Matt Damon issues ‘I’m sorry people were offended’ apology: inadequate or ok?

40th TIFF - 'The Martian' - Premiere
It’s a sad day when your longterm celebrity crush messes up spectacularly. It’s even sadder when he fails to realize why he messed up. Such is the case with Matt Damon, who has occupied the number one spot on my freebie list for about 15 years. This week he’s come down a few notches. (I guess there’s still Joel McHale and Chiwetel Ejiofor.)

As you know, Matt Damon made a problematic argument on the reality show Project Greenlight, which aired on HBO this Sunday. He interrupted a female producer of color, Effie Brown, to claim that it didn’t matter if there was diversity in film production and direction, as long as there were diverse characters. Damon wanted to cut a particular directing team that Brown was trying to advance. Brown was concerned that a black female prostitute character would be fairly portrayed while Damon pointed out that the particular directing team, a woman and a man from Vietnam, said they liked the script and that there was no guarantee they would do that. Brown disagreed, but she didn’t get much chance to say her piece. Damon had his mind made up and shut her down. To be fair, no one else on the nine person panel of judges was suggesting that these directors should be chosen. Several other directors were ahead based on their interviews and submitted entries to the short film contest. You can read the full exchange in context here.

Damon has since “apologized” and when you read his statement to The Wrap you’ll know why I’m putting it in quotes.

“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.”

[From The Wrap]

Damn you, Matt Damon. How does he not know better than to issue an “I’m sorry if you were offended” apology? Damon will speak out against oppression and against ignorance, but when he displays a textbook case of it he’s so blind to his own position that he can’t admit he was wrong even after it’s pointed out to him. I really expected him to be circumspect about this and to say that he learned from this mistake. It was surely edited way down as he states, and maybe he was right in not picking those directors, but the way he chose to explain his decision was telling. Here is a guy who is one of the most liberal in Hollywood using a hackneyed argument for dismissing legitimate concerns about diversity in film production. This happened on a reality show. Imagine how similar scenes play out daily in Hollywood and then tell me that doesn’t affect the way minorities are portrayed on film.

Update: TMZ has more of Damon’s statement. He led with:
I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I want every young person watching ‘Project Greenlight’to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too.” That’s somewhat better.



40th TIFF - 'The Martian' - Premiere

photo credit: and screeshots from HBO

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129 Responses to “Matt Damon issues ‘I’m sorry people were offended’ apology: inadequate or ok?”

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  1. Maya says:

    He did not apologise for the actual comments but only apologised if it offended anyone.

    To me he seems to just ignore what he did and instead congratulates himself for “opening” the topic for discussion.

    • Abbott says:

      Exactly. I’m floored by how tone deaf he is.

      • FLORC says:

        I think we expected him to be a bit more wise in his response. I think much of him is turning out to be a well crafted pr image. Sigh

      • Pampita says:

        There is a saying in Spanish that roughly translates as “you choose friends that are similar to who you truly are”.
        Matt Damon’s statement basically explains the reason why he is so close to Ben Affleck. They share the same values and views. One may have been more outspoken than the other one so far, but they are ultimately, the same.
        I just now cannot help wondering if Damon’s selection of my fellow contrywoman Luciana as a wife was also part of a well crafted image process.

    • Naya says:

      The sorry-not-sorry apology, I fully expected. To go ahead and award himself a medal for initiating a “conversation” that’s as old as movie making is a bridge too effing far for me. We are sick of the conversation Matt (which predates your douchebaggery my friend),its time for action. Can I now just go ahead and write off all the Boston boys? Between Wahlberg, Affleck, Damon and Chris Evans (who probably acquits himself the best in this bunch), Boston ain’t looking great.

    • laura in LA says:

      He should’ve just stopped at “I’m sorry.” Period. Adding that “…people were offended” sounds like a non-apology, #sorry/notsorry.

    • justagirl says:

      Exactly. With this, I think the “you are the company you keep” applies to him….he may keep a lower profile than Affleck & as a result looks like a good guy in comparison to Affleck’s many issues.

      To continue to have a close friendship with someone who clearly has issues with morals & ethics….that suggests something. Damon’s behavior here says that yeah, he has some ethical issues of his own.

      He only looks like a good guy because he’s not a public train wreck like Ben. Ben’s a great guy to keep around if you want to stay below the radar I bet.

