Matt Damon mansplains diversity on Project Greenlight: problematic or fine?

Matt Damon Talks With NASASpoilers for the first episode of Project Greenlight follow

Matt Damon, to date, has arguably yet to make a false move when it comes to his public image. (Yes there’s the Minnie Driver thing, which is ancient news.) This is of course in sharp contrast to his buddy Ben Affleck, who is going through a rather scandalous separation and most likely a divorce. All of that may have changed in the first episode of Damon and Affleck’s director-search reality series, Project Greenlight, which returned to HBO on Sunday after a ten year hiatus.

The context is that 13 young directors were chosen out of thousands of applicants to come to LA to shoot a short film, written by the Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber). Their entries and subsequent interviews would enable a panel of nine Hollywood insiders, including the Farrelly Brothers, Damon, Affleck, and several producers, to pick a finalist to film a $3 million comedy for HBO. Unlike past seasons, this is more focused on the process of making the film, with the director selection occurring in the first episode.

As the panel, which consisted of seven white men and two women, discussed their final four selections, producer Effie Brown (Dear White People, But I’m a Cheerleader) brought up the fact that one directing duo was diverse. She had given voice over prior to this explaining why, as a woman of color growing up in the 70s, minority representation was important to her. She said “There weren’t a lot of positive representations of women and people of color [in film]… we were gangsters, prostitutes, drug addicts… this is an opportunity where I can change that.” Then, when Brown tried to advocate for the directorial team of her choice, a woman and a recent emigrant from Vietnam, Damon interrupted her and shot her down with a problematic argument – that casting could make up for a lack of minorities behind the scenes. It’s worth noting that Brown was the only panel member who voted for this directing team, but that doesn’t excuse Damon’s explanation. Also, the only black person in the film would be a prostitute (Harmony) with a white pimp, and everyone agreed that the script was questionable and would need to be changed.

Here’s that exchange in some context. If you watch the show it’s at about 30 minutes in, and there’s a shorter clip below:

Brown: I just want to bring out something. I want to urge people that whoever this director is, the way that they’re going to treat the character of Harmony, her being a prostitute, the only black person, her being a prostitute who gets hit by her pimp. You’re looking at this group right here and who you’re picking and the story that you’re doing and I want to make sure that we’re doing our best for the film.

Damon: I would say that only team that’s left with diversity is the team that announced that they liked this script the most as it is and that’s Leo and Kristen. Everyone else had major problems with it, with exactly the things you’re bringing up and exactly the things that we brought up to each other, so I…

Brown: Not necessarily true.

Damon: So I think on the surface they look like one thing but they might end up giving us something that we don’t want and we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.

Brown: Whoo. Wow. Ok.

Damon: Do you want the best director?

Brown: Hold on, I’m not mad. With love in my heart, even Leo and Kristen talked about, and we can roll it back, he said it was good having her because she has a perspective that he hadn’t even thought about when talking about women. They did talk about it.

Damon: Right, that’s totally fair.

Jennifer Todd, President of Pearl Street Films: You know, I have a problem with Harmony.

Peter Farrelly: Everybody does. I have a big problem with it as written.

Todd: I don’t look to just them to fix that, to be honest, I think we also have work to do.

Matt Damon (in voiceover): I’m glad Effie flagged the issue of diversity for all of us because filmmaking should [be shown] through a broader net and it’s high time for that to change, but ultimately if suddenly you change the rules of this competition at the eleventh hour, it just seems like you would undermine, what the competition is supposed to be about, which is about giving somebody this job based entirely on merit and leaving all other factors out of it. It’s just strictly a filmmaking competition.

Matt Damon (back in room): I think the whole point of this thing is you go for the best director, period. This is what we have and this is what we have to chose. The only thing I can go by is the work that they’ve done.

[From Project Greenlight, aired 9-13-15]

Damon argued that they could change the way the character was treated (although Damon was not as emphatic about it as the others) and that this particular directorial team may have been diverse, but that it didn’t mean that they would deliver in creating a nuanced character of color. His argument, that it didn’t matter if there was diversity behind the scenes, was short-sighted and he should know better. This issue received so much press this awards season with the snub of Ava DuVernay for a best director nom and the revelation of how white and old the Oscar voters are. Less than 7% of the highest grossing film directors are female, not to mention the lack of minority representation in film both behind and in front of the camera. Both matter, and both affect each other.

Ultimately they picked the director they thought would do the best job, but it’s telling that there was just one minority member on their panel and that her argument was quickly dismissed. Damon may have been “right” in the context of the competition, but he could have acknowledged Brown’s argument instead of dismissing it out of hand. Even the most liberal producers and directors can be blind to the issue of lack of diversity in film. Also, Kaiser wanted me to point out that the “merit” argument is “what white people use to silence diverse voices again and again.”



photo credit: HBO screenshots, and FameFlynet

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227 Responses to “Matt Damon mansplains diversity on Project Greenlight: problematic or fine?”

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  1. Mark says:

    ‘Mansplain’ = A guy disagrees with a woman

  2. QQ says:

    Mansplaining and Whitesplaing Double Bingo!!! LOVE IT LOL I love that he is gonna tell her how diversity should work LOL

    Im gonna put 3 more LOLs to this so I don’t cry of weary disappointment LOL LOL

      • MCraw says:

        Double WORD.

        I was just telling someone that as a woman of color in my department, I’ve only met two other black women and two Asian girls in my union, in the whole country- and I’ve been doing this for a decade.

        I am usually the only woman on set besides the actress and most certainly the only woman of color. Wardrobe and HMU are the only departments that consistently hire ppl of color. G&E has gotten better in recent years for men of color, but camera and director departments, the real opportunities for prestige, are very exclusive. It’s hard, it’s disheartening when someone says something insulting absentmindedly (even from other women or black men lower on the totem pole, who think I’m only there cuz I’m cute) , and I’ve had to really reign in my emotions the way Effie did here. Just yesterday, I had my “wow, ok” moment. It’s changing, but it’s been slow, when even people who consider themselves “advocates” are dismissive of you.

    • Shambles says:

      “We can’t change the rules of the competition at the 11th hour” = I don’t want to listen. I don’t want to self reflect. I don’t want to take this huge opportunity to take a stand for those who are seen as lesser

    • Kitten says:

      Mmmhmmm. It’s disappointing to say the least.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I wish I could lend a shoulder to your weary head. I’m sorry this crap is so constant and so overwhelming and exhausting.

    • Alex says:

      Ugh just yesterday I was saying how Matt was so good and then this.
      No sir. Just no. It’s like a double whammy of nope

    • Cali says:

      You summed this up perfectly, so disappointed with him😒

    • sarah says:

      I wanna agree with you but Damon’s a good seed in my book, ignorance is not the same as knowledgeable stupidity.
      My parents are in the same professional field and professional circles as his mother, who is a great human being and respected/loves what she does.. Damon just is a good seed, even when he says dumb stuff I honestly believe he has a true heart, a moral compass and general love for his career. I don’t write him off like i do for other idiots in Hollywood

      • justagirl says:

        His mother may be lovely, but words & attitudes reveal true character.

        When we overlook words & actions in favor of “good guy”, we’re just a step away from “how could Garner not see that Affleck is a douche?” territory. No doubt, she spent years overlooking words & actions in favor of “he’s a good guy, good family, good heart” explanations/excuses/whitewash.

        It’s really quite easy to deceive ourselves, especially with friends & family. When we create excuses for someone’s poor behavior on the regular, we’re heading down a slippery slope of eroding boundaries & our own self respect.

      • Jellybean says:

        Is a ‘good seed’ the same as ‘genetically superior’? Also, someone who has attended Harvard and presents himself as a spokesperson on liberal issues does not get to play the ‘ignorance’ card.

