During the promotion run for his new memoir, Greenlights, the Oscar-winning actor appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the book as well as the growing tensions between the left and right. McConaughey explained there were extreme views on both sides of the aisle—so extreme he has become increasingly concerned about US political debate and freedom of speech.
“You need liberals. What I don’t think we need is the illiberals, and what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals,” he told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. “Now, you know, there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair — that I don’t think are the right place to be. The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side, or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state. That makes no sense.”
McConaughey continued: “Where the waterline is going to land on this freedom of speech and what we allow and what we don’t and where this cancel culture goes, where that waterline lands is a very interesting place that we are engaged in right now as a society that we’re trying to figure out because we haven’t found the right spot … You’ve got to have confrontation to have unity … We don’t give a legitimacy or validation to an opposing point of view, we make it persona non grata, and that’s unconstitutional.”
The 51-year-old actor caught heat earlier this month when he made similar comments on Russell Brand’s Under the Skin podcast. McConaughey accused liberals—or what he calls “illberals”—for patronizing and judging people on the right, specifically those who support Donald Trump.
“It’s kind of an offhandedness, of like, ‘Oh, they’re dumb, they’re voting for Brexit, they’re voting for Trump.’ I don’t like it, and I don’t like to hear it,” he said. “… That’s part of why so much of the nation, that 50 percent, looks at us in Hollywood as like going, ‘Oh yeah, another celebrity over there, the west coasters and the elite in the northeast.'”
McConaughey said the nation needs to become “aggressively centric” if it wants to fix its toxic polarization. Many Twitter users slammed the actor over the comments, arguing he was being just as condescending to the left as he claims liberals are to the right.