    • Kate says:

      He didn’t say “IF people were offended”, he says “THAT people were offended” – there is a difference. The former implies that people are in the wrong if they take offence, the latter acknowledges that it happened. And honestly, what did he do that was so wrong? The entire thing feels like political correctness gone wrong. Was he meant to agree that only Asian or African American directors can direct a black hooker being beaten by a white pimp? Yes, he could have been more tactful, absolutely. Yes, he shut her down brusquely. But surely he doesn’t need to apologise for that…if she can’t handle that, she’ll never survive in Hollywood.

      As for implying that he married Luciana for a PR stunt…that is the silliest thing I have ever heard.

      • laura in LA says:

        Kate, while I agree that his intentions were good, semantics do mean something, especially coming from a public person…

        Think about how differently these statements sound:

        As you wrote, “I’m sorry IF people were offended…” implies there’s some doubt or denial and a “but” or justification coming, while “I’m sorry THAT people were offended…” acknowledges the offense yet still puts the onus on other people;

        Whereas “I’m sorry I offended people with my comments” or “I’m sorry my comments offended people”, either way, at least suggests he’s more personally taking responsibility for them.

        The problem is that with all this ‘splaining and non-apologizing, he’s getting even further away from the point of their discussion. They all agree there’s a big problem with the script as written in its portrayal of a black woman, but the question was which director most fervently addressed this in the interview?

        My guess, since I haven’t watched the episode:

        Matt sees GP as a competition where the winner should come with enough confidence to make changes because that’s what it takes to get movies greenlit and made so to speak. Effie perhaps views this instead as an opportunity to find new, more diverse voices and to nurture them through the filmmaking process.

        Of course, I could be totally wrong about all of that, but then that’s what happens when we’re talking about perceptions or misperceptions and connotation vs denotation.

  2. NewWester says:

    Has Effie Brown made any comments since this story hit the news?

  3. OSTONE says:

    Not sure what’s worse, his mansplaining or the sh*tty, condescending non-apology. “I am sorry you’re offended” is the WORST. I expected more from Matt Damon, but joke’s on me from expecting anything from famous, über-wealthy celebrities who live in their own bubble of privilege.

    • Blue says:

      That whitewash apology sounds like something written by his PR team. I don’t expect much from celebrities they are all pretty much the same Matt’s just better at hiding who he really is.

    • K2 says:

      “I’m sorry if you are offended” is the PR equivalent of “with all due respect”.

      Bless his heart.

      • laura in LA says:

        “With all due respect” is one of my favorites because we all know what that really means, and “I’m sorry you were offended” sounds like: “Well, sooorry you’re so sensitive!”

        What he or his PR reps* should’ve said was “I’m sorry for interrupting Effie”, then gone on to say how much he values and respects her opinion, and this is why they have her on the show.

        *Sometimes I find it hard to believe that these people actually write for a living (and a very good one at that) because their statements are often so poorly worded and only make things worse.

  4. Linn says:

    “I’m sorry I offended people with what I said/did. I was wrong, I have learned from my mistake and I’ll not do it again.”

    How hard can it be?

    • Birdix says:

      He has elementary aged kids! He should be an expert in how annoying non-apology is. (Or maybe that’s just my house.) ugh, I’m sorry for giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he’d learn from this.

      • Horse Marine says:

        But he wasn’t wrong. It’s perfectly legitimate to want to hire the best team for the project, whether they are a minority or not. Effie wanted diversity for the sake of diversity, which isn’t particularly thoughtful.

      • Nayna says:

        @ horse Marine
        Exactly. I am not racist, but I feel a lot of black celebrities and directors like to race bait and throw themselves a pity party consultantly for not getting roles or directing gigs offered to them. I mean people wanted a black SpiderMan just for the sake of it. The original SpiderMan isn’t even black and yet people were upset that a white actor got the role. They don’t care about hiring the right actor or person. They just want to be seen as Politically Correct.
        Personally I would like to see more diversity in terms of seeing more Indians and Asians in Hollywood. Atleast they don’t race bait and pity party themselves like blacks do. I mean, M Night Shaymalan( who is an Indian) is had been fun of and criticized constantly for his directing. He could very easily blame it on racism or something but he doesn’t. He made his own opportunities. Maybe this Effy woman should do the same instead of blaming it on racism and lack of diversity.

      • Linn says:

        @Horse Marine In that case he shouldn’t have uttered this half-assed apology and keep his mouth shut instead.

