Fans are calling to remove Matt Damon from Ocean’s 8. With the first trailer recently released, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the female-led Ocean’s movie, which takes place in the same universe as Ocean’s Eleven. Damon is set to reprise his role from the Ocean’s movies, in order to provide a bit of connective tissue. However, given some recent comments he made about sexual harassment in Hollywood, a petition has been started online calling for the producers to remove him from the movie. Here’s how the beginning of the petition reads.
“The all-female reboot of Ocean’s 8 was supposed to be an empowering film for women. The movie spotlight the talents of its tremendous female cast and showcase the savvy and prowess of its characters. But that was before allegations that Matt Damon, who has a well-publicized cameo in Oceans 8, not only ignored but enabled his friend Harvey Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior by trying to squash a New York Times report in 2004 that detailed instances where Weinstein had used his position as a high-powered studio executive to harass and even assault women.”
The petition has more than 19,000 signatures and appears to be gaining traction. Matt Damon worked with Harvey Weinstein several times during his early career, including on his breakout hit Good Will Hunting. In addition to his alleged help in burying a story about Weinstein in 2004, which Matt Damon denies doing, the actor also recently appeared on ABC’s Popcorn with Peter Travers and had this to say, which has not been well received.
“I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories, and it’s totally necessary. I do believe there’s a spectrum of behavior. There’s a difference between 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.”
At the moment, it’s unclear just how big, or crucial, Matt Damon’s role in Ocean’s 8 is supposed to be. He doesn’t show up in the trailer, but even if his role is small, it could be an important part of the story. So removing him may not be so simple. In any case, the petition is calling on producers George Clooney, who stars in the Ocean’s trilogy, and Steven Soderbergh, who directed the trilogy, to take Damon out of the movie entirely.
“Damon’s inclusion would trivialize the serious nature of the charges against sexual abusers like Weinstein, a show massive disrespect for the brave women speaking out. It would also send a terrible message about the inevitability of, and lack of accountability for, sexual harassment in the workplace that four in ten American women experience. I’m calling on Ocean’s 8 producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh to toss Damon’s Oceans 8 cameo where it belongs: on the cutting room floor. Will you join me?”
It’s worth noting that Casey Affleck and Ben Affleck, two of Matt Damon’s frequent collaborators, have been accused of sexual misconduct as well. Though, as of now, Damon has not himself been accused. Still, his comments have stirred up enough controversy to call for his removal from Ocean’s Eight, which is set to hit theaters on June 8, 2018. To read the petition in its entirety, or if you feel the need to sign it yourself, you can check it out at Care2 Petitions.