    • Emma - The JP Lover says:

      @QQ …

      Actually, I think all he said–in response to her thought that diverse subject matter ‘in front’ of the camera needs a diverse person, who could be sensitive to diverse issues ‘behind the camera–was that he thinks all you need behind the camera is someone ‘skilled enough to treat diverse subject matters’ with sensitively. Basically, what he said was that skill and merit should trump diversity behind the camera … which I assume also means that if anyone other than a white male director were more qualified to helm an all white male homogeneous-themed film, they should have the job as well. What is wrong with that? I mean, could you imagine anyone doing a better job with the film “The Color Purple” than Steven Spielberg?

      If he really were as bad as people here are painting him, would she be on their panel?

    • Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

      What’s next in the evolution of splanning words?

  3. mindydopple says:

    Ugh. He doesn’t get it.

  4. Santia says:

    It burns my butt that he says its about “merit,” like diversity and merit are mutually exclusive. That’s one. Two: It really annoys and saddens me that she had to say “I’m not mad” because – of course – being emphatic and having conviction translates to “I’m an angry black woman.’ The whole clip makes me stabby. And to think I used to like Matt Damon. Mansplaining and Whitesplaining all in one. Way to go, Matt.

    • Pinky says:

      Yup. PS, nobody respond to Mark, please, so it will go away!

    • saywhatwhen says:

      That’s what Gabrielle Union hinted at: black women in the work place better watch their tone and not get angry. I feel sad/embarrassed for her also that she had to say “I’m not mad”. That tells me she felt like she was in a situation where she would be viewed as a troublesome member of the team and she felt that she had no right to be assertive or to voice her criticism of the process. Isn’t it just an uncomfortable, demeaning feeling that takes you back…I don’t like that at all.

      I hope these guys or their agents read these comments so they get a sense of how she may/may not have felt. Because maybe they do not know. Just hope they are willing to listen though.

    • Redd says:

      They’re not mutually exclusive, but what about when the minority candidate isn’t the best person? I’m very sympathetic to her and feel we don’t see nearly enough diverse point of view in film and television. But, it’s a trickier and more complicated than that. Matt Damon is right to point out that it’s a shift in priorities late in the game. I don’t think that’s sexist or racist. Saying “well we’ll cast with diversity” is more problematic because he overlooks the limitations of creating realistic nonwhite people by white people.

      Hiring for diversity is good, but I agree with Damon that it needs to be a stated goal. Few people want to hear they’ve been hired because they’re female, or because they’re not white, after the fact (unless it is a recession, then nobody cares), not because they’re the best person. The other problem is that in creative jobs, where hiring is subjective, the “best person” might not be who the white person, or whoever is doing the hiring or casting, selects because their own background might prevent them from appreciating other people’s perspectives. I didn’t see the show so I’m not sure if that’s what was happening.

      • Keaton says:

        “Saying “well we’ll cast with diversity” is more problematic because he overlooks the limitations of creating realistic nonwhite people by white people.”


        “The other problem is that in creative jobs, where hiring is subjective, the “best person” might not be who the white person, or whoever is doing the hiring or casting, selects because their own background might prevent them from appreciating other people’s perspectives.”

        Both very good points. I think he’s well intentioned but totally blind to both these things.

      • Kerry says:

        That IS the issue in this case: there weren’t really any minority candidates.

        And why are you looking/suggesting ways to make what Damon said sound?

  5. kay says:

    Batflack and Damon are white men from Boston.
    And that women’s last expression stands for all woman and people of colour when faced with mansplaining bullshit.

    • Kitten says:

      Um, what does being from Boston have to do with it?

      • The Other Maria says:

        Boston is will known for its overt racism by whites against PoC, period.

        Do I think Damon is racist? Probably not, but given his background asked these comments, I can see the influence of his upbringing.

      • Kitten says:

        Um….ok I assume you’re referring to the busing issue of the 70s? Yeah that was awful, but not any worse than what the south did with voting rights in the first half of the 20th century. Jim Crow did not originate in Boston, my friend.

        Mostly, I wish people would stop making racism out to be some sort of geographical phenomenon. Not only is that factually incorrect, but it adds nothing to the conversation beyond sweeping generalizations.
        Racism exists in every town, in every city, in every suburb, in every part of the country, guys.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Kitten, you’re from Boston, correct? I’ve never been so I can’t speak for myself, but I’ve heard friends and family members that travel regularly say that they experienced awful racism there.

      • Kitten says:

        @AlmondJoy-Well it’s not really my place as a white chick to declare “racism doesn’t exist in Boston!!!” mainly because I know that’s not true, but also because well, I’m white. There’s probably a shit-ton of racism going on that I would never notice because it’s not happening to me.

        That being said, I have at least 40-50 people in my life, between co-workers, friends, and family who are all living in Boston, none of whom are racist. Boston also has including 7 junior colleges, 14 colleges, 8 research universities, and 24 special-focus institutions. My point being that we have an incredibly diverse group of young, liberal, hopeful, progressive people living here. Did your mayor hang a #Blacklivesmatter banner over city hall? Because Somerville’s (where my boyfriend lives and the town next to my neighborhood in Boston) mayor did. Just saying.

        Anyway, I find the “your state is more racist mine!” sh*t ridiculous and counterproductive, yet someone always seems to initiate that argument on any racism-related thread. Eh carry on I guess. I’m gonna bow out and take a nap. YAWN.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Thanks for the insight. I’m extremely curious since I’ve never been there. You make a good point that racism exists everywhere. In every state and every city and every town. Sounds like alot of good is being accomplished there in Boston. Love it. And NO NAPS Kitten!!! 😠 we need you here to enlighten us.

      • renee28 says:

        Racism exists everywhere including Boston. I grew up in New England and went to Boston for college. There’s a reason I hightailed it out of there after 1 semester. If you’re not white you’ll quickly find out where you don’t belong. If you’re white I’m sure it looks and feels like a great, liberal city. But that’s not reality for a lot of people.

      • Esmom says:

        Tiptoeing in to say I’m from Chicago and the racism here has always been rampant. And after 40+ years of living here I see no signs of it getting better.

      • Pinky says:

        Well. Went to/worked in one of those liberal schools in Boston and, yeah, super duper rampant racism for a big city. Let’s face it: Wahlberg is from Boston too and he exemplified the dominat viewpoints of white kids there (poor and rich). Then you have the reactionary hatred of white kids by black kids who suffered from white racism. Vicious cycle. Damon’s not Wahlberg by any means. Just clarifying why Boston might be relevant here. And I’ll bet you each of those actors would admit they were misguided in their youths by the rampant bigotry that surrounded them as kids.

      • Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

        Exactly. Mark Wahlberg is from Boston and he…ok bad example.

      • Moneypenny says:

        I am black and I live in Boston. I’ve lived in several other big cities and yes, my experience has also been that Boston is more racist than other cities. My husband grew up here and agrees. Now, I don’t really experience it in the ivory tower (where I spend most of my time), but have certainly felt it.

        Boston certainly does not have the monopoly on racism and I love it here. Just saying that the reputation it has is deserved and exists beyond the experiences of the 1970s.

      • laura in LA says:

        As a white person from Boston, I know that racism exists there, but now living in LA, I can tell you it exists here, there and EVERYWHERE. I mean, haven’t we seen this time and again from every city and town across the country?

        It’s not just what’s public, but attitudes expressed in private, through casual conversations, opinions on social media or in business meetings and dealings like this one. Damon clearly has some blind spots, don’t we all, but wasn’t this the point of Dear White People?

