After telling an anecdotal story about his daughter speaking out against using the homophobic slur for gay men to the Sunday Times, actor Matt Damon issued a press release saying he never personally called anyone by that word.
Damon, 50, had told the British paper that he “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,” he recounted to the outlet. “I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.”
After facing backlash for the comments, Damon issued a statement on Monday night insisting he stands with the LGBTQ+ community and never personally used that word.
“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 said. “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.”
Damon went on to add how he admired and agreed with his daughter’s articulate argument and was “thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
It was not clear which of Damon’s daughters wrote the treatise. He shares four girls with his wife, Luciana Barroso: step-daughter Alexia Barroso, 22, Isabella Damon, 15, Gia Damon, 12, and Stella Damon, 10.
After Damon's second statement, GLAAD, a non-profit that advocates for the rights of the LGBT community, said the conversations on Monday should serve as an "important reminder."
“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, said 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."