        Don’t say you are sorry if you’re not really sorry and actually mean something along the lines of “You are so dumb and over-sensitive and annoying to critize me.”

        And I don’t know under what rock he’s been living for the last couple of years but the “conversation about diversity in Hollywood.” has been going on for quite a while.

      • Naya says:

        Nayna congratulations on a post so ill informed and bigoted that it made me laugh for a good minute – that is what you were going for right? FYI Spiderman in the current comic universe isn’t white. Peter Parker was indeed white but there’s now a new guy in the suit and fyi he is not, repeat NOT white. The very valid argument that was being made s that rather than reboot Peter Parker, guy who we are all exhausted with now, give us the new Spiderman. On that same topic, why shouldn’t blind casting be employed for Spiderman? Its not like his race plays any role inthe story. This isn’t a period film where you can claim PoC don’t move in those circles.

        As for your comment about the female producer, she wasn’t making a case for herself. She has been relatively successful, by Hollywood WoC standards, she was saying the film is better served by a diverse directorial team.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Thank you for schooling Nayna, Naya

        It always amazes me how arrogantly people speak on topics relating to how certain people are using the ‘race card’ but then are totally ignorant of the topic they’re discussing.

        The ‘black’ Spiderman you speak of is indeed Spiderman, his newest incarnation that in the comics was given the title by Peter Parker himself. So yes after 3 REBOOTS people were wondering why we’re getting the same exact story over and over whe Theres material for a new Spiderman movie with a new perspective.

        Of course you didn’t know that and instead were too busy grumbling about people just wanting it because he’s ‘black’ and not caring about ‘talent’. Perhaps when you concern yourself with having the correct information you won’t need to blame blacks for fighting back against oppression like yours.

        Btw, Nayna congratulations on continuing in the proud tradition of people who say “I’m not racist” before saying something incredibly racist.

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

        @nayna I’m not racist but
        Lol, Yes you are. Read your comment. Also there is a black spiderman and people wanted to see his story on the screen, not the same Peter Parker one we’ve seen 1000 times.

      • FLORC says:

        Yes to everything about Spider Man/Peter Parker. Different universes. Different story lines. Different variations of that core character. Even to his level of super power and what he can do vs what he needs to have. Much like a Superman who has it and Batman who needs to build it.

        And to Matt. I’m sorry your offended statements always sound bad. I’m sorry you can’t see what is so obvious to me and feel you needed to disagree. I’m sorry I understand things more clearly than you.
        Oh Matt.

      • AJ says:

        Your comment is actually one of the worst I have ever read on this site & made my skin crawl. So….congrats.

        Unless it was satire. Then it worked perfectly. God, I wish I could believe it was satire.

      • Merritt says:


        Do you think if you tried you could have added any additional racist dog whistles to your post? Also you wrote the infamous “I’m not racist, but…” so you get some extra points.

        Black celebrities have correctly critiqued the lack of diversity in the film industry. There is a reason why Viola Davis, one of the best living actresses of any ethnicity, is doing television right now. She is getting a better more complex role, than she would if she was only open to doing film roles.

      • laura in LA says:

        Nayna, please refer to what I and a few others wrote on a yesterday’s thread, that is, if you have to preface whatever you’re about to say with “I am not racist, but…” Just. Don’t.

        Because it pretty much means you are racist. And saying this does not excuse you. Nor does it mean you can say whatever the eff you want and get away with it. Got it?

      • justagirl says:

        @ Nayna “…more diversity in terms of seeing more Indians and Asians in Hollywood. Atleast they don’t race bait and pity party themselves like blacks do.” Do you not see that grouping everybody together is a form of racism? Even your ‘compliment’ towards “Indians and Asians”….you’re viewing all people as a group.

        Also, anytime someone opens with “I am not racist but….” what they’re saying is usually spectacularly racist. And they are too, by association.

      • laura in LA says:

        Oh, by the way, Nayna?

        When you go on praising Indian and Asian filmmakers, then start a sentence with “maybe this Effy woman…” so dismissive of her experience and career, you not only show your ignorance, but your disdain and disrespect for black women.

        (Also it’s EFFIE. That’s “ie”. Last name, “Brown”.)

        And if my post above, along with everyone else’s here, hasn’t already done so, I think you yourself have made it pretty clear: YES, you are a racist.

