Actor Matt Damon says he only recently stopped using the homophobic “f-slur for a homosexual” after his daughter explained it was unacceptable.
Damon told The Sunday Times she had written him “a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous”, after he used it in a joke.
He said the derogatory term for gay men “was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application”.
“She left the table,” the star recalled about the family disagreement.
“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.”
‘Insulation and isolation’
American comedian, actor and writer Travon Free suggested online that Damon’s realisation came a little too late.
“So Matt Damon just figured out ‘months ago’, by way of a ‘treatise’ from a child, that he’s not supposed to say the [F-]word,” posted the writer, who identifies as bi or queer.
“Months ago… Months ago.”
“I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced [the word] with,” wondered actor Billy Eichner, apparently unconvinced by Damon’s story.
Hollywood Reporter TV critic Daniel Fienberg noted: “As a member of the press, I like when celebrities talk to the press, but it’s always illuminating to hear the stories that folks like Liam Neeson or Matt Damon think are humanising and charming, but actually reveal insulation and isolation (among other unsavoury stuff) instead.”
Fienberg was referring to an interview Neeson gave in 2019, where he said he had reacted to the rape of a close friend by taking to the streets with the intention of killing a black person.
Although he expressed shame and horror at his actions, the comments led to widespread shock and criticism.
Damon told his “f-word” anecdote while promoting the new film Stillwater, which director Tom McCarthy said was inspired by Amanda Knox’s legal fight to be cleared of the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Knox recently criticised the filmmakers for “profiting” from her wrongful murder conviction.
It’s not the first time Damon has landed in hot water. In 2017, at the height of the #MeToo movement, Damon told reporters that inappropriate sexual behaviour needed to be seen as existing on a “spectrum”.
He recently apologised for the comments, admitting he had been “tone-deaf”.
“Like everybody, I’m a prisoner of my subjective experience and that leads to having blind spots,” he told The New York Times.
“Me more than most given the experience that I’ve had as a white male American movie star. It’s a very rarefied air. I don’t even know where my blind spots begin and end.
“So, yes, I was and am tone-deaf. I do try my best not to be.”