The 'Stillwater' actor released a statement on Monday addressing his controversial remarks in a recent interview.
Matt Damon is addressing his recent controversial remarks. The Stillwater star released a statement to ET on Monday concerning comments he made in an interview with The Sunday Times over the weekend, in which he said his daughter recently opened his eyes and convinced him to stop using what she referred to as "the f-slur for a homosexual."
"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 shared in his statement on Monday.
"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," he continued -- referring to his comedy Stuck on You, which he previously mentioned in his controversial interview. "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," Damon continued. "I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice."
Seemingly in response to some critics, who accused him of likely using the slur in his daily life, or who expressed shock that he just now learned the word was offensive, the actor further stated, "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,'" Damon stated. "And given that open hostility against the LGBTQ+ community is still not uncommon, I understand why my statement led many to assume the worst."
The actor concluded, "To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community."
In his interview with The Sunday Times, Damon shared an anecdote about how his daughter (whom he did not name) called him out for using the term, and then penned a letter to the actor that convinced him to quit using it.
"I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter," recalled Damon. "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."
"The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid," Damon said, "with a different application."
Damon himself seemingly predicted the possibility of backlash in the same interview when he said he's learned to not say as much in interviews, as his comments are more likely to be picked apart in the modern media landscape.
"Twenty years ago, the best way I can put it is that the journalist listened to the music more than the lyrics [of an interview],” Damon opined. "Now, your lyrics are getting parsed, to pull them out of context and get the best headline possible. Everyone needs clicks."
"Before it didn't really matter what I said, because it didn't make the news. But maybe this shift is a good thing," he added. "So I shut the f**k up more."