Hollywood A-lister and star of the upcoming film Stillwater Matt Damon has found himself facing a wave of public backlash over some of his recent comments which managed to successfully, albeit inadvetently, hurt the sensibilities of some individuals within the LGBTQ community.
In a recent interview with The Times, the Stillwater star revealed that it was only “months ago” that he had stopped using the term “f*g” after being called out by his daughter, who wrote him a treatise on “how that word is dangerous.”
“The word that my daughter calls the ‘f-slur for a homosexual’ was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,” Damon told the British publication.
The actor further elaborated, “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.”
Upon reading the treatise his daughter wrote for him, Damon recalled, “I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.”
Twitter users were quick to chastise Damon for having only just recently stopped using the offensive slur, as many either accused the Academy Award-winning actor of being homophobic and ridiculed the comments he made during the aforementioned interview.
Buzzfeed writer David Mack, for instance, wrote, “my 15-year-old daughter recently wrote me a moving letter urging me to no longer say ‘matt damon’ like they do in team america world bc it’s offensive”
“Just outstanding that Matt Damon told his ‘I learned not to use a homophobic slur at 30’ like it was a heartwarming anecdote of lifelong learning,” wrote comedy writer James Felton, adding, “Like your nan enrolling in a watercolour class at the local college but for not saying the n-word.”
Star Trek actor George Takei also poked fun at Damon’s recent comments, writing “To be honest, I was privately insulting Matt Damon until a few months ago, too, so…”
In a statement issued to Variety, Damon attempted to clarify the comments he previously made during the interview with the British tabloid, stating that he “never called anyone a f****t” in my personal life.”
“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,” the actor explained.
He went on, “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,” the renowned actor added. “I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice,”
Damon then went on to explain that he has never used the aforementioned slur in his “personal life” and clarified that he does not currently “use slurs of any kind,” making sure to let those who have been offended by his recent comments know that he stands with the LGBTQ+ community.
“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,” Damon explained.
He continued, “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,” the Stillwater actor fervently asserted.
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