It finally happened — after years of Hollywood celebrities vowing that the horrors they expected to endure during the tenure of a Republican president would force them to flee America, one of them was reported to finally be doing it. (Note: see update below.)
According to Page Six, Matt Damon will be moving his family to Australia, “in part because the liberal star’s fed up with President Trump.”
Damon, 47, reportedly has purchased a property in Byron Bay, New South Wales, according to Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph. The home’s next door to a place owned by Chris Hemsworth — with whom Damon recently appeared in “Thor: Ragnarok.”
A source exclusively tells Page Six: “Matt’s telling friends and colleagues in Hollywood that he’s moving the family to Australia” because the activist actor disagrees with Trump’s policies. The president’s frequently butted heads with liberal Hollywood A-listers including Meryl Streep. The source added, “Matt’s saying the move will not impact his work — as he will travel to wherever his projects are shooting. He’s also telling friends he wants to have a safe place to raise his kids.” Damon has four children with wife Luciana Barroso.
Of course, there are no details about what specific Trump administration policies are making Damon’s life such an abyss of despair and hopelessness that he felt compelled to flee to the land of koalas. Last time I checked, he was rich and famous before Trump got elected and today, more than one year into the Trump presidency, he is…yep…still rich and famous.
And, as even Page Six pointed out, Damon has been facing a firestorm of controversy for his comments about the #MeToo movement that were viewed as “insensitive” — saying that the allegations should be judged on a “spectrum of behavior” — not to mention his longstanding close relationship with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
So is Ronan Farrow about to expose Matt Damon's true affiliation with Harvey Weinstein or what?
— Joe Cunningham (@JoePCunningham) March 15, 2018
Still, let’s give Damon credit for doing more to follow through than most celebrities who have dramatically claimed they would leave America rather than live under the oppression of a Republican in the White House.
In 2000, Alec Baldwin reportedly said he would leave if George W. Bush were elected, and then backtracked a few times on that comment, according to Snopes. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder similarly promised he would be “moving to a different country” if “little Damien II,” as he referred to Bush, were elected. Barbra Streisand made the threat back in 1992 if George H.W. Bush had won re-election against Bill Clinton. Lena Dunham said in April 2016 that she would move to Vancouver if Trump won.
None of them actually moved.
So credit to Damon if he actually moves to the other side of the planet. I do wonder if he’s really thought this through, though. Will Damon manage to be a trendsetter and spark a celebrity exodus from Hollywood to Australia or elsewhere? (Personally, I’d like to see some of these celebrities who have effusively praised the tyrannical Castro regime in Cuba actually try to live under it.) Because, to be completely honest, if Trump manages to spark a celebrity mass migration, there is a not insignificant segment of America who will happily vote to re-elect him for it.
No need to despair, though. Damon may be leaving America, but he’ll always be a part of Team America.
UPDATE: Gossip Cop reports that Damon is not planning to move to Australia after all. Just like the original Page Six story, they’re citing unnamed sources, so judge for yourself. My take? History tells us that Hollywood celebrities spend a lot of energy threatening to leave America because of Those Awful Republicans but very rarely bother to start packing.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.