‘I have never called anyone f****t in my personal life’: Matt Damon says he ‘stands with the LGBTQ+ community’ after backlash over his use of the homophobic slur in a conversation with his daughter just months ago
- Matt Damon on Sunday said he only recently stopped using the homophobic slur
- The actor said the word was ‘commonly used’ when he was younger
- He used the word in a joke to her daughters, and one of them wrote ‘a beautiful treatise’ about how the word is ‘dangerous’
- Damon has three daughters – Isabella, 15, Gia, 12 and Stella, 10 – with wife Luciana Barroso
- The Good Will Hunting star told The Sunday Times he ‘retired’ using the word
- On Monday the actor denied ever having used the slur ‘in my personal life’
- Damon added: ‘This conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening’
Matt Damon on Monday insisted that he had not had ‘a personal awakening’ after revealing that he was using the homophobic slur f****t until ‘just a few months ago’ – when his daughter was forced to tell him it was wrong.
Damon, 50, sparked a furious backlash when he told The Sunday Times about a conversation with one of his three daughters – Isabella, 14, Gia, 12, and Stella, 10.
‘The word that my daughter calls the ‘f-slur for a homosexual’ was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,’ he said.
‘I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter. She left the table. I said, ‘Come on, that’s a joke! I say it in the movie Stuck on You!’
‘She went to her room and wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous.
‘I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.’
On Monday, Damon issued a clarification.
‘I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter.
‘I do not use slurs of any kind.’
Matt Damon, seen in New York at the Stillwater premiere on July 26, insisted on Monday that he had never used the homophobic slur in his private life. He spoke out following an ill-advised revelation during an interview with The Sunday Times
The little ones: Matt and his wife Luciana Barroso, 45, have daughters Isabella, 14, Gia, 12, and Stella, 10. She has daughter Alexia Barroso, 22, from a previous relationship with Arbello Barroso
Damon’s fans were stunned by his Sunday interview, with social media users questioning why it has taken him until only recently to stop using the homophobic slur, while others suggested Damon could have ‘canceled himself’.
Adam Ellis, a New York City-based comic artist and illustrator, said: ‘So Matt Damon has just been walking around his mansion casually saying faggot in front of his daughters? In 2021?’
‘Has Matt Damon just canceled himself?’ asked one Twitter user.
American comedian, actor and writer Travon Free said: ‘So Matt Damon just figured out ‘months ago’, by way of a ‘treatise’ from a child, that he’s not to say the word f****t. Months ago.’
Damon on Monday attempted to repair the damage.
‘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,’ he told the site.
‘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.’
Damon said that he wanted to make clear he stood with the LGBTQ community.
‘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.’
Other social media users questioned why Damon felt the need to share such an anecdote.
Canadian comedian Deven Green, known as her satirical name Mrs Betty Bowers, said: ‘I’ve lost some respect for Matt Damon for two reasons:
‘Being a 51-year-old (sic) Harvard-educated person who only realized using homophobic slurs was a bad thing months ago and being foolish enough to think that was a cute story he should share with the world.’
Another user said: ‘I’m screaming because why did Matt Damon tell us that unprovoked?’
‘Matt Damon’s teenage daughter going to painstaking lengths, constructing an entire essay on why he shouldn’t use a slur, for his own benefit as much as anyone else’s, only for him to waltz off to the nearest journalist to merrily inform them how often he used it till a week ago,’ said one user.
‘I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced f****t with,’ said comedian Billy Eichner, who is also gay.
He also said in another tweet, ‘And to think I didn’t throw a retirement party!’
He added: ‘Imagine this headline about any other derogatory ethnic/racial/religious etc slur being used in 2021. People would be up in arms and rightfully so. But you’re still allowed to be homophobic in this fake-woke industry. HAPPY PRIDE!!!’
Film journalist Jordan Hoffman tweeted, ‘Do celebrities not realize they are not legally required to speak to the press?’
The tweet also garnered a response from actor Seth Rogen, who said, ‘They actually literally are a lot of the time,’ referring to actors being required to promote their projects by the studios in their contracts.
Even with that being the case, many were baffled that Damon revealed that information so casually in the interview.
Not required: Film journalist Jordan Hoffman tweeted, ‘Do celebrities not realize they are not legally required to speak to the press?’
Literally: The tweet also garnered a response from actor Seth Rogen, who said, ‘They actually literally are a lot of the time,’ referring to actors being required to promote their projects by the studios in their contracts
TV writer Chase Mitchell stated, ‘Everybody: The National news media: The trades: TMZ: Matt Damon: ‘Y’know I said f****t until like last Tuesday.’