      • JaneS says:

        Hope you learned your lesson Nayna. In this new and tolerant world, there is only one side / opinion that is allowed. And you’re not on it.

    • Cindy says:

      I don’t think he thinks he was /is wrong, unfortunately. :(

      My god his wife is beautiful.

  5. Emma - the JP Lover says:

    I really wish Matt Damon ‘had not’ apologized. I don’t think he had anything at all to apologize for. The comment and video support of the comment were obviously edited for sensationalism from a longer discussion. Honestly, sensational headlines from Internet, print, and film media outlets and Blogs screaming ‘Foul!’ and ‘Racist!’ gave this story legs. The sick thing is that most of these outlets deliberately edited the comment out of context from the longer discussion.

    • Kylie says:

      The comment was not taken out of context. He was whitesplaining, it is that simple.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Kylie …

        I was born in 1955. I’ve lived through the Civil Rights Movement, seeing blacks hosed and attacked by dogs on TV in live news feeds, watching the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech live on TV, three assassinations between 1963 and 1968, race riots, the birth of Affirmative Action, and the busing of black kids to schools in white neighborhoods and white kids to schools in black neighborhoods in an attempt to force segregation that was, at the time, still a matter of theory rather than practice. Do you think I wouldn’t recognize ‘whitesplaining’? Is that really what Matt Damon did?

        Do you have any words for what Effie Brown suggested? Having a diverse directing duo helm a film dealing with diverse subject matter, regardless of whether or not they were talented enough to do so, simply because they were a ‘diverse’ duo? I personally take issue with ‘that.’

      • Luca76 says:

        I don’t think the kind of racism you’re talking about is the same type of racism being displayed by Damon. So just because you were alive and witnessed violent racism around you in the 50s and 60s it doesn’t in fact mean you would recognize this more insidious and subtle type of racism(and sexism). Part of the problem is that people believe you have to hate POC and say the n word in order to be racist. A lot of the racism we see these days isn’t hateful it’s just ignorant and arrogant.

        BTW since you brought up segregation of schools did you know that schools are segregated about the same amount as they were in the 60s and 70s? Did you know are children are still living in a racist ‘separate but equal’(except not equal) system put in place by Plessy v Ferguson in the 1800s? If you have any interest in learning about that I’d recommend a episode that aired a while back called ‘The Problem we all Live with’.

        EDIT the name of the series is a podcast called This Amercan Life.

      • Mich says:

        Yes. Emma. I think you would not recognize whitesplaining. In fact you have made it pretty clear that you don’t.

        And who edited it for sensationalism? Damon himself?

      • Tammy says:

        If he had said it differently…would it still be whitesplaining…

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @Et al in this comment thread …

        Did I forget to mention that I’m a black woman who was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955?

        Yes, I would and ‘do’ recognize bigotry when I hear it, read it, and see it (I believe that’s the correct term as opposed to ‘whitesplaining’).

        Yes, I do realize that Busing didn’t work in the 1960′s and 1970′s. You can’t force people to interact in a certain way, they have to come to it on their own and in their own time. The premise was a good one, though. It was ugliest in the North. You should google stories about the violence and protests that occurred by the parents of the kids being bused, mainly white parents. It was ugly all over the North, but I think Boston wins the prize.

        Yes, I am ‘well’ aware that schools are still segregated to a large extent and that many primarily black schools receive old edition text books while primarily white schools receive current, new edition text books.

        I still say that Matt Damon was talking about talent over Effie Brown’s affirmative action suggestion, and I really don’t have a problem with that.

    • Dhavynia says:

      I haven’t seen the show nor read the original article, but isn’t the whole point about who’s the best? Does being diversed mean being the best? I do get her explanation, I’m Latina and I understand misrepresentation but I think he just wanted the best for the job, maybe he should apologize to her for the way he spoke to her about it

      • Sisi says:

        I think it comes down to how they both define merit, which was the thing they talked about concerning their choice. Based on their merit who is the most suitable for this project was the question. He sees merit as only the previous work from the director, she sees it as their work, character, life experiences & cultural background since that all gets projected into the final product.

        That difference in interpretation is fine.

        But she’s a producer with 52 projects to her name, not a novice in H’wood. He should not have lectured her how to define merit of directors. And then he definitely should not have explained what ‘casting’ meant. She knows.