        While I can’t and won’t defend his opinion here, I for one am glad that Effie Brown, along with Jennifer Todd, is there to call him on it. And that they’re showing this, maybe now in hindsight he’ll see things differently.

        As for the director’s “merit”, given that Project Greenlight has not yet produced any watchable films – but gave us Shia LaBeouf! – despite their insistence otherwise, I doubt that this is anything more than dramatic reality TV.

      • laura in LA says:

        By the way, to add to what I said above, though I can’t dismiss the racism that some of you here have experienced in my homecity, and I’m sorry for that…

        I do wonder if some of it also due to the provincialism and insular nature of the area. At times, I’ve felt like an outsider going back there, one snotty woman even saying to me, “That’s not how *we* do things here.”

        And I thought, who the eff is this “we”?! So I can imagine how prejudice and racism only adds fear to already feeling unwelcome. :(

    • HK9 says:

      I know~her expression says it all.

    • saywhatwhen says:

      @Kay: Yeah, I have used that expression—a bit of sigh, frustration, hurt, look at these goons, am gonna try to show some compassion for the dumb dumbs and let me just remember to be soft and gentle about it all.

    • Luca76 says:

      Yeah Boston is pretty infamously one of the most racist cities in the North. I’m not surprised to see this type of behavior from a native.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        The thing is, I agree with Kitten that the whole country is racist. A person might have a terrible experience in any city in the country. Or subtle things might happen so you’re just not sure if that was what you thought it was. I think I, and other people with Southern accents who have lived all over the country, have some insight into this because everywhere I have ever lived, there were people who thought I would be sympathetic to their racism because I was southern. So they would tell me things they might not say to their contemporaries. It’s invisible, but it’s there. There might be areas of the country where you have more outspoken groups of racist people, but there is invisible racism everywhere. I didn’t say that very well. Sorry. I just get frustrated with the finger pointing because this has happened to me in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Texas, Delaware, New Jersey and Missouri.

      • laura in LA says:

        GNAT, that’s an interesting perspective coming from the South, though you’re right that it’s everywhere.

        Even here in liberal California, the attitudes towards blacks by people of all other races and ethnicities is disheartening, and oftentimes disturbing.

        As a white woman, though, the one thing I hate hearing is any sentence that starts with: “I’m not racist, but…” like we’re speaking conspiratorially?

        My response is usually same as Effie’s, “Whoa.” Whatever you’re about to say, stop right there, I don’t want to hear it.

    • Miss M says:

      I live in Boston and love it here. I previously lived in 2 other States and I have never experienced racism as I have here in Boston. It was extremely disappointing to find out and when you talk about it, people get uncomfortable.

    • inthekitchen says:

      First of all, Matt and Ben are from CAMBRIDGE, not Boston. Cambridge is A LOT more progressive, diverse, and open-minded (generalizing here, as a whole) than Boston, especially in the 80s when they were coming of age. Second, I went to school with both of them and we had a pretty diverse mix of friends (racially). Our high school was also very racially diverse – there were kids from over 80 countries who went there. So…just had to throw that out there – Cambridge is NOT Boston.

      Additionally, I actually think him being from such a diverse city and schools and such (and being in an interracial marriage) may be working against him in the sense that he probably thinks he is sooo open-minded and bias-free already and thus doesn’t have to listen to an actual POC giving her experience or doesn’t realize what he is saying is stupid and offensive. I didn’t watch the clip, but I could kind of see that happening with him. Just my .02

    • Memibee says:

      You’re a 100% right, I’m mixed race and I lived in Boston for a long time and oh lord the stories I have!! It’s sad but true.

  6. Pinky says:

    Respect lost. Damon is just like all the others. As progressive and liberal as he claims to be. He just. Doesn’t. Get it.

  7. daniel says:

    Honestly I don’t think there’s any racism on the part of MD. I think you have a hyper-sensitive person here getting their feelings bent out of shape. BA and MD are just trying to make a film, it’s a business situation. If there is any racism on their it’s definitely not conscious or intentional. Both of them don’t strike me as the kind to ignore or minimize a minority, especially not given all the charity work, etc they do for people, so I’m giving them the benefit of a doubt.

  8. CidySmiley says:

    I think it’s probably too easy for someone of his stature to shoot something like this down. It’s never a problem he’s had to deal with, therefore the choice is easy for him.

  9. Birdix says:

    Unfortunately revealing. Hopefully he’ll recognize it, and use it as a learning experience as he seems generally well-meaning.

  10. meme says:

    Damon and Affleck are both insufferable but Affleck is still watchable. I haven’t seen a Matt Damon movie in quite a few years.

  11. Catelina says:

    He’s basically saying diversity behind the camera doesn’t matter when there is diversity in front of it right? Um, that’s not quite how it works. And I’m sure lots of actors like him think that way, which is the saddest/scariest part for me.

  12. CidySmiley says:

    Also! Why do we still have scripts where the only women of color are prostitutes? Can we address that?

    • Santia says:

      That’s what Effie Brown was trying to address, but Matt Damon knows better. If they cast the prostitute as a black woman (diversity!), all will be fixed. See how easy that was?

      • Anne says:

        Not true.

        Damon: I would say that only team that’s left with diversity is the team that announced that they liked this script the most as it is and that’s Leo and Kristen. Everyone else had major problems with it, with exactly the things you’re bringing up and exactly the things that we brought up to each other, so I…

        Damon agreed with Effie Brown’s criticism of the way the character of Harmony was written. He is saying that it is only the directorial team described as “diverse” that DID NOT have a problem with the way that character was written. He point was that, in his opinion, THEY SHOULD have had a problem with it and the fact that they didn’t suggested they may not approach the material in the way both he & Effie Brown would like.

        I missed that too, when I first read through the exchange.

  13. Nina says:

    I was excited to see The Martian until I found out that f’n CHIWETEL EIJOFOR is playing the character VENKAT KAPOOR.

    WTF??????????? And apparently a white woman is playing the character of Park, who is supposed to be South Korean. Damn you Ridley Scott (and the actors who agree to this crap).

    • korra says:

      THANK YOU! Venkat Kapoor I can overlook (even though it’s weird af) because India is very diverse and you can maybe explain it away. But seriously JUST GO WITH ANY OTHER INDIAN ACTOR IDIOTS. I mean you’re movie would be big business in India if you got a Bollywood actor to play the part. Good lord. But the Mindy Park thing, EFFFF NO.

      • Nina says:

        Sorry korra, I am Indian. India is not “diverse” in that way at all. There is .00000001% chance of a Nigerian man like Chiwetel ever being named Venkat Kapoor.

        In the movie apparently they try to explain it away and say he’s half Indian and have changed his name to Vincent Kapoor, but that just makes me angrier.

      • korra says:

        Idk what to tell you. I have quite a few Indian friends and I just have the impression that people in India are in fact quite diverse. I won’t disagree with you that it’s flimsy af and I think I quite CLEARLY stated that an Indian actor would have made way more sense both financially and in terms of the book. At least they got a person of color to continue playing the role instead of completely white washing him. My standards are really just that low, whereas for Mindy Park they white wash a clearly korean character.

        I complained about this weeks ago and no one said anything so Im’ just glad people are annoyed too.

      • Nina says:

        How is “Mindy Park” clearly Korean while VENKAT KAPOOR could oh maybe be a black dude because you have some weird notions about the diversity of India? Your impression? I’m legitimately confused by what you’re trying to say. Literally 97% of the population of India is Indo-Aryan or Dravidian (aka indigenous Indians). Of the other 3%, the vast majority are Tibetan/Mongolian/Eurasian. Where do you think the black dude named Venkat Kapoor fits in?

