Actress Minnie Driver is not impressed with her ex-boyfriend and former Good Will Hunting co-star Matt Damon’s stance on the #MeToo movement. In January, Damon had told ABC News that women “feeling empowered to tell their stories” is “totally necessary,” but he worried that women were conflating a “continuum of behavior” ranging from “criminal behavior” to the “just kind of shameful and gross.” His remarks at the time — and in particular his defense of comedian Louis C.K. — led to widespread backlash on social media which prompted an admission from Damon that maybe he needed to “get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”
Speaking with Jodi Rudoren, associate managing editor for The New York Times, Driver said that she took exception to the notion that men should get a say in how women “metabolize abuse.”
“He represented every intelligent, nice, white male who feels it is their job to comment on the way that women metabolize stuff,” said Driver of Damon. “And what he happened to be talking about, in this instance, was how women should metabolize abuse — that we should somehow have a hierarchical system whereby a touch on the ass is this, the tits is this, front bottom, back bottom, over the shirt, rape.”
Elaborating on the #MeToo movement as a whole, Driver compared it to the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa, which sought to bring to light past racial abuses committed during Apartheid.
“There is no way this moves forward unless we do this together, Think about the model of truth and reconciliation. Use that as the model. Women, people, you get to speak out, you get to be heard … And then there is due process and then there is healing,” Driver explained.
Rudoren also asked Driver about her decision to resign as an ambassador at Oxfam, the popular U.K.-based charity with which she had worked for more than 20 years. Earlier this month, it was revealed that high-ranking officials in the charity had known that staff members working in Haiti had paid for sex with young women in what was described as a possible “pedophile ring.” Oxfam is also accused of covering up abuses by employees who allegedly traded humanitarian aid for sex and sexually abused underage volunteers.
“It broke my heart in more ways,” Driver admitted. “This makes me want to start crying now because the primary programs I have been involved with Oxfam are to do with women who have to work as sex workers to supplement their income. I needed to send a very clear message … to the corporate people who knew this was going on, who hush-hushed it, who were not transparent about it, either with me or the people that worked for them, and who didn’t do anything about it. They need to clean house.”
She also touched on a disturbing experience with Harvey Weinstein, recalling how he once told her in front of producers and other film executives that he wouldn’t cast her because she “was not fuckable.” Sexual harassment in the industry, and elsewhere, she added, wasn’t always necessarily about sex.
“It’s about power,” said Driver. “First and foremost.”
Watch an excerpt of the interview below.