        Also to then top it off with dismissing the diversity issue on the moviemaking side of things – especially since we know how white the oscar luncheon photos are each year (which shows mostly people who work behind the camera)- and the eww-ness is complete. He just shows here that he likes to talk about the issues, but not actually do anything personally about it. This is very common in Hollywood, especially with the diversity problem.

    • ladysussex says:

      I’m pretty sure using the term “whitesplaining” is a racial slur. Would you have been ok with someone using the term “blacksplaining” to describe a person of color trying to explain a comment that offended some people? I think he didn’t owes any apology. Any industry should be a meritocracy, not a “diversitocracy” or a “minoritocracy”. Whew! All that wordsmithing wore me out. Hiring people simply based on race is, um RACISM, and hiring them simply because of their gender is SEXISM. I understand the need for change in society, but forcing the proverbial pendulum to swing completely the other way is not the answer.

      • Kitten says:

        “but forcing the proverbial pendulum to swing completely the other way is not the answer”

        It isn’t?

        I have yet to see any show not improve by increasing the diversity in their casting. In fact, one could argue that the best shows on television right now are largely comprised of PoC actors and those PoC actors are often the strongest actors on the cast.

        For example, look at Orange Is The New Black or The Walking Dead. Sorry, but the black, Asian and Hispanic actors on those shows are often out-acting their white counterparts.

        In the past, if it was a choice between a talented white actor and a talented black actor, the white actor inevitably got the part. Now I think people are seeing that casting a person of color increases viewership, strengthens the show, and is a more accurate reflection of the changing times. If that means the pendulum is swinging then I think it should f*cking swing all the way out there. Television is getting better, story-telling is getting more interesting and the acting bar is getting raised because of diversity. How in the world can you see that as racism? Hollywood has been a singularly white vision for years. YEARS. It’s time for people of color to show their shit, time for them to feel represented at long last. It is WAY overdue.

      • ladysussex says:

        So, Kitten, just to understand what you are saying, by saying ” I think it should f*cking swing all the way out there” are you saying that 90% of all actors, directors, writers, and producers should be POC, given these positions simply because of their color? That “white” people or men should be excluded from the industry and ever winning awards because of color or gender? The proverb about the pendulum speaks of balance in the universe, which can never be obtained due to exactly the sentiments you are expressing.

      • Kitten says:

        @Ladysussex-”you saying that 90% of all actors, directors, writers, and producers should be POC, given these positions simply because of their color.”

        Ugh. No I made it pretty clear that it should be merit-based but that if there is a choice between two equally-talented actors then we should choose the one who isn’t white. Instead of asking “why?” you should ask “why not?” Why are you so vehemently against increasing diversity? Mediocre white actors have been plaguing my television set for decades, at the very least I’d like to see some new faces.

        “The proverb about the pendulum speaks of balance in the universe, which can never be obtained due to exactly the sentiments you are expressing.”

        Bringing up the pendulum analogy as a symbol of balance and equality really doesn’t wash in this context. Historically, the pendulum has always swung in the direction of white people and white people’s vision. So yes I absolutely believe that in the interest of fairness and equilibrium, it’s time to swing in the opposite direction. If that means a white person loses out on a role in a film to an equally-talented black actor, then I’m 100% fine with that.

        What exactly is your fear here anyway? Are you scared that Hollywood will suddenly not be the white majority?

      • ladysussex says:

        @Kitten: how on earth did you get the idea that I am “vehemently against diversty”???? I am NOT! I am, however, against racism and sexism, and I believe that an enlightened society operates on a meritocracy. As a Jew, as a woman, and as person with Native American heritage I AM diversity! You assume that because I am against people being advanced simply because of their gender or race (which is called sexism and racism) that I am somehow a racist and afraid of the white man losing his place!? 6,000,000 of my Jewish ancestors were killed by “white men” and millions of my Native American forefathers were killed by “white men”, and yet…I still believe in a society where everyone is equal under the law rather than trying to get even. So give me a break.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        “I’m pretty sure the term “whitesplaining” is a racial slur”

        When you have to work that hard to find a way you’re somehow the victim of racism you need to realize you look like Goliath crying about how David hurt him.

        Whitesplaining is a racial slur because it has the term white in it and is used as a colloquel term for how some members of society explain away serious racial issues behind rose colored glasses of privelage?

      • korra says:

        Then mansplaining is an offensive sexist term too isn’t it ladysussex? There aren’t men in the world that explain things to women in condescedning manner about how they should or what they will face in the world.