      • korra says:

        All right I’m sorry Nina. I’ll take it back. My Indian friend in school once showed me a picture of her professor and told me he was from India whereas I had mistaken him for being black. She told me that that happened quite often, she mentioned he was Dravidian. That’s where I was trying to hopefully not overlook the potential for his casting and based my idea of India being quite diverse as I’ve seen people of Chinese descent in Indian movies that are in fact Indian citizens, etc. I think there’s also the fact that there is a huge population of NRIs? I knew quite a lot of people of Indian descent from Africa. Based on the things I’ve learned which I was ignorant about before I can imagine a world in which a Vincent Kapoor can exist. That’s just kind of where my mind went. And it’s like you said they try to at least fit the character within some context given the guy that plays him. I’m still not comfortable with it. I think I stated to you that my standards are low. I’m kind of happy they still chose a POC to play him than not one at all. Whereas they didn’t even try for Mindy Park. Again standards low. Apologies if I was dismissing how you feel about it.

        Either way. I’m not sure why they lost him. But Irrfan Khan was perfect for the role of Venkat Kapoor. But I’ve said that before too.

      • korra says:

        ….and yes. Mindy park is Korean. Park is a korean last name in much the same way as Kapoor is an Indian last name. Or maybe I’m just a stereotyper.

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @Nina …

        I think his name has been changed in the film to Vincent Kapoor. Are you saying that it is not possible for the character’s ‘father’ to have been Indian?

      • Lucrezia says:

        I’ve read the book. The characters are all American (and “all-American”) NASA astronauts and science-guys. Their ethnicity is absolutely, completely and utterly non-important to the story. The author wanted to make sure his secondary characters weren’t confused with each other, so he used a “cheat” and gave them all different ethnic-sounding names. (I am not making that up, he admitted to it in an interview. If the book wasn’t so good I’d be like “wtf author? Perhaps try giving them actual characters?” But the book is great, and the fact the secondary characters are made of cardboard doesn’t matter.)

        I will admit I pictured Venkat Kapoor as Indian, Vogel as German and Ng as Chinese, but I had absolutely no idea Mindy Park was Asian. (The surname is the only clue and I didn’t recognise “Park” as being specifically Korean. Sounds English to me. “Kim” I would’ve recognsied as Korean.) I pictured Mark (guy played by Matt Damon) as black, and the African-American character as a white guy.

        So this is absolutely not the same as white-washing Exodus. But there was no reason to go 90% white. Ridley Scott is a racist idiot.

        Actually, if he really wanted Chiwetel in that role, he could’ve just re-named Kapoor, and balanced things out by casting an Indian guy as Purnell (who was supposed to be African-American). It would’ve saved him from white-washing claims and made no difference to the characters.

      • Jane says:

        Andy Weir (the author) has talked about how the casting director did not realise Mindy Park was intended to be Korean. It was not deliberate.

      • korra says:

        @Jane Considering Korean Americans are one of the largest minorities working BEHIND the camera, I’m not entirely sure I buy that the casting director didn’t know. But fine I’ll overlook it, I’m still going to be mad about it. This is such an argument for why we need more representation. Park is a very very very common korean last name. Sorry. I feel like people need to get out more and realize.

    • kay says:

      Ridley couldn’t get funding for his White Moses since no one knows Mohammed so-and-so.

  14. Anniefannie says:

    OK maybe I’m going to get killed for this but while Damon did himself no favors in the way he explained his position I am in agreement with the sentiment that you pick the best director…..
    Period! I think what he was trying to say ( could be wrong) is that while the candidates for director might not be diverse ( and , again this should rely on the merit) that they could address this issue when selecting the behind the camera people.
    The reverse would be to select a director simply for diversity? Is that reasoning sound?

    • Pinky says:

      The other directors were “the best” too for a variety of reasons. You just had to choose the criteria. And it’s easier to select for safe, white-centric/leaning criteria that gives an edge to someone who is wealthier, with access to all sorts of privilege (and thus the opportunities to make more polished films) than to the others who scrimped and scraped and fought to be seen and heard. And whose projects might not yet have the cachet of the other guy’s because they have not yet been given the same opportunities, but who would RISE to the occasion once given the chance and once these blinders on the part of those in power were lifted. Now do you get it?

    • claire says:

      I gathered his opinion he was promoting was that picking a director solely on diversity wasn’t a great solution either, because it didn’t deal with the fact that they had a problematic script, since the diverse duo didn’t necessarily dislike the script. I think he was arguing that a pick based primarily on merit, would coincidentally in this case, get you directors who disliked the script and would diversify the casting.

      • laura in LA says:

        Since I don’t have HBO and can’t watch the episodes in their entirety, I have to ask: Who in the Hell wrote this script?!

        Suddenly, that clip of the white director with “merit”, who immediately asked for rewrites after he won, doesn’t seem so wrong.

    • Hawkeye says:

      Anniefannie, I’ll try to answer your question without killing you =). I think the point about merit is fair; everyone wants the best people working on their projects. At the same time though, when the question of diversity is asked, a common answer is that there aren’t that many black directors or female directors (for examples) out there. Here’s the rub: in fact, there are. I did a Google search for black directors, and here are some of the tremendous names that came up: John Singleton, Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Tyler Perry, G. Gary Gray, Tim Story, Antoine Fuqua, Kasi Lemmons, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Melvin Van Peebles, Malcolm D. Lee, Darnell Martin, Julie Dash, and so many more. Some female directors, besides the ones mentioned: Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Angelina Jolie, Lisa Cholodenko, Lynne Ramsay and Sofia Coppola, and on and on and on. You can argue the merits of any of their films, but it can’t be case that ALL these people are so much worse at their jobs than any white male director. So what would Matt Damon’s answer be about the list of people I provided? Is there no one else out there except white men to direct? Why is it that white male director seems to be the default? Why is it that when a white male director is chosen, it’s because of his talents, but when a non-white/non-male director is chosen, it’s for diversity?

      I also don’t think it’s a question of semantics, that if he had chosen better words he would have made a less racist point. Matt Damon just proved (again) that nice people can say racist stuff, that nice guys can be incapable of putting aside their white privilege or their male privilege. He probably thought he was making an argument that wasn’t insensitive. This says to me that Matt Damon has never had to fight for his place at the table because of his race or gender, and it tells me that he doesn’t challenge himself enough to think about why that is and what he can do about it.

      • Anniefannie says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful response.
        I think the challenge in this project is that the competition produced mostly white males . I guess it could be argued that the selection process was tainted but that’s not what Brown asserts, it appears she’s pushing for the diverse duo because of the casting being problematic. I think I would get a little impatient with that reasoning too!

    • delorb says:

      You’re right. That’s exactly what he was saying. The competition isn’t about diversity. Making it about diversity will change what the competition is at the 11th hour. He’s also right that the more diverse team not having an issue with a black character who is a prostitute is problematic. It doesn’t get us where we need to be if POC have no problems with extending the same stereotypes. But he’s wrong in how we get there. Behind the camera works just as well as in front.

  15. Louisa says:

    How is a movie where a prostitute is hit by her pimp a comedy? Sounds hilarious.

  16. Kate says:

    Not good.

    But on the other hand, the footage was purposefully edited to appear as though it was a tense confrontation (it’s high class reality TV, but it’s still reality TV) and Damon’s not stupid, he’ll be well aware he looks like a dick to many people here. He had the power to have it edited out completely or edited it to make himself sound better, and he didn’t do either. I think diversity is going to come up again in future episodes, and maybe he’ll have learnt something by then. If not, I doubt he’d have let it air like this.

  17. OhDear says:

    Damon: So I think on the surface they look like one thing but they might end up giving us something that we don’t want and we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.

