Actor Matt Damon is facing a storm of outrage after saying he only recently stopped using the “f-slur” to refer to gay men.
Damon made the comment in an interview with the Sunday Times while he was explaining his views on the evolution of “modern masculinity.”
“The word that my daughter calls the ‘f-slur for a homosexual’ was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,” the “Stillwater” star said
He then went on to describe a recent confrontation with his daughter after he used the word, saying, “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!’ 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.”
The outlet seemed to realize it had a potential scandal on its hands, writing that Damon’s comment is “exactly the sort of anecdote people make headlines about.”
Using song lyrics as an analogy for the broader framework of an interview, writer Jonathan Dean pointed out to Damon the kind of trouble an off-hand comment can cause celebrities these days. “Twenty years ago, the best way I can put it is that the journalist listened to the music more than the lyrics,” Dean said, “your lyrics are getting parsed, to pull them out of context and get the best headline possible.”
Damon agreed, placing the blame on click-bait reporting, but also saying some good may have come from the development. “Everyone needs clicks. Before it didn’t really matter what I said, because it didn’t make the news. But maybe this shift is a good thing. So I shut the f— up more.”
Despite Damon’s admission that he was wrong to use the slur and plans to stop doing so in the future, many progressives still slammed him.
“I have ranch dressing that has been in my fridge longer than Matt Damon has NOT been using a homophobic slur and he somehow thinks he deserves praise for this Herculean effort,” wrote Democratic Michigan House Rep. Laurie Pohutsky.
LGBTQ activist Charlotte Clymer was similarly unimpressed with Damon’s change of behavior.
“This news bit about Matt Damon only recently deciding to stop saying “f****t” after his daughter wrote him a ‘treatise’ on it just makes me sad. Geez,” Clymer tweeted, adding, “This is the kind of thing forces me to wonder how much homophobic and transphobic sh** ‘progressive’ white cis straight men say behind our backs, and that just really sucks.”
Even some in Damon’s industry blasted him, with filmmaker Travon Free saying, “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.”