Hollywood star Matt Damon has come under fire after he revealed he stopped using the “faggot” slur after his daughter wrote him a treatise explaining how it’s problematic.
The Good Will Hunting actor has stated he has never used the slur “in his personal life”, despite revealing he stopped using the slur “a few months ago” in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“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 I 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 (Aug 2), the 50-year-old offered clarification around the backlash in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening.”
“I have learned that eradicating prejudice requires active movement toward justice rather than finding passive comfort in imagining myself ‘one of the good guys.’,” he said in the interview.
“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.”
Damon continued to elaborate on the situation: “During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualise 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.”
Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent, issued a statement following Damon’s use of the f-word on Monday evening.
“The conversations that have arisen after Matt Damon’s original interview and subsequent remarks today are an important reminder that this word, or any word that aims to disparage and disrespect LGBTQ people, has no place in mainstream media, social media, classrooms, workplaces, and beyond,” said Ramos told The Hollywood Reporter.
“There needs to be accountability at a time when anti-LGBTQ slurs remain rampant today and can fuel discrimination and stereotypes, especially when used by those outside of the community to defame or describe LGBTQ people.”
In 2017, during the start of Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations he said, “As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night.”
Soon after he made his statement, people criticised the 50-year-old actor for only stating that fathers should be worried about the producers’ allegations.
When referring to his backlash he said, “I understand. It’s a fair point. Anybody should be offended by that behaviour.”
He then went on to say that the media and journalism have changed over the years, which has made him become more aware of what he says.
“20 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.”