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Matt Damon has issued a statement to clarify his recent comments about using the “f-slur for a homosexual”.
In an interview with The Sunday Times published this weekend, Damon said that the offensive term for gay people was “commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application.” He provoked controversy by adding that he’d used the term in a joke “months ago” and that his daughter had told him not to.
Damon has now addressed the issue in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. It begins: “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.”
He goes on to say that the word was used in a line of dialogue in a 2003 movie, Stuck On You, in which Damon andGreg Kinnear play conjoined twins. His daughter, he says, “expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly.”
The statement concludes: “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.”
Damon’s decision to share the initial anecdote about the homophobic slur prompted widespread criticism, including from the comedian and TV presenter Billy Eichner.