The actor Matt Damon has issued a statement saying he's never used the homophobic 'f-slur' in his personal life, following his quotes in a recent interview which seemed to suggest he had done.
Damon's statement came after he gave an interview to the Sunday Times featuring a story about one of his daughters giving him a lesson on why using the f-word is dangerous.
The Sunday Times said Damon made the comments about "how he stopped using the most taboo term for gay people after his daughter protested" within a wider conversation about changes in "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,” Damon said in the interview. “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.”
In a subsequent statement issued to Variety, Damon said:
“During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualise 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. 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."
“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 added.
He concluded his statement by saying he stands with the LGBTQ+ community, and that he understands why his initial quote "led many to assume the worst."
“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.”
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