        I’m puzzled by what you’re saying because it’s so highly offensive to the experiences of so many other people here that I’m just baffled as to why you don’t get it. Here’s some basic physics for you. An object at rest will stay at rest and in motion will stay in motion UNLESS acted on by an external force. So that proverbial pendulum will continue to swing in the direction of white, white, white unless we actually do exert a force, some pressure into swinging other directions. Maybe asian, maybe hispanic, maybe black, maybe a mix of you, maybe white. No one’s asking for it to be swung completely in the direction of just another race. We just want to change the pattern it’s tracing in the sand. To suggest that all we want is another extreme is showing that you are angry and do not want to budge from your position.

        It’s called picking up the slack. For so long POC and women have been overlooked for a sh-t ton of things for mediocre applicants to get things because of the color of their skin and their sex. I do not get why it bothers someone so much that a POC or a woman get something and is outright less deserving of it, torn to pieces over it, accused of using every damn trick in the book to get it, and told they probably only got it because they’re a woman or affirmative action or whatever etc, but the white guys in the room are BARELY if EVER questioned. White guys get to fail all the time and it doesn’t hurt them one bit. But a woman or poc or whatever fails and it’s representative of their ENTIRE group. You don’t think that’s unfair?

        Why not pick the minority? Why can’t the Doctor be a woman or black or asian or middle eastern or gay? Why can’t James Bond? Why can’t Spiderman be any of those things? I mean we can effing clone him, he can shoot spidey webs out of his hands, he has a spidey sense….but god forbid spiderman be gay or black or asian or even native american. Or just any of the lead characters in a movie where race doesn’t matter….but they choose white anyways.

      • K2 says:

        You think it’s just coincidence that white men have their idea of what entertains, enlightens, arouses and amuses them on screen almost all the time? And that any suggestion that people should make a conscious effort to just make it SLIGHTLY more diverse – not even halfway! is totally unfair on those poor white men, who don’t deserve the horrors of, um, a little less representation than they currently have? Because that would be SEXIST and RACIST?

        Please, won’t someone think of the affluent white men? :(

      • Merritt says:


        “I’m pretty sure using the term “whitesplaining” is a racial slur. ”

        No it is not. The same way that “mansplaining” is not sexist. Both describe the phenomenon of someone who is not a minority (or not a woman in the case of mansplaining) attempting to school someone who is a minority (or woman) about issues of race or gender while being condescending and wrong. Brown understands diversity. She does not need someone like Damon to explain it to her. She also understands merit, since she has had to work extremely hard to get where she is. She does not need a privileged white male trying to tell her how diversity works. Damon probably has a far less accurate definition of merit since both he and his bff Affleck have made flop after flop, with few good films in between, yet both are still among the highest paid in the industry.

      • laura in LA says:

        ladysussex, please do yourself a favor and watch Dear White People streaming on Netflix now.

  6. jinni says:

    I find his apology annoying because he tries to spin it like that scene opened the door to a conversation that hasn’t already been going on. Like he’s congratulating himself for starting a discussion on diversity that was previously not spoken about which isn’t the case. This conversation has been going on for a long time and all his comment to Ms. Brown really did is expose that PoC will have to still keep having this conversation because things are still as they ever were. His comment actually shows that despite this conversation having been going on for some time that there is still so much that white Hollywood is refusing to get, because if a supposed progressive, liberal guy like Matt who is supposed to be an ally acts this way, it seems hopeless that any real change will occur.

    His attempt to spin his comments into something positive as if he really unveiled some previously unspoken problem in Hollywood reminds me of when during the PBS/Gates scandal Ben tried to spin his attempts to hide his slave ancestry and the uproar it caused and tried to act like this good lesson for all of us to learn because it shows we as a nation are still dealing with the legacy of slavery. As if all of the things like “Black Lives Matter” and what was going on in the news didn’t already show that.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      And therein lies the real problem: “PoC will have to still keep having this conversation.” People like Matt Damon appear quite unaware of their privilege and their hidden biases/prejudices. The only reason this situation even arose was because a black female director spoke up. If she had not been there, would any of the other white people have brought this up? Probably not. And yet, it seems to ALWAYS be the responsibility of PoC to start conversations like this. When does it become the responsibility of Matt Damon to examine his prejudices and his role in perpetuating a system that marginalizes or even outright ignores PoC? Or does he just get a free pass to behave questionably as long as he non-apologizes?

