- Film & TV
- 03 Aug 21
Matt Damon has received backlash after revealing in a recent interview that he only 'recently retired the f-slur'.
Matt Damon has faced a slew of criticism regarding his former use of a homophobic slur, with the actor labelling the conversation a "misunderstanding".
Damon gave an interview with The Sunday Times in which he described how the word had been commonly used when he was growing up in Boston, with a different application and context. He went on to share an anecdote about how his young daughter had criticised his use of the word in a joke only months ago.
"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,” he said in the interview.
These comments were met with outrage online. Travon Fee, who is bisexual, tweeted “so Matt Damon just figured out ‘months ago’, by way of a ‘treatise’ from a child, that he’s not supposed to say the word f****t. Months ago. Months ago.”
Head of diversity and impact development at the digital film studio CreatorPlus, Ben O'Keefe, also commented, calling the Sunday Times article “such a weird interview”.
“Matt Damon reveals he JUST recently stopped using the word [...] as a slur after his daughter forced his hand...like what?” he tweeted.
Actor and producer Billy Eichner, made his comments more pointedly, tweeting, “I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced f****t with.”
This is not the first time Damon has been criticised for insensitivity. In 2017, he was asked to apologise for describing sexual assault as "a spectrum of behaviours" and in 2015 he was chastised for suggesting gay actors were better performers when they kept quiet about their private lives. In both instances, the actor apologised for his comments, citing them as misunderstandings.
Damon issued a statement to Variety regarding the recent comments made in the Sunday Times interview, saying “during the 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. 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."
“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 assured.
Anthony Allen Ramos - head of talent at North American LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD - issued a response to Damon’s statement, saying, “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."
“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,” he added.
Damon is currently promoting the movie Stillwater, which was released at the weekend to mixed reviews. In the film, he plays an American father attempting to secure his daughter’s release from incarceration in France, where she has been convicted of murdering her friend.
- Film & TV
- 27 Jan 23