Matt Damon and More Hollywood Stars Under Fire For Sexual Misconduct Comments
While the number of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood grows, the number of tone-deaf reactions from stars has also grown. Along with Matt Damon, read on to learn about the ever-growing list of celebrities who are under fire for their sexual misconduct comments.
1. Matt Damon
The actor put his foot in his mouth (again) in an interview with Business Insider concerning Hollywood and sexual assault.
“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 s*** 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,” he told the publication.
His quote received quite a bit of backlash. Among those comments was a tweet from Debra Messing: “Matt Damon- SERIOUSLY? You are a smart man. A privileged, white man. This is NOT the time to ask for a pat on the back. How about we NOT celebrate men who are simply decent human beings. Stay on track, Matt. It’s not about you.”
2. Lena Dunham
TV star Lena Dunham has also recently been met with some backlash when she defended one of her Girls writers after he faced accusations of sexual assault. Many of the comments Dunham received were concerning the fact that she was aiming to silence a black accuser.
Zinzi Clemmons, a former contributor to Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, announced her decision to no longer write for the aforementioned newsletter and called on women of color to “divest from Lena Dunham” due to Dunham’s comments. She has since apologized.
3. Geraldo Rivera
Upon Matt Lauer’s recent firing over several sexual misconduct accusations, Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter. He tweeted:
Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. A jerk’s a jerk in dating. #SexHarassment should be confined to situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim’s employment
He went on to write what he thinks women should be required to do when reporting sexual assault, including reporting in a timely fashion and needing a witness.
Unsurprisingly, he was met with comments like “F––k that geraldo” from Rosie O’Donnell on Twitter. Fox News even chimed in: “We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him.”
4. Angela Lansbury
Actress Angela Lansbury recently did an interview with Radio Times that included some problematic comments concerning the current sexual assault movement. Lansbury said:
There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately, it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today,” “We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.
Though many people were surprised at her unsympathetic, dense take on the situation, she has since apologized (sort of), saying: “There is no excuse whatsoever for men to harass women in an abusive sexual manner. I am devastated that anyone should deem me capable of thinking otherwise. Those who have known the quality of my work and the many public statements I have made over the course of my life, must know, that I am a strong supporter of women’s rights.”
5. J.K. Rowling
America’s sweetheart author, J.K. Rowling, recently got into some trouble for writing that she’s “genuinely happy” about the casting of Johnny Depp in the latest Fantastic Beasts film. During discussions of whether to cast Depp in the role of the evil Gellert Grindelwald or not, fans came forward to express their disappointment in the consideration, due to the physical and emotional abuse allegations against him made by his ex-wife.
Vox lays out the proof of the allegations, as well as fans’ reactions.
Singer Morrissey really upset a lot of people with his comments concerning recent sexual assault allegations. Not only did he defend Kevin Spacey by saying (one of) the 14-year-olds he allegedly assaulted should have known what was going to happen when he went into a bedroom with Spacey, but he also said women only speak out when it’s convenient for them.
“People know exactly what’s going on,” he reportedly said when asked about Weinstein. “And they play along. Afterwards, they feel embarrassed or disliked. And then they turn it around and say: ‘I was attacked, I was surprised’. But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it,” he said. He went on to clarify, “I hate rape.”
7. What all of these statements have in common
Each one of these celebrities has spoken out against sexual abuse at some point or another. They have all made clear, just as Morrissey did, that they “hate rape.” The problem is, nobody’s necessarily accusing them of supporting sexual assault. What they are (rightly) accusing them of failing to see the bigger picture and all of the nuanced problems that fit under the sexual assault umbrella.
Above all, these stars should be called out for not listening to or supporting the people who have been brave enough to speak out and ask for help.
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