      The only other point I have to make is that his merit argument is particularly offensive when he – and everyone with any brain or common sense – should know that it is very, very, very difficult to develop the necessary “merit” (skills, experience, talents, etc.) in anything if you are never given a chance to genuinely practice, train, or make and learn from your mistakes. I believe one of the main reasons there aren’t more successful PoC directors in Hollywood is that the large studios are not going to risk millions of dollars by letting just anyone direct or produce a movie. So they frequently choose known quantities – most of whom happen to be white. Then because these directors and producers want their movies to be hits and make lots of money and build up their CVs, they choose assistant directors, assistant producers, casting directors, etc. based on THEIR prior successes. Again, the majority of these people also happen to be white.

      Now here is what I find alternately hilarious and disturbing: if a white-oriented film bombs, every excuse in the book will be made. “The actors had no chemistry, the studio and the director had different visions, the timing and marketing of its release was poorly thought out, blah blah blah.” But if a PoC-oriented film bombs, the excuses are always something along the lines of “People don’t go to these films. That’s why we can’t make them. We lose too much money.” Max Joseph of “Catfish” fame just directed his first feature film “We Are Your Friends,” and it was one of the biggest failures ever. But how much do you want to bet that HIS merit will NEVER be meaningfully questioned?

      If I had been Effie Brown, I would have shot back at Matt Damon with something like, “They will never reach your perceived level of merit when no one ever gives them a chance to develop as directors. And um, correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that what this show is about?” But if she had something like that, then she would be branded an angry black woman who focuses entirely too much on perceived injustices.

      I never cared much about Matt Damon one way or another, but now he is definitely on my side eye list.

  7. Abbott says:

    “I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood.”

    Thank god we have Matt Damon to lead the way when it comes to discussing diversity in the entertainment industry. Not to mention it was Effie Brown who brought it up but, by all means Jesus Bourne, please take credit.

    • Evasmom says:

      1000 times this. How incredibly arrogant. Has he read any of the criticisms at all? How can someone be so delusional. Ugh

    • Cindy says:

      You are so right! Let’s all have a moment to be thankful to the ever thoughtful and inspired Matt Damon! He really set us straight, didn’t he……:(

    • AJ says:

      Yeah the “I am a much put upon hero who sparks public discourse about diversity in Hollywood” bullshit really rubbed me the wrong way too.
      Also, Matt is in a position to actually DO SOMETHING about diversity in Hollywood, not just participate in discussions. He has chosen not to.

      LOL Jesus Bourne.

    • korra says:

      He has come to save our souls! He’s taking the heat for the sins of his father! For Ben Affleck’s sins! For all our sins! He’s only doing this to get clean water to people in Africa! Seriously thank god for Damon otherwise us idiots wouldn’t have been able to form a coherent sentence on this topic at all. He went to Harvard after all. Of COURSE he knows what he’s talking about. /s

      Here’s the reality folks. Damon is arrogant and smug. Male goop. Moop.

  8. Kristen says:

    It’s about pride, and damn if I haven’t done this myself at times.

    He doesn’t think he has anything to apologize for, he thinks he’s right, and it probably kills him/his ego to admit wrongdoing. That’s my take.

    In reality, he’d come out looking so much better if he owned his comments and really apologized.

  9. Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

    Worst part: watching Brown say “I come here with love in my heart…”

    POC and women (especially those who are both) have been taught to qualify strong opinions like this. If we don’t we’re just written off as “angry” or “b*tches” right? I 100% get why she did it–we are pretty much trained to do so– but watching someone else do it… that hurt. And he just talked right over her…

  10. renee28 says:

    Classic non-apology. He really should just say, “I’m not sorry but I have a movie coming out and my publicist made me do this.”

  11. lower-case deb says:

    rather than the non-apology apology, i’m more concerned with the word “started”, in relations to conversation. it’s as though there haven’t been conversations before this, which is patently not true.

    would’ve been better if he, or whoever PR person drafted this, used “contributed”, or something (add fuel to the fire? exacerbate? i dunno). well maybe some PR-ey word to hint about the ongoing problems of diversity–a problem that has existed and will continue to exist unless yadda yadda yadda.

    his choice of word, imo, highlights the fact that he’s actually, at the bottom of it, clueless about the problem.

