Hollywood actor Matt Damon branded Wall Street as a cabal that "steals people's money," right before making a thinly veiled endorsement of Massachusetts' freshman Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren.
In a commencement speech on Friday before nearly 3000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) undergraduates and graduate students, the Boston-bred Damon gave a politically tinged speech that also took aim at presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, the media and elected officials.
Damon excoriated politicians who are "incentivized to think short term, and simply do not engage with long-term problems."
Yet Damon—an outspoken Democrat who has endorsed Hillary Clinton—reserved some of his harshest critique for bankers, which he faulted for the 2008 financial pandemic that reverberated through the global economy. Ironically, Clinton has come in for sharp criticism for her ties to the financial industry, cultivated during her tenure as New York's junior senator.
Calling the crisis "the biggest heist in history," the "Jason Bourne" actor insisted that financial institutions were aware of the ramifications of their actions, which he called fraudulent.
"It was theft, and you knew it. It was fraud and you knew it, And you know what else? We know that you knew it," Damon said. "I don't know if justice is coming for you in this life or the next but if it does come in this life? Her name will be Elizabeth Warren," he added.
Judging by the sparse applause during his comments, Damon may have been speaking to a less than receptive audience.
In fact, a 2015 study by Harvard Business School found that finance was the ranked as most popular industry among MIT grads entering the labor market, with more than 8 percent taking jobs in the financial sector after graduation. MIT's business program is a feeder school to many large Wall Street banks and hedge funds, but at placement rates less impressive than competitors like Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and New York University.
In 2012, Damon and fellow actor Ben Affleck raised money for Warren's Senate campaign. Warren, who is wildly popular with rank and file Democrats, is frequently mentioned as a future presidential contender.
Damon even weighed in on the subject of whether the U.K. should sever ties with the European Union. He called Brexit an "insane idea," and described it as the U.K. trying to "cut loose from Europe and drift out to sea."