Matt Damon was notable by his absence at the premiere of his new movie Downsizing in Los Angeles last night.
Reps for Paramount Pictures said that Damon, who plays the lead, was ‘dealing with an ongoing family matter’, while sources said that his father has been unwell.
However, it came after Damon became a whipping boy on social media after what were deemed to be tone deaf remarks about the continuing sex scandal consuming Hollywood.
Damon came under fire after he said in an interview with Business Insider: “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.”
The idea of men being congratulated for not molesting women didn’t go down at all well.
imagine being Matt Damon and thinking "I should keep talking" https://t.co/lSEIyDsvE4
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) December 18, 2017
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. https://t.co/mmdbqAUyP7
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) December 18, 2017
When it comes to Matt Damon, I am constantly hunting for goodwill
— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) December 19, 2017
And the ire accumulated around anger about previous comments, in which he described sexual harassment as ‘a spectrum of behaviour’, and spoke of a ‘culture of outrage’.
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behaviour, right?” Damon told ABC News.
“And we’re going to have to figure — 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?”
As well as a vast number of people on Twitter, a selection of famous names, including his Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver, also took him to task, but none so succinctly as Alyssa Milano, who explained that she has ‘been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt’.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in Damon’s absence, his Downsizing co-star Kristen Wiig said: “It’s a delicate thing for everyone to talk about, and I feel like we’re all learning.
“I have friends who have just told me stories of things that happened to them that I had no idea about it. It’s just been a heartbreaking thing for everybody.”