Matt Damon is making a very… interesting attempt to walk back his comments on homophobia.
As we previously reported, while promoting his new film Stillwater, the actor revealed to the Sunday Times that he had only recently “retired” the “f-slur for a homosexual” from his vocabulary. He told a story to the outlet about how his daughter had written him a “very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous” that opened his eyes to why he shouldn’t use hate speech. (Yep, it’s as bad as it sounds.)
Predictably, the Oscar winner received a lot of backlash for this unprompted tale of private homophobia. On Monday, he released a statement that wasn’t quite an apology — instead, he changed his story completely. He explained:
“During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualize for her the progress that has been made — though by no means completed — since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word ‘f*g’ used on the street before I knew what it even referred to. I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003; she in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly. To my admiration and pride, she was extremely articulate about the extent to which that word would have been painful to someone in the LGBTQ+ community regardless of how culturally normalized it was. I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice.”
Umm, yeah, that’s pretty freakin’ different than the story Matt previously told. It’s not like his words were taken out of context — he specifically said he “made a joke, months ago” that made his daughter storm away from the table. (“I said, ‘Come on, that’s a joke! I say it in the movie Stuck on You!’”) We’re not sure how telling a joke with a homophobic slur in it that upset his daughter transformed into a beautiful educational moment where HE was actually teaching HER something. (Why would she have felt the need to write a “treatise” if that was the case?)
His statement went on to absolve himself of responsibility, continuing:
“I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening. I do not use slurs of any kind. I have learned that eradicating prejudice requires active movement toward justice rather than finding passive comfort in imagining myself ‘one of the good guys.’ And given that open hostility against the LGBTQ+ community is still not uncommon, I understand why my statement led many to assume the worst. To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”
It wasn’t a personal awakening… and yet in the 50-year-old’s own (rather flippant) words, “I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.” This statement is such a direct contradiction of the previous story that one of them HAS to be a lie, right? TBH, we’re definitely leaning towards this newest one!
Ironically, the whole anecdote was preceded by the Bourne Identity star saying that recent cultural shifts have taught him to “shut the f**k up more.” If only he applied that lesson to this situation, he wouldn’t be stuck rewriting history now. Unfortunately, we’re left to watch as Matt digs himself into a deeper and deeper hole.
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