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Matt Damon has walked back comments he made in an interview last week in which he seemed to suggest that he was still using the antigay slur “f*g” as recently as “months ago.”
The actor told the Sunday Times that his daughter admonished him for using “the ‘f-slur for a homosexual,’” which Damon, 50, said was “commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application.”
“I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter,” he continued. “She left the table. I said, ‘Come on, that’s a joke! I say it in the movie Stuck on You!’”
Damon’s daughter 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.”
After outcry on social media, Damon has now issued a statement saying that he has never called anyone “f****t” and doesn’t use “slurs of any kind.”
“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,” Damon said.
“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,” he continued.
“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 added: “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.”
The star of the Bourne franchise said he has “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,” Damon said. “To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”
In another recent interview, Damon addressed “tone-deaf” comments he made during the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017. Damon was criticized at the time for saying that there was a “spectrum of behavior” for sexual misconduct.
“Like everybody, I’m a prisoner of my subjective experience and that leads to having blind spots,” he told The New York Times last month.
“Me more than most given the experience that I’ve had as a white male American movie star,” Damon said. “It’s a very rarefied air. I don’t even know where my blind spots begin and end. So, yes, I was and am tone-deaf. I do try my best not to be.”
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