Matt Damon is reprising his role as Linus Caldwell in “Ocean’s 8.” However, petitioners are asking for his cameo role in the upcoming movie to be deleted because of the actor’s controversial comments on the current sexual assault scandal involving Harvey Weinstein and many other powerful men in Hollywood.
“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” Damon said in an interview with “Popcorn with Peter Travers” on ABC News. The actor was referring to how sexual harassment claims should be viewed differently from sexual assault allegations.
“Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” Damon explained further. He was criticized because of these remarks and was also accused of enabling Weinstein.
When the accusations of sexual abuse against Weinstein were revealed, Damon and Russell Crowe were accused of meddling in a story about the behavior by the Miramax co-founder and the then-Miramax Italy head Fabrizio Lombardo. The story was being written by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman for the New York Times.
Damon and Crowe called Waxman to vouch for Lombardo and her story was not published by the New York Times, she revealed on The Wrap. While Damon did not deny the call, he clarified that Weinstein only asked him to vouch for Lombardo professionally.
“Harvey said, ‘Sharon Waxman is writing a story about Fabrizio and it’s really negative. Can you just call and tell her what your experience with Fabrizio was,'” Damon told Deadline. “So I did, and that’s what I said to her.”
Amid these controversies, critics do not find it appropriate for Luciana Barroso’s husband to be in “Ocean’s 8,” an all-female reboot that is supposed to be an empowering movie for women. The main cast includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina.
Directed by Gary Ross, “Ocean’s 8” will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on June 8, 2018. Watch the first official trailer here: