Matt Damon is apologizing and clarifying remarks he made on the “Project Greenlight” season premiere Sunday, which stirred up controversy online.
“My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of ‘Project Greenlight’ which did not make the show,” he said in a statement to TheWrap on Wednesday. “I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood.”
During the episode, Damon and his fellow producers – including Ben Affleck, the Farrelly brothers and “Dear White People” producer Effie Brown — debated the directing finalists they had to choose from.
Brown lobbied for the directing duo of Leo Angelos & Kristen Brancaccio, an Asian man and white woman, arguing that they could bring a diverse perspective to the script.
But Damon disagreed.
“When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” he said, referring to the need to focus on diversity during casting, not during the staffing of the show.
“Wow. Okay!” Brown answered in amazement. She also expressed concerns over how the chosen script’s one black character, a prostitute, would be represented on screen.
Many social media users were just as exasperated as Brown. They relentlessly roasted Damon on Twitter and caused the hashtag #damonsplaining to trend for several hours on Monday.
Read Damon’s full statement below.
I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching “Project Greenlight” to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too.
My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of “Project Greenlight” which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood. That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having.
“Project Greenlight” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.