Matt Damon denies ever using homophobic slur ‘in personal life’ 

Actor issues statement to Variety amid outrage over interview in which he says he recently ‘retired the f-slur’
Matt Damon denies ever using homophobic slur ‘in personal life’ 

Matt Damon attends the "Stillwater" New York Premiere at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center on July 26, 2021 in New York City. 

Matt Damon has reportedly denied using a well-known homophobic slur “in his personal life”, after being widely criticized for revealing in a recent interview that he “retired” the term after his daughter told him it was unacceptable.

The Oscar-winning actor had told the Sunday Times that the word “was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application”.

He said his daughter had taken him to task after he used the word in a joke “months ago”. 

“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,” he said in the interview.

Damon, who in 2017 apologized for saying sexual assault was “a spectrum of behavior” after a similar outcry, has faced criticism from LGBTQ+ activists over the Times interview.

Travon Free, the bisexual comedian, actor and Oscar-winning director, said in a tweet: “So Matt Damon just figured out ‘months ago’, by way of a ‘treatise’ from a child, that he’s not supposed to say the word f*ggot. Months ago. Months ago.” 

The actor said the interview “led many to assume the worst”.
The actor said the interview “led many to assume the worst”.

The actor later gave a statement to Variety, claiming he had never used the slur in his “personal life” and saying the interview “led many to assume the worst”.

“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,” Damon said.

"[My daughter] 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.” 

He added: “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.” 

Damon, 50, who won an Academy Award in 1998 for Good Will Hunting, and his wife, Luciana, have four daughters ranging in age from 10 to 23. It is not clear which of them wrote him the letter.

It is not the first time that Damon has prompted concerns over his views on homosexuality. In a 2015 interview in the Guardian, he said he thought gay actors were better performers if they kept quiet about their private lives, comments he later claimed were “misconstrued,” during an appearance on the US television show Ellen.

“I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery. Right?” he told the host, Ellen DeGeneres.

“Somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. It’s stupid, but it is painful when things get said that you don’t believe. And then it gets represented that that’s what you believe.” 

The actor is currently promoting the movie Stillwater, released at the weekend to mixed reviews. Damon plays an American father attempting to secure his daughter’s release from incarceration in France, where she has been convicted of murdering her friend.

  • The Guardian 

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