    Brown: Whoo. Wow. Ok.

    Yikes, Damon.

    • korra says:

      This RIGHT HERE shows he does not get it. He has NO IDEA the lense and perspective the behind the scenes cast of a show could bring when interpreting a story. He’s so dim. God he annoys the sh-t out of me. I can’t stand him. Male goop people. Male goop. He’s just able to pull of being likeable.

      Ben Affleck is the one who is way more talented as a producer, director, writer, etc. Damon’s a decent actor (not near the best at all, he’s going to need a helluva an oscar campaign). Yeah I don’t like Matt Damon.

    • Anne says:

      Yikes, indeed.

      I get that this is a key part of the exchange, but I’m having some difficult understanding what he means.

      What is saying? I get that he is saying “it’s not important that we have a minority director” and, spoken bluntly, that sounds dismissive and arrogant. But what does he mean? What is his point? Is he saying that the most important thing is having a balanced, considered final product and that having a minority director does not guarantee that. Is he saying that as long as the film is crafted *well* (meaning fairly, with nuance, without relying on racial stereotypes or prejudice) than that takes priority over who (gender/race/age) is directing it? I think he made his point badly and somewhat rudely, but . . . .

      I think people of one race/gender/age can be sympathetic advocates for the stories and voices of people of another race/gender/age. I don’t believe they are ideal voices for that experience, but I do believe they can do a high degree of justice to it. Yes, they have to listen to different perspectives with real empathy (which, I agree, can be hard to find) and, hopefully, some measure of resonant life experience, but I don’t believe it’s impossible.

      Am I totally off base?

      Is the argument that white people are inevitably blind to white privilege and are perpetuating images and stories that are lacking in depth, nuance and completeness?

      Is it that white people throw around ideas of equality and fairness because it makes them feel good about themselves but that they don’t really understand the experiences they speak of?

      Is it that minority stories cannot be told fully, except by minorities themselves?

      • Anne says:


        “Is he saying that the most important thing is having a balanced final product and that having a minority director does not guarantee that anymore than having a white, male director guarantees it”

        (it won’t allow me to edit the original, sorry)

    • delorb says:

      But isn’t he right in that instance? Of all the teams left they, the more diverse team, had no issues with the black actress playing a prostitute and being slapped around. Why give them a leg up, if they’re going to continue the same awful stereotypes?

    • laura in LA says:

      Right. So instead of a black prostitute getting hit, let’s have a white one getting hit by a black pimp. Problem solved.

      It starts with the screenplay or story itself and how people are portrayed. PG aside, isn’t that the real problem with Hollywood?!

  18. Chinoiserie says:

    In Hollywood probably everyone makes excuses for the lack of diversity and Matt probably even believes what he says is completely right, I do not think there is anyone who really would argue to his face so he does not get what he is saying is wrong. Celebrities live in such surroundings were they probably forget all their opinions are not always wonderful and right when everyone the know is always agreeing with them.

  19. Merritt says:

    He is typical of white liberal men. He doesn’t acknowledge of own privilege. And because he is liberal he thinks he isn’t discriminating against women or minorities. The mansplaining and whitesplaining was so terrible. Effie Brown has the patience of a saint, because you could tell she was holding back in not just tearing him a new one.

  20. AlmondJoy says:

    This reminds me of that round table discussion when Viola tried to speak out about really important issues and Charlize and George Clooney just jumped in and talked over her and tried to discredit everything she was saying 😩 Please stop, white men of Hollywood. Please stop and listen.

  21. Sam says:

    Eh, I saw the episode and personally I thought both of them has issues with their positions.

    Effie made the correct point that production teams need to be diverse. But I also agreed that she selection for director was not the best and that Damon’s was better.

    I think part of the issue is that there are way too many directors out there who don’t collaborate and their vision is the only one that ends up on the screen. Wouldn’t a good director actually run their film as a collaboration and listen to the input of multiple sources, including casting, writing, etc.?

    I’m a person of mixed racial background, and I don’t have a lot of qualms about white directors if they can get the story right. I’m Native American and thought both Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood have done some of the best portrayals of Native Americans I’ve personally seen (Dances With Wolves is an excellent film (not without some issues) and Flags of Our Fathers gave Ira Hayes an accurate, respectful portrayal that was fantastic to watch (and yes, Adam Beach was robbed in that movie – no nominations for anything, really?)

    So I can see both sides. Can a white director give a portrayal of people of color in a respectful, decent way? Absolutely – but they have to go into it being aware and willing to collaborate and let the PoC have a say. But isn’t that really an individual issue?

    • Josefa says:

      I agree. Damon expressed himself awfully here, but if you actually see the thing his point is more understandable.

    • M says:

      “I think part of the issue is that there are way too many directors out there who don’t collaborate and their vision is the only one that ends up on the screen. Wouldn’t a good director actually run their film as a collaboration and listen to the input of multiple sources, including casting, writing, etc.?”

      I agree. And I think the culture is righting itself to make way for wholehearted agreements on certain values so that more collaborative filmmaking could occur in the future. I like how Natalie Portman described her directing experience, that it was like she was the host of a party and her job was just to make sure everyone had what they needed.

      But, I think there’s a point you’re missing about what the camera does that automatically makes the director one of the main characters of a movie. Like for me, even the most collaborative white, male filmmaker would not have been able to make a movie like Farewell My Concubine — the height of Boomer era Chinese filmmaking. There is not a single white person, or really ANY outsider to Chinese culture, who could’ve captured what it felt like to live through all that history. And it just doesn’t matter how much you listen. You just still don’t know what it was like, and what it still felt like at that time, to be in that country. And that’s why it’s important to have diversity, so people can tell their own stories.

      But I also agree that it’s been beneficial to me, as an Asian-American, to see American and also European depictions of my homeland. It’s been a breath of fresh air to get a different perspective.

      So, people need to be able to tell their own stories (agree with Effie here). And, there needs to be more collaborative filmmaking (agree with you here). And it all needs to be based on merit (agree with Damon).

  22. CK says:

    My main issue with this is that Matt Damon who has not written, produced, or starred in any particularly diverse films that I can recall thinks that his opinion on the matter (diversity in Hollywood) is superior than someone who has produced some pretty diverse films during her tenure. I’m not sure why Matt Damon thinks he is experienced enough to speak on diversity in films but he looks about as foolish as I’d look if tried to talk down to a neuroscientist. Also, the magic merit argument rears it’s ugly head again.

  23. K2 says:

    And just like that his close friendship with Affleck is comprehensible, and a crush of decades dies.

  24. Katija says:

    I think he’s genuinely debating her, not condescending to her, so for me, this isn’t “mansplaining.”

  25. Beth No. 2 says:

    I’m not sure if people here follow the Oscar race last season but there are there are other reasons for the underperformance of Selma apart from perceived racism. Sure, the Academy is not the most progressive bunch out there, but last season Selma’s distributor Paramount screwed up with the screener fiasco such that the film was underseen by Academy members. That, and Paramount’s last-minute switch from Interstellar to Selma as their #1 Oscar horse led to hiccups in the Selma campaign. If your movie is not seen by voters, you have no chance of getting it nominated.

    That said, I think Selma is a cliched by-the-numbers movie and I wasn’t terribly impressed by Duvernay’s direction. David Oyelowo, on the other hand, gave a powerhouse performance and totally deserves a nomination.

  26. Ana says:

    Very disappointing to say the least! He turned out to be just like his BFF, Affleck. He was just better in comouflaging his thoughts about races, equal opportunity and diversity. He has little girls whose mother is not white, he should have been more open minded. Everybody should be given an opportunit to work behind the scenes too! They are as talented as their white male counterparts.

