Matt Damon has apologised for the widely criticised comments he made in December about the wave of sexual abuse allegations in Hollywood, telling US TV show Today: "I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this."

The actor initially sparked controversy when speaking to ABC News when he said that not all men who have been accused of misconduct should be tarred with the same brush.

He said last year: "I do believe that there's a spectrum of behaviour and we're going to have to figure, you know, there's a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.

"Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated."

The Hollywood power player later said that men who are not sexual predators are not being talked about enough.

"We're in this watershed moment, and it's great, but I think one thing that's not being talked about is there are a whole s***load of guys - the preponderance of men I've worked with - who don't do this kind of thing and whose lives aren't going to be affected," Damon told Business Insider.

When he appeared on Today on Tuesday, Damon was asked by host Kathie Lee Gifford on what he had learned from the backlash to those comments, which saw him described as "tone deaf".

"I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this," he responded. "I think ultimately what it is for me is I don't want to further anybody's pain with anything I do or say, so for that, I'm really sorry."

The Downsizing star went on to say that he's going to be less vocal on the issue for now and let the women leading the Time's Up movement take the charge.

"A lot of those women are my dear friends and I love them and respect them and support what they're doing and want to be a part of that change," he said. "But I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while."

Matt Damon says he wants to support the Time's Up movement but will "close my mouth for a while"