During an interview the actor Matt Damon had with The Sunday Times, he was quoted as saying that he retired use of “the f-slur” following a disagreement with his daughter. The big problem was the story suggested he had still been using the homophobic slur up until a few months ago.
In the article, Damon is quoted as saying the f-word “was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application.” The article continued, “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.”
Reactions were immediate, with huge backlash on social media querying why it had only been months ago that Damon had stopped using the slur. GLAAD even made an official statement saying that the conversations that arose after the Matt Damon interview “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.”
Following the furore, the actor shared an official statement with Variety insisting the interview was unclear and that he has never used that particular slur, or any slur, toward the LGBTQ+ community.
Damon’s statement reads, “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.
“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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
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