An Oscar winner for writing Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon only stopped using the antigay f word this year after one of his four daughters left the table when he said it, he said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“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 told the Times. “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!’”
His daughter Luciana then wrote to him about the harmful nature of the slur.
“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,’” said Damon, who was still using the antigay slur in the year 2021.
The actor known for the Bourne franchise told the story while explaining that the evolving nature of media and language has taught him to “shut the fuck up more.”
But he’s repeatedly made problematic comments over the years. At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Damon waded into the conversation around sexual harassment and abuse.
“I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” Damon said, speaking about the difference between Al Franken, who was accused of groping women’s butts and shoving his tongue in their mouths without consent, and Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual contact with young teens.
“Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” Damon said.
But he wasn’t done. He just kept paying lip service to an experience about which he knows nothing:
“The Louis C.K. thing, I don’t know all the details. I don’t do deep dives on this, but I did see his statement, which kind of, which [was] arresting to me. When he came out and said, ‘I did this. I did these things. These women are all telling the truth.’ And I just remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s the sign of somebody who — well, we can work with that’ Like, when I’m raising my kids, this constant personal responsibility is as important as anything else they learn before they go off in the world.”
On the fourth season of his reality show Project Greenlight in 2015, he interrupted Black female producer Effie T. Brown in an attempt to school her on diversity in Hollywood.
“When you’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not the casting of the show,” he said.
That same year, he instructed LGBTQ+ actors to remain closeted.
“Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play," he told the Guardian. "I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period.”
While Damon has vowed to retire the f word from his vocabulary, he has yet to apologize for using the hateful word.