Actor says he is happy the comments 'stated a conversation about diversity in Hollywood'
Matt Damon has apologised for any offence he caused with his recent comments about diversity in Hollywood.
During Sunday’s season premiere of HBO’s Project Greenlight, a show which gives first time film-makers the opportunity to make a feature-length movie, Damon was seen interrupting Effie Brown, producer of films including Dear White People and The Walk, to share his own views on diversity.
As the show aired, the actor was widely criticised on social media for talking over Brown and for expressing what many viewers felt were narrow-minded views on the topic. The incident was dubbed ‘#Damonsplaining’ on Twitter.
Responding to the controversy in a press statement, Damon said: “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,” he continued. “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.”
During Sunday’s episode of Project Greenlight, Effie Brown argued that diversity should be a consideration both in front of and behind the camera, urging Project Greenlight‘s panel of mentors to choose a director who could ensure a sensitive depiction of Harmony, the lead character in the film being made on the show.
“I want to urge people to think about whoever this director is, the way they are going to treat the character of Harmony, her being a prostitute, the only black person [in the film] being a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp,” Brown said.
Damon interrupted to disagree, saying: “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.” Brown responded with an incredulous “Ooof! Wow! Okay”. Watch a clip of the awkward incident below:
Brown tweeted shortly after the episode aired: “Ooof! Wow! Okay. Thank you for watching the show and getting a great conversation started. I can’t wait to hear you on the other episodes!”