Matt Damon is attempting to set the record straight on his “f-slur” controversy. Over the weekend, Damon mentioned in an interview that his daughter apparently helped him realize that he should stop saying a homophobic slur. The quotes came amid promotion of his work in Stillwater, saying that “months ago” his daughter wrote a “treatise” that explained “how that word is dangerous.”
Reaction to that interview was mostly confusion, as he implied it was a recent revelation that hate speech isn’t exactly cool. Which has led to Damon speaking out on the matter again this week. In a statement to Variety on Monday, Damon clarified that he had not “retired” the phrase recently and was simply trying to “contextualize” the “progress” that had been made in discourse with the anecdote.
“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 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.”
Damon attempted in his statement to clarify that he was not still using the term before his daughter’s interaction, but that it was supposed to be a positive statement about the way societal norms have evolved. He noted that he’d heard the word used on the streets of Boston growing up before he knew what it meant, which had made his daughter upset and led to their conversation he later recalled during the interview.
“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.”
Despite that, Damon did say he understood that what showed up in the story “led many to assume the worst” and led to the outcry he addressed with his statement on Monday.