There is a petition currently floating around calling for Matt Damon to be removed from the upcoming all-female Ocean’s 11 remake, or Ocean’s 8 (what took 11 men takes only 8 women apparently). I’m not excited about that film, and wouldn’t see being removed from it as a punishment, but, bigger picture, what exactly did Matt Damon do wrong? In an interview with film critic, Peter Travers, when he was asked point blank about the current climate of sexual predators being taken down, he responded the way most, maybe all, men have responded, saying basically that while all sexual predators are wrong, sexual assault and sexual harassment shouldn’t receive the same punishment. That seems reasonable to me. In fact, I already blogged about it. Perhaps the gathering outrage towards Matt Damon had more to do with some women not wanting to hear from men at all on this issue; with what is perceived as “mansplaining.” Looking at the trending hashtag #MattDamon, many of the tweets from the-who can have the snarkiest comment on Twitter competition-seemed to be based around the idea that he’s a man, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he should just shut up. That may be true, but I would argue that if he had responded to a question about sexual harassment in Hollywood with, “I don’t have an opinion,” he would have been similarly blasted on social media. What do people want from him? Why don’t we just focus on what was actually said?
“I think we’re in this watershed moment. I think it’s great. I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories—and it’s totally necessary. You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” Alright, so far, I agree. He then went on to discuss Louis C.K, someone who has basically been punished the exact same way as Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein (assaulters), for essentially being a weirdo. “We can talk about rehabilitation and everything else. There’s criminal behavior and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross…I don’t know Louis C.K.; I’ve never met him. I’m a fan of his, but I don’t imagine he’s going to do those things again. You know what I mean?” I do. I think most people do. I don’t understand what the 18,000 petitioners are reading.
I’ll just say it. I think a lot of the twitter outrage is phony. Whereas Matt Damon can be removed from Ocean’s 8, I am a humble blogger and there is nothing that can be taken away from me. Tweet after tweet was some troll making a cheap shot at Damon. None that I read mentioned any particular thing he said that they disagreed with.
Everybody is allowed to have an opinion about absolutely any topic. If you are trying to discount a person’s opinion based on what demographic they belong to, you’re in the wrong. Outrage isn’t a stance on anything, it’s a base reaction. You have to move past it towards something more meaningful if you want to articulate something. This anti-Matt Damon petition, so far, hasn’t articulated anything, but if enough women don’t want him in this rip-off film, fine. Big whoop.