Matt Damon has been caught in the fangs of Twitter users for weeks now after he publicly demonstrated how clueless and hypocritical his understanding of the current moment in Hollywood is.
In an interview promoting his new movie Downsizing last week, Damon suggested that he would judge the severity of a case of sexual harassment depending on how well he knows the men who stand accused. He also said he might indeed work again with people who had been accused of sexual harassment and that he would decide this on a “case-by-case basis.” In yet another interview he decided to focus on all the men he knows who don’t harass women. Sure, Matt. (Just to be clear, saying that is like saying that courts should focus on all the people who aren’t murderers. Is the situation so dire that we need to congratulate men who are not predators?)
Since this was only another nail in a coffin Damon had already secured for himself, a petition arose online to scrap Damon’s cameo in the upcoming Ocean’s 8 film. Ocean’s 8 is the all-female reboot of the Ocean’s 11 franchise (starring Rihanna, Sandra Bullock, Mindy Paling, Cate Blanchett, and more dope women). Damon played a principal part in the original Ocean’s 11 movies. At the time of writing, the petition has 19,976 supporters, just short of its 20,000 signature goal.
"Damon's inclusion [in the film] would trivialize the serious nature of the charges against sexual abusers like Weinstein—[and] show massive disrespect for the brave women speaking out," the petition reads in part. "I'm calling on Oceans 8 producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh to toss Damon's Oceans 8 cameo where it belongs: on the cutting room floor."
To be totally fair, it’s unlikely that this will happen. The move is already in post-production, and Damon himself has not been accused of any acts of sexual harassment. He just has some pretty problematic opinions to how to deal with sexual harassment.
With that said, however, it’s not entirely unprecedented. If Soderbergh and Clooney were to listen to these almost 20,00 people, they’d be taking a cue out of Ridley Scott’s book, the director of the soon to be released All The Money In The World. Kevin Spacey was originally cast to star in that movie, but after the series of allegations against him started to be made public, Scott made the decision to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer and re-shoot all the scenes that included Spacey and then digitally alter them, thereby erasing all evidence that Spacey had anything to do with the film.