Writer Charlotte Clymer, who is also a lesbian, added, ‘This news bit about Matt Damon only recently deciding to stop saying ‘f****t’ after his daughter wrote him a ‘treatise’ on it just makes me sad. Geez.’
She added in another tweet, ‘I have a bad feeling that this is an incredibly clumsy attempt at marketing for a film in which Damon plays a good ole boy trying to save his queer daughter from harm, and I gotta tell ya: I know a lot of good ole boys who already get why this is wrong and don’t do it.’
The Young Turks contributor Adrienne Lawrence added, ‘If Matt Damon’s using homophobic slurs at the dinner table in 2021, you can’t tell me he’s not using racist slurs too. Bet.’
TV writer Jaclyn Moore added, ‘Remember when the joke was that Ben Affleck was the dumb one and Matt Damon was the smart one?
‘Because one is dating J-Lo and the other is spending the year of our lord Dolly Parton 2021 bragging about how he just stopped saying ‘f*g.’
Tuesday: TV writer Chase Mitchell stated, ‘Everybody: The National news media: The trades: TMZ: Matt Damon: ‘Y’know I said f****t until like last Tuesday’
Adrienne: The Young Turks contributor Adrienne Lawrence added, ‘If Matt Damon’s using homophobic slurs at the dinner table in 2021, you can’t tell me he’s not using racist slurs too. Bet.’
Jaclyn: TV writer Jaclyn Moore added, ‘Remember when the joke was that Ben Affleck was the dumb one and Matt Damon was the smart one? Because one is dating J-Lo and the other is spending the year of our lord Dolly Parton 2021 bragging about how he just stopped saying ‘f*g’
Another entertainment journalist, Daniel Fienberg, added, ‘As a member of the press, I like when celebrities talk to the press, but it’s always illuminating to hear the stories that folks like Liam Neeson or Matt Damon think are humanizing and charming, but actually reveal insulation and isolation (among other unsavory stuff) instead.’
Freelance writer Erin Biba tweeted, ‘Matt Damon really becomes more intolerable by the second, huh? Like the hole that dude has dug himself might come out the other side of the Earth soon.’
Press: Another entertainment journalist, Daniel Fienberg, added, ‘As a member of the press, I like when celebrities talk to the press, but it’s always illuminating to hear the stories that folks like Liam Neeson or Matt Damon think are humanizing and charming, but actually reveal insulation and isolation (among other unsavory stuff) instead’
Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso, 45, have daughters Isabella, 14, Gia, 12, and Stella, 10.
She has daughter Alexia Barroso, 22, from a previous relationship with Arbello Barroso.
Damon went on to complain in the newspaper interview about his words being put under a microscope, saying: ‘Twenty years ago, the best way I can put it is that the journalist listened to the music more than the lyrics [of an interview].’
‘Now your lyrics are getting parsed, to pull them out of context and get the best headline possible. Everyone needs clicks. Before it didn’t really matter what I said, because it didn’t make the news.
‘But maybe this shift is a good thing. So I shut the f– up more.’
The family: Damon and Barroso enjoy a beach day with their daughters Isabella, Gia and Stella in Byron Bay, Australia
The actor – who has worked with Steven Soderbergh on ‘Ocean’s Trilogy’, 2009 crime comedy ‘The Informant’ and 2013 drama ‘Behind the Candelabra’ – opened up on how his cameo in ‘No Sudden Move’ came about.
He told Collider: ‘I try to do every movie that Steven does, I have to try to play at least some part in it. I think we’re up to 10 now.
‘He called me when I was doing The Last Duel and just said he had another actor for that part, but because the movie moved and it pushed because of COVID and everything, it opened up.’
Damon admitted he’d already looked over the script – which he tries to do for all of Soderbergh’s projects – which made it an ‘easy’ decision.
He added: ‘I had already read the script because I usually read what he’s working on out of interest so I just jumped at the chance to parachute in and play that guy.’
A new movie for this vet: Damon is starring as an oil rig worker in Stillwater
His cast mates: Damon, Abigail Breslin and Tom McCarthy attend the Stillwater’New York Premiere on July 26 in New York City
There was also a bonus treat of getting to share the screen with two of his favorite performers.
He said: ‘Plus it’s a scene with two of my favorite actors in the world, Don Cheadle and Benicio del Toro, so that was another easy yes.’
Damon also serves as a production with Project Greenlight alongside Chris Moore, Sean Bailey and Ben Affleck, while he and Affleck also created Pearl Street Films together.
Discussing potential projects, he admitted: ‘I don’t have – there’s a few that I’ve had in the wings, but I dunno.
‘I guess I’m waiting for the next one to come my way.’
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