  27. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    All I can say is that for many black women, no you know what people of color:

    All day long we complain about our unhappiness with how we are portrayed, how our stories are told, what respect we are given. We KNOW these fields don’t honor or respect us, aren’t open to us, don’t value us but we’re told (and quite condescendingly) that we can’t change the system but from the inside. That we have to infiltrated inside in order to make that change and get the results we are starved for – because as you know while whites may be supportive they can call into one of two categories: liberals like Matt who hear but don’t listen and think they know better or those who can not even muster or deign to portray us as if we’re still some foreign species demeaning their utopia.

    So we go into these fields. We work our asses off. We’re ignored and not given enough chances because we’re too ethnic and when we finally make it to the end we are too terrified to breath or cough wrong lest we be knocked back further than the starting line. If we try to explain the complaints that are carried in our minds and hearts for a decade there’s some white Jack off explaining how he or she knows diversity better than us and how to really tell our stories.

    That ONE of us in a room is ‘just’ enough…that we certainly can’t be angry or passionate or defend something we care about lest we morph into the monstrous negro right before everyone’s very eyes. We must always dig our nails into our palms, bite out tongues, smile, play along.

  28. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    This ‘merit’ bullshit, as if white people have a lock on it.

    1) Do the ‘merit’ people know how childish THEY look when they start in on the, ‘The only reason so-and-so negro got this is because of Affirmative Action. Because white people have a lock on merit, yeah, okay.

    2) Diversity matters, but not when it matters.

    3) You can do your black… stuff over in the Ghetto ghetto, but right now the adults are talking. Super.

    4) Since when does even being the same room as black people mean you’re making some political sacrifice, making a charitable donation and taking a stand? So, diversity is always about edification and eating your vegetables? It can’t just be employing people, it can’t just be about black women being able to be on the main stage without white people making the women be sassy neck-snapping hos?

    5) Can’t someone else do it? Don’t worry angry black women, feminism will get to you when we’re out of stuff that matters, now sit your happy niche self down and be quiet.

    6) Why wouldn’t white people be experts on black people, look at how they’ve been portraying them for the last… forever? Wasn’t inaccurate or insulting then, couldn’t be now. I mean, they get to be magical!

    To conclude: Get bent.

  29. TotallyBiased says:

    Matt Damon has always bothered me, but I honestly wasn’t familiar with Project Greenlight until reading about it in CB. Reading about previous issues, and now this–my discomfort with him is illuminated.

  30. Gina says:

    ugh..Lets not forget that movie is a piece of art (very commercialized, but anyway) and anyone can cast whoever they want. Second, “we need to make films more diverse” – i agree, but how? artificially? I doubt very much that hundreds of super talented directors of color showed up and were shown the door. So there will be more female directors, actors and directors of color only if … they just will be. No problem here. Or you want to run by the street and pick whoever non white and offer them the position to shut up cristics? Why noone is complaining that there’s only 5% of women or people of color in astrophysics? because to be in this field you have to learn, do something significant, be noticed for your achievements. Same here

    • renee28 says:

      “because to be in this field you have to learn, do something significant, be noticed for your achievements. Same here”

      Except that is completely untrue. Hollywood is filled with men, like Josh Trank or Colin Trevorrow, who were allowed to write and/or direct major features with scant resumes. Meanwhile, women and minorities who have similar or better accomplishments are still expected to prove they are capable. And if by some chance a woman or minority is given a chance and it is unsuccessful, it is used as prove that they are undeserving. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to fail repeatedly.

      • Gina says:

        Well, again, I doubt that. Let me tell you why – there’s only one thing producers care about – and it’s money (except indie movies, of course). If there is an amazing script about a person of color it would be turned into a movie (and there are many of such movies already). So again, i can hardly imagine producers thinking “ooh, this script is amazing and will draw so much audience to the theatres, make tons of money but i will never ever make this movie happen, because WHITE SUPREMACY *evil laugh*

      • Gina says:

        Also, let me explain my point with satire: “i think rap should be more diverse. There’s only 2% of non black rappers. Let do something about it” (again, this is irony and i dont really think so) but this is how you sound about the industry. You can’t artificially make it more diverse. It should happen organically. More screen writers of color write about themselves and their journeys, it turns into movies or tv series, and voila – television and movies become more diverse. But not through scandal and criticism. You can’t just keep complaining about someone else’s piece of work.

      • ladyg says:

        Gina: so, what you’re saying is “Black people don’t write compelling stories about their lives.” I’d like you to say that to the face of two people I know (who, honestly, I don’t even like, but recognize that they are MAGNIFICENT writers) who can not catch a break in any writing room in North America. Years and Years of toil and cannot catch a break. Piles of manuscripts and telescripts….but nope. Please.

      • renee28 says:

        It’s clear you have little understanding of how the industry works. Scripts are often written with POC and then white actors are cast. Have you never heard of whitewashing? Look what happened with Ridley Scott and Exodus. Hollywood still acts as if it’s an anomaly for a movie with POC to be successful. As for rappers, even if only 2% of rappers are white they are able to achieve mainstream success much faster and easier than their black counterparts. See Macklemore or Iggy. They may be the minority but it does’t hurt them at all.

      • Gina says:

        Of course I do think that there are many brilliant writers of color.
        But, as I’ve said before producers are mostly interested in money. So there must be something “not fitting” with this scripts. Because if it was great, it would have been made into a movie. I usually go to EVERY movie of Will Smith or S. L. Jackson TWICE because they are amazing.
        And about “exodus” – are you kidding me? many people claim that is was not made with “historical accuracy”. Really? Bible is history now? then again, it’s not proved that egyptians were black. I was in Cairo and they are not black now. And neither are jews.

      • ladyg says:

        Gina: So, what you’re saying is that scripts written by people of color MUST be missing that “special something” because of course producers would produce them if they were good enough. It’s never racism, right? Essentially, again, you’re “blaming” non-white writers for “not fitting” what, exactly? And how would you know? Your problem in understanding this issue is that you refuse to acknowledge the meritocracy myth. That refusal is part of the “racism problem.” Views like yours are why racism will never die.

      • Gina says:

        do you really think producers will refuse to turn some great idea to life and earn money due to racism and lose money? or if you are white you are magically offered all the contracts in the world and a muffin? my point it – it’s not always racism. You can’t blame all your failures on that.

      • ladyg says:

        Gina: YES, sometimes it is about racism. THAT is the issue. You just want to wave the possibility of racism away. You should do some reading, as there is a metric tonne of examples explaining how “Hollywood” is a racist nightmare. Moreover, you type about “not blaming your failures” — please, just sit down. I have had very few failures in my professional life, actually. And speaking the truth about racism isn’t a “woe is me” lament, it’s about standing up for equality. And nobody has said that white people are “magically offered contracts.” Hollywood is tough for lots of folks — and its even tougher for people of color. Do yourself a favor and read up on racism, because you really don’t get it. People who espouse things like you do are the huge hurdle that must be overcome if we, as a society, are serious about equality.

      • K2 says:

        @Gina – you seem oblivious to the fact that the people deciding what people want to see are mainly white old men. They put what interests them on the screen. They assume that’s what everyone wants to see, because they do themselves.

        It is not rocket science. I can even recall the earnest explanations that they couldn’t make a cartoon film aimed squarely at girls, as they did with Cars, because boys wouldn’t go and the films wouldn’t make enough. Brave gently tested the waters, and then Frozen smashed them. Similarly, there were anxieties expressed about Mama Mia, and Hunger Games, and funnily enough I don’t think Amy Schumer’s movie would have been made, if she’d just pitched the script without Judd Apatow’s enthusiastic championing.

