Hollywood life was pretty good for Matt Damon ... up until recently.
The versatile actor had a franchise to call his own (the "Bourne" features), an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay ("Good Will Hunting") and a steady supply of roles. He even worked tirelessly to promote clean water in impoverished parts of the world by co-founding Water.org.
He never got linked to any unsavory activities, the kind that ended the careers of Kevin Spacey and producer Harvey Weinstein. Damon still got trounced by the press last year. Why?
He said the "wrong" things about sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
The Huffington Post singled him out recently for a massive article shaming him for not walking in lockstep with the current progressive agenda. Here's the subhed that says it all: "The “Good Will Hunting” star was molded to fit an enterprising liberal ideal. Then times changed and he didn’t."
The article cites his thought crimes, including comments that a star's sexuality, when kept private, adds to an aura of mystery to their performances. He also "mansplained" diversity to a black female filmmaker, another no-no.
His biggest mistake, the one that set the "Get Damon" ball rolling? Saying that when it comes to sexual discrimination (and worse) in Hollywood, there's a spectrum of crimes to consider.
"I do believe there's a spectrum of behavior," he said at the time. "You know, there’' 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."
Which is 100 percent right. Rape is far more devastating than a butt squeeze, even while we all know both are unacceptable, which he also said with total clarity.
What happened next? The press and some fellow actors blasted him for his comments. He subsequently apologized.
Those apologizes are no longer necessary. Damon and his frequent collaborator and chum Ben Affleck recently announced their production company will abide by "inclusion riders." The term, given a major boost by Frances McDormand during her Oscar acceptance speech earlier this month. The policy requires productions to institute diverse hiring decisions.
Consider the lede of this mainstream news report, all but acknowledging how social press "changed" the actor.
It looks like Matt Damon is finally listening, as he promised after making controversial comments about the #MeToo movement.
The details of such inclusion rider policies? That's a work in progress, and likely the subject of many debates to come. As we've learned in recent months you never can be woke enough.
For now, though, Damon is back in the good graces of both the press and his Hollywood peers. The shaming took hold.