“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,” Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent, wrote in the statement. “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.”
In an interview published by the U.K.’s Sunday Times this past weekend, Damon was quoted as saying that he had “retired” using the slur “months ago” after his daughter had explained to him the harm it might cause.
“I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter,” the Stillwater actor said. “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.”
But in a new statement to Variety, released on Monday afternoon, Damon claimed that he had never used the word in his “personal life” and that he does not “use slurs of any kind.”
“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 wrote. “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.”
He 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.”