Actor Matt Damon has gotten himself into hot water with fans part of the LGBTQ community after admitting that he used an anti-gay slur.
While doing some promotion for his latest drama-thriller Stillwater (a film that includes a notable queer character and storyline), the 50-year-old movie star revealed that he got chastised by his 12-year-old daughter during a recent family dinner after he admitted to jokingly using the notorious, anti-gay slur f*gg*t as recently as a few months ago.
“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 recalled. “I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter. [Luciana] 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 added.
Now, in the midst of some backlash from media outlets and the global queer community, Damon is now backtracking, offering up a statement to The Hollywood Reporter where he explains that he has personally never used the f-word slur, and that while he did hear the word a lot during his childhood, he considers himself an ally and “stands with the LGBTQ+ community.”
“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 recalled. “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.”
He continued: “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. 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.”