Matt Damon has issued a statement clarifying that he does not and did not use the homophobic "f-slur" in his personal life, after causing controversy over the weekend when he said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he stopped saying the word months ago.
In a statement provided to news outlets Monday, the Stillwater star explained his remarks. "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," the statement said. "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."
Damon 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."
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Matt Damon
In his interview with the Sunday Times, Damon said, "The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application. 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!'"
The actor added that his daughter "wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous. I said, 'I retire the f-slur!' I understood."
Damon's initial comments caused quite a stir online, with celebrities such as Billy Eichner weighing in. Eichner tweeted, "I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced f****t with."
In response to Damon's remarks over the weekend and on Monday, Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD's head of talent said in a statement, "The conversations that have arisen after Matt Damon's original interview and subsequent remarks today 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."
Ramos continued, "There needs to be accountability at a time when anti-LGBTQ slurs remain rampant today and can fuel discrimination and stereotypes, especially when used by those outside of the community to defame or describe LGBTQ people."