        The “they only want to make money!” assumes that “they” have the self-awareness to recognise that their own lusts, interests and opinions are not universal. I think your faith on that score is unjustified, and the representative ratios on screen bear me out. As does the producer who indignantly declared that Michael Bay couldn’t possibly be sexist because he makes the ladies in his movies look fabulous.

        Google “Miss Representation”. As they say, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” This stuff matters. And it is not all down to the bottom line, because the people deciding what benefits the bottom line have their own agendas and prejudices.

    • korra says:

      People are CONSISTENTLY complaining about the lack of URM in STEM. Do you even read those conversations? Do you know how hard it is to be the only URM in your department? How much people can belittle you or make you feel like you’re not worth much at all? Do you know how emotionally taxing and draining research can be. On top of that shovel on your feelings of being alone and representative of an entire group? White, privileged kids talk about their issues of mental health (and it’s serious) all the time in grad school you don’t think their URM counterparts feel similarly and feel like they get no support and just are tired of dealing with it?

      I have very often been the only woman in many of my STEM classes. Doesn’t help at all when you have guys make awful sexist jokes that makes you feel even more alienated and alone. And then they belittle you in ways on top of that.

      Also no doubt you have to work. A lot of hardworking, ambitious POC KNOW that. Are there a few that are lazy and would just like to be handed a silver plate while not working as hard? Sure but that’s not a problem UNIQUE to them at all. Children from privielged positions do it ALL the time.

      Even in academia it’s all an about who you know game. There’s a comp scientist at Rochester who says one of the main reasons he recieved an interview at all for a faculty position is because he knew someone on the faculty at many of the schools he interviewed at. So yeah, lol it’s all by the grit of your teeth now ain’t it?

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      So, non-white people think life is just a giant welfare scheme?

    • Pinky says:

      All wrong. 100%. It’s great to speculate, but when you don’t know the game from the inside, you should try listening to those who do before you try to teach others what you think you know, much like Matt Damon tried to do to Effie Brown.

    • HK9 says:

      @ Gina

      Regarding the rap example, there are plenty of white rappers who take up the art form with little to no resistance whatsoever. Look it up-it’s not a rare occurrence.

      • Gina says:

        And black actors is a rare occurrence?)) Luckily it’s not. that was my point. Racism DOES exist, but many people try to push this agenda somewhere where it doesn’t belong. Art should develop organically. If a person of color will make some significant movie, it will find producers and his/her work will be recognized. We shouldn’t shame existing directors for not casting someone because it’s your call.

      • ladyg says:

        “If a person of color will make some significant movie, it will find producers and his/her work will be recognized.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. That is not true. It’s like saying “bananas are pink!” No, they’re not. Newsflash: we do not live in a meritocracy — and if you conduct your life like we do, you are a part of the racism problem.

      • HK9 says:

        Part of developing art organically is to question things and not take things at face value. Gina, I used to think the same way you do-if it’s good they’ll make the movie. But after seeing what Spike Lee went through to make the movie Malcolm X I realized it’s much more difficult than it looks. Spike got his movie, but I often wonder what other ‘significant’ movies we’ll never see. By the way, if you notice, other directors don’t have to do anything ‘significant’ to get a movie made. They are allowed to make lots and lots of insignificant art.

      • Gina says:

        @ladyg, can i hear some valid points besides “wrong, wrong, wrong”?

        About the Spike Lee struggle – most of directors of every race have to fight for their projects. i’m not talking about the situation where disney hires someone to direct “pirates of Caribbean”, whatever. It often takes many years for already acclaimed directors to get their film made, because noone believes in it. Like Darren Aronofsky and “the fountain”. So please dont confuse life obstacles and racism. It looks really weird when obese person of color says she’s not hired as a model because of “racism”. It has gotten to this point, unfortunately.

      • korra says:

        @Gina can you say something different from “I’m ignorant and want to embrace it.”? The point is it’s a lot harder for URM to get funding or access and MOST IMPORTANTLY opportunities. Just because there are successful black or women or insert whatever directors does not mean that they didn’t face the struggles MANY of them talk about ALL the DAMN time. Colin Trevorrow got to direct Jurassic World after directing what Safety Not Guaranteed? A cute little indie film that didn’t get major award nominations but he still got to direct Jurrassic World? So what merit did he get that on exactly? Enlighten me. The POTENTIAL that he might make a good movie? Same with Marc Webb. Dude directed 500 days of summer and went on to direct the Spiderman reboot. Please for god’s sake enlighten me what 500 days shows in this mans ability to make a blockbuster. Women, URM rarely if EVER get those opportunities. And then when they do they’re questioned to high heavens like you do Gina saying they don’t really deserve it.

        Catherine Hardwicke DESPITE making a profitable Twiglight film was still replaced because of disagreements in the next one. That happens regularly. Female directors are consistently replaced or black listed. They fear for their careers. There’s a tumblr dedicated to the things these women hear on the reg, it’s depressing as hell. Yes making a movie is hard and comes WITH LOTS of obstacles. But if that regularly means that URM don’t get any shot, then sorry my love you’ve artificially created a means by which they are unable to even play on a level field. And you go on about artifically and being organic. Can you please speak to the white washed movies out there that race bend like no one’s business. How in the EFF is that organic?

      • Gina says:

        I read “whitewashed” 50000 times a day but i dont get where it came from. Name 5 movies in the last 10 years that were “whitewashed”. People often mention Exodus which is ridiculous because 1) Bible is not a history. I feel shame for people who write “omg, historical accuracy”. 2) Egyptians and jews are not black and never were. go to egypt and see for yourself. 3) movie is an art and director could cast whoever he wanted.
        Before saying “most of the movies are whitewashed”, please, name 3. no, 2.

      • korra says:

        Avatar the last airbender, Mindy Park in The Martian (and if you don’t get she’s korean…you’re just an ignorant dumbass which is no one’s fault but your own), Dragonball Z, The Lone Ranger, Pan, that awful racist caricature of an asian man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Drive (Carey Mulligan’s character is supposed to be Latina), Argo (but you’ll explain that away), 21, Star Trek’s new Khan, Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, West Side Story, Cloud Atlas and Jim Strugess’s weird af getup, Prince of effing Persia, Aloha, Alicia Nash a beautiful mind, that movie Stuck, Dragonball Evolution, some people argue Katnis Everdeen but you’ll call that flimsy.

        Basically a sh-t ton of movies. LMAO. You talk about being organic. About preventing artificiality. Where DA HELL is your criticism of young women getting roles meant for women in their 30s and 40s. So apparently 30 year olds and 40 year olds really do disappear right? Or at least they don’t age and have soft supple skin of 20 year olds. That’s a totally organic and not artificial phenomena at all right? Where the hell is your criticism of the blatant race bending. Or is it only organic when white people do it? Lmao. People lost their SH-T over Michael B. Jordan playing the Human Torch because it’s not “organic”? LOL. But no one cried a thousand tears when Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds play two different sets of superheros. One of which was in the same effing universe. That’s really organic? Where’s your outrage on that?

        But either way it doesn’t work on you. You just don’t want to believe that Matty D is capable of being short sighted and ignorant. I’m sure he doesn’t think he is either. And the cycle continues. You embrace ignorance my dear and it shows in your commentary. Here’s a gold star to you.

      • ladyg says:

        Gina: Your problem is that you are a whitesplainer. Yes, getting movies made is tough. But again, it is even HARDER if you are a person of color. There is documented proof of this — just start googling. Why should things be even harder for people of color? Why!?

