Matt Damon has stirred up controversy with a rather haphazard interview about the state of Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, appearing to argue that men who have groped or harassed women should not be judged as harshly as they haven't molested children or raped women.

The 47 year old star was speaking to ABC News journalist Peter Travers on Thursday (December 14th), and discussion turned to the sexual misconduct scandal engulfing the film industry following the revelations of widespread abuse and harassment perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein and others.

He condemned the actions of the disgraced movie mogul, saying that he didn’t know about the details of his behaviour at the time, but admitted that they didn’t surprise him.

Matt DamonMatt Damon's interview on the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal will likely cause controversy

“I knew I wouldn't want him married to anyone close to me,” he said. “But that was the extent of what we knew. I mean, and that wasn't a surprise to anybody. I mean, look at the guy. Of course he's a womaniser.”

The Weinstein allegations have led to a series of high-profile men being accused of sexual misconduct, including Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman and Louis C.K. However, in a wide-ranging interview, Damon believes that these men should be judged on a scale – and that some of the behaviours did not merit a loss of their careers.

“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behaviour, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation,” he said, in comments that will surely stoke controversy. “Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated, right?”

More: Matt Damon admits he knew that Harvey Weinstein harassed Gwyneth Paltrow

“The Louis C.K. thing… When he came out and said, 'I did this. I did these things. These women are all telling the truth,” he continued. “And I just remember thinking, 'Well, that’s the sign of somebody who — well, we can work with that'.”

“The fear for me is that right now, we're in this moment where at the moment — and I hope it doesn't stay this way — the clearer signal to men and to younger people is, deny it,” Damon then said. “Because if you take responsibility for what you did, your life's going to get ruined.”

In comments that are the most likely to receive backlash, Damon considered how social media (the prime platform for the subsequent #MeToo campaign) had changed the nature of how complaints like this were dealt with by the movie industry, and thinks that the kind of financial settlements that used to take place will no longer happen.

“With social media, these stories get — it's like they get gasoline poured on them. So the moment a claim is made, if you make that same claim today to me, I would be scorched earth. I'd go, 'I don't care if it costs $10 million to fight this in court with you for ten years, you are not taking my name from me… You can't just blow me up like that.' So I think once a claim is made, there will no longer be settlements. That's just my prediction, I mean, just based on what I've seen.”

More: Salma Hayek pens essay detailing alleged sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein