who sees the destruction of his personal reputation as one of the worst things that could possibly befall a Hollywood hopeful:
So the moment a claim is made, if you make that same claim today to me, I would be scorched earth. I’d go, “I don’t care if it costs $10 million to fight this in court with you for 10 years, you are not taking my name from me. You are not taking my name and my reputation from me. I’ve worked too hard for it. And I earned it. You can’t just blow me up like that.” So I think once a claim is made, there will no longer be settlements. That’s just my prediction, I mean, just based on what I’ve seen.