      • Gina says:

        @korra – avatar is about aliens, how can it be whitewashed?
        Breakfast at tiffany’s was filmed 54 years ago (!!). thanks for not remembering blackface plays.
        I read The Martian (i really enjoyed it) and there was no mentioning of anyone’s race. But, I should say that there are a lot of roles that were not supposed to be played by people of color, but black actors were cast for this roles. Like Idris Elba in movie “Thor” (whom I LOVE), his character is Heimdall from Norse mythology (so he looks like Scandinavian). Or some characters in Game of Thrones. And everyone is fine with this casting choices. because most people are normal. “Carey Mulligan’s character is supposed to be Latina” – so? maybe she’s supposed to be prettier or taller? but director liked Carey the most?
        And Aloha was not whitewashed, you cant tell how mixed person should look. Google “Alexa Chung” – she’s HALF Chinese (not something like 2/5), go tell her that she’s not ethnic enough.

      • Gina says:

        and though movie industry has a great impact on a general audience, let’s not forget that it’s funded by private money and particular producers and producers centers. So basically what is going on – you are demanding people to invest their money in some particular things? Nobody is telling you what to invest in.

      • korra says:

        @Gina ….girl you know next to zilch about movies don’t you? It’s Avatar the last airbender. That awful Shamalama remake of the popular cartoon series that featured a very diverse group of Asian and Inuit inspired characters. Lol Gina you nitpick ONLY the movies that you think have no issues. I told you. You embrace yourself in a cocoon of ignorance. I know Breakfast at Tiffany’s was filmed 54 years ago. I still gave you a large number of movies that have been white washed in the past decade.

        It’s like arguing with glue with you girl. Nobody is telling me what to invest in, which is why these conversations are happening so people can learn, think, analyze about what they purchase and support. You want to live in a world where you don’t think about the causes of your actions? Lol stymied and unprogressive? Yeah Idris Elba was cast and there was a SH-T storm after his casting too. Or did you forget that? All the racism that came out? Or Rue in the Hunger games the awful racist things people said about that little girl? Yes. Carey Mulligan’s character IS IN FACT SUPPOSED TO BE LATINA. Actually they were looking for latina actors for quite a while before Mulligan (who I do like) begged the director for it and he gave it to her because dude’s white and thought it would fit. My god, you people are really ignorant to the world aren’t you?

        Yeah Aloha was white washed. Why not just go with someone from an Asian American background to? There’s plently of talented actresses and not to mention incredibly gorgeous ones out there. Gina the system doesn’t change unless you criticize it and question whether what you’re doing is right or wrong and really analyze the reasons for doing so. If you want to be that uncriticial of yourself go right ahead, but that’s really not the way the world’s heading.

      • Gina says:

        I dont remember any shit storm after Idris Elba’s casting in Thor. I remember many people noticing that he is incredibly talented and handsome. It depends on what sources you are reading and where you get your information from. For example, after googling some movie/celebrity news I accidently found a “black” internet source ( where celebrities of color are discussed. And what did I find? If some black male celebrity started dating a white woman 99% of the people out there commented that “he is not a real man for not dating a black woman”, “she’s a white slut”, “he’s with her for publicity”, etc. They even criticised Kendrick Lamars high school sweetheart wife for having “too light” skin. And what, shall I assume that all black folks are so bitter? No, i shall not. But that’s exactly what you do.

  31. Unmade_bed says:

    Still got love for Matt Damon…refusing to get on the blacklisting bandwagon of the offended.

  32. Anniefannie says:

    This whole incident has been taken out of the orgiginal context. In a vacuum what Damon said could appear to have been racially insensitive. When he said that the selection of the director needn’t be diversially ( word?) driven he was saying that shouldn’t be the defining characteristic that the panel needed to be focused on the best work and best director….period!
    I think to challenge that goal is ridiculous!

    • Jellybean says:

      These outrage things are nearly always taken out of context. I once read a hate website aimed at an actor I like and after scanning through maybe 5000 words I found the little nugget that had set her off, a quote from an interview “I am a ladies’ man”. Her entire rant was based around that quote and it colored everything she had to say about him, but she had missed out one word. The actual quote was “I am not a ladies’ man” and it was a reply to a question about who he was dating. He was trying to brush off questions about his private life and say he was just a guy working hard and really appreciating the recent opportunities he was being given, not some playboy. She read it as a boast about his prowess with the ladies and the trash gossip sites took it as a declaration that he was gay. Damon is usually a media darling and is held up as an example with which to bash others, so this situation amuses me. I also find him a bit smug, but I don’t really think he is a bad guy, just a bit more arrogant and privileged than most people think.

  33. Vampi says:

    Shut up Matt and get in the kitchen and make me a sammich!
    The only thing I’ve ever liked that he did was the “Matt Damon Booth” on the Colbert Report’s Colbchella “Get Lucky” video spoof. (It’s AMAZEBALLS!!)
    Never was a fan, and thought I couldn’t care less about him. Turns out that yes….yes I can care less about him. Asshat.

  34. KatyD says:

    This is dissapointing. I don’t think you can explain Matt’s unacknowledged privelege and biases as a product of Boston. It’s all over the US. I live in California and people do the same here, even though we’re supposed to be liberal and more tolerant. Truth be told–racism is a part of the American fabric. You can’t live in a polluted environment and not breath in the air. That’s why recognition is so important–recognizing there is a problem and that it needs to change–otherwise, it’s business as usual. :-(

  35. Vampi says:

    There’s a very interestiing conversation going on over at Fark about racism and a recent incident at a bar in Houston called Gaslamp. They were charging people of color a $20 cover while letting in whites free. (one man turned away is a lawyer and he’s rightfully livid and posted his interaction on Facebook) The bar denied it but looking back at Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews…people can see it’s been a problem for a long time! I would post the Fark thread link but don’t know if that would be OK. Please look it up, and read the thread if you can. Soooooo many ignorant people in the world. ( but also many willing to try and educate!) I admire those who have patience explaining why it’s wrong to some brick wall humans. Smh….we have SO far yet to go.

  36. laura in LA says:

    As I’ve mentioned above, I can’t watch PG and don’t know the process, such as who wrote the script, but does anyone think it’s possible…

    That the part of the prostitute was put in there to test the candidates for director to see if they have what it takes to stand up to Matt, Ben and the other producers and demand changes?

    Or that the discussion between Matt and Effie, while everyone else was noticeably more silent, was a setup to highlight such issues – or moreso, to create and heighten the drama and tension of this reality series?

    Not to minimize feelings about this, because as a woman I share them, or Matty D’s reaction, but it’s just a thought.

  37. Ally8 says:

    What he said is remarkable in its explicit tone-deafness (saying out loud what people usually only deduce and are then called paranoid), but compounded by more teachable moment material here:

    - How did they get to these majority white finalists?
    - How did they end up with the majority white+male judges?
    - How did they select a script where the only African-American person is a prostitute? (Nice bit of writing for women, btw: virgin or whore, 2000+ years and going strong!)

    - And THEN he lets out this line about only front-of-camera diversity, i.e. tokenism AND talks over one of the only non-white, non-male people there.

    As the Twitter hashtag has it, #ProjectWhitelight

    This article is a great summary about how little that show WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT ACCESS has progressed after a decade-long hiatus:

  38. Sarah says:

    I’m shocked at how people don’t get his mansplaining and whitesplaining. My heart hurt when she had to bite her tongue and let him talk over her and when she said I’m not mad – why not let her talk and you listen to what she was saying!!!

  39. als says:

    I don’t have access to the entire episode but in the clip above, Effie’s very short reaction and expression says everything about what Damon said. If I saw anyone’s face reacting like that to something I said I would try to figure out what was I just said. (that reaction would make me doubt myself even if I was 100% sure of my opinion)