Wed, Dec 20, 2017 - Page 9 News List

Men like Matt Damon ‘cannot understand what abuse is like’

Minnie Driver has called Matt Damon’s remarks about ‘a spectrum of behavior’ in sexual misconduct ‘Orwellian’ and has questioned his defense of Louis CK

By Edward Helmore  /  The Guardian

Actor Minnie Driver told the Guardian on Saturday that men “simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level” and should therefore not attempt to differentiate or explain sexual misconduct against women.

Driver was discussing comments by Matt Damon, who she once dated and with whom she starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting.

In an interview with ABC News last week, Damon said that alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men involved “a spectrum of behavior.”

Damon said there was “a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation. Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated.”

He added that society was in a “watershed moment” and said it was “wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and it’s totally necessary.”

However: “We live in this culture of outrage and injury, that we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go: ‘Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect,’” Damon said.

In her first response to Damon, Driver wrote on Twitter: “God God, seriously?”

“Gosh it’s so interesting (profoundly unsurprising) how men with all these opinions about women’s differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem,” she wrote.

Driver’s response to Damon was shared widely on social media, alongside that of actor Alyssa Milano, who said: “There are different stages of cancer. Some more treatable than others. But it’s still cancer.”

“I felt I desperately needed to say something. I’ve realized that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level,” Driver said.

“I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse. A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not,” she added.

Driver’s comments come more than two months into a radical reappraisal of gender relations in the US that begun by accusations against US film producer Harvey Weinstein, an executive producer of Good Will Hunting who denies allegations including sexual assault and rape.

Speaking to ABC, Damon compared allegations against Weinstein, US Senator Al Franken, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis CK, who he commended for what he called his remorseful response.

“That’s the sign of somebody who — well, we can work with that,” Damon said. “I don’t know Louis CK. 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 imagine the price that he’s paid at this point is so beyond anything...”

Driver said that as accusations, suspensions and firings first swept through Hollywood, she initially refrained from comment.

She was now moved to expand her initial response to Damon.

“I don’t understand why Matt would defend Louis CK,” she said. “It seems to me that he thinks that because he didn’t rape somebody — so far as we know — that what he did do wasn’t as bad.”

The comedian was accused of misconduct including masturbating in front of a number of women.

In response, Louis CK said “these stories are true,” but did not specifically apologize.

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