  12. kay says:

    Of course he did. He should join forces with Marvel Offenders, Evans and Renner, and school all the privileged white dudebros how to offend and “apologize” to those hypersensitive women.

  13. Pinky says:

    It’s not just the point he was making on the show, it was how he totally dismissed, interrupted, and shut down the only woman and person of color in the room so she barely had a voice left and felt she had to apologize with her demeanor and “love in her heart” on the spot in order to be able to continue in the conversation. That’s a huge part of the problem and he STILL doesn’t get it.

    If Kanye West is a villain for bringing up a valid point and interrupting (white, fragile) Swifty, then why isn’t Damon being held on the carpet for his sexism as well? Because there are posters here (see a few posts above) who can never see racism and will defend it to their last breath, but God forbid a white woman get slighted, all hell breaks loose.

  14. grabbyhands says:

    Damn, 2015 is going to claim favorites all the way down to the end of the year.

    It is a shame-up until that exchange he always seemed fairly self aware, but his initial response was totally tone deaf and his “apology” is even worse.

    Bad form, Damon. Bad form.

  15. Anniefannie says:

    after watching the whole episode I don’t think Damon was wrong in his assertions so I’m guessing thats the reason for the tone of the apology. I think he would have been better off staying silent.
    Additionally, it’s got to be galling to help create a process so directors and writers have access otherwise unavailable to now be accused as part of the problem.

    • kibbles says:

      People can agree to disagree. Damon is entitled to his opinions and people are free to consider them to be ignorant, wrong, etc. but he doesn’t need to apologize for them. The problem here that I see is that if he decides to apologize, he should try to sound sincere. The worst apology is a condescending one that shows he is pissed off for even feeling the need to apologize. I agree that he would have been better off keeping quiet and letting this blow over.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      But that’s precisely what Effie Brown was addressing – there is already plenty of access for WHITE directors, even white females. It is a hell of a lot harder, almost impossible, for a non-white director of either sex to have ANY access to significant money, talented actors, and top-notch behind the scenes people in Hollywood.

      I think the real question should be whether Matt Damon helped to create a process/reality TV show so white directors and writers continue to have access and to maintain their privileges in Hollywood.

      • Sam says:

        I’m not sure if that was what was really being debated. The argument seemed to stem from the idea that Effie thought that a director of color would be best suited to present the story since the characters included a person of color among the cast.

        I’m racially mixed and I see both sides. I abhor stuff like tokenism and Diversity for Diversity’s Sake. There IS space for a discussion about merit in the conversation – which is what a lot of people seemed to take issue with. Personally, I was sort of amazed that out of all the considered people, only one team was racially diverse. But that’s part of the problem – when you just have one, you essentially set up the arguments about tokenism right off the bat. So to me, the problem started long before this conversation actually happened – that they could really only find one directorial team that had any diversity – really?

        But if Matt was going to apologize, he just should have. I’d respect him more if he stood by what he said. I might not agree, but at least I could respect it.

      • ladysussex says:

        Hmm. Did Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, John Singleton, etc. get where they are because of a diversity program or some kind of affirmative action in film making? I think it’s an insult to people of color and all women to insinuate that they cannot succeed based on their own merit and hard work.

      • Kitten says:

        @Ladysussex-”Did Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, John Singleton, etc. get where they are because of a diversity program or some kind of affirmative action in film making?”

        They succeeded IN SPITE of that. They are the exception to the rule.

        “I think it’s an insult to people of color and all women to insinuate that they cannot succeed based on their own merit and hard work.”

        I think it’s more of an insult to women and PoC to pretend like it’s a level playing field, to act as if we all have the same advantages and opportunities as white men.

      • anon33 says:

        oh ladysussex, just stop. We can all see you.

  16. Lindy79 says:

    *insert Tyra “I was rooting for you!!”* gif*

    Goddam it Matt, that is NOT an apology. It is never and apology!

  17. Lucy2 says:

    To be fair I haven’t seen the episode, but I have to think there was a way of declining these two directors will still recognizing the importance of diversity on all levels of the process, not just in front of the camera.
    ” i’m sorry you were offended” is a non-apology, and I wish publicists would stop telling their clients to say it.

  18. feebee says:

    You can take the boy out of ……….

    The answer would be A… inadequate. I’m a little surprised and quite disappointed. The non-apology is one thing but the conversation starting bit really deserves a Jason Bourne beating. No wonder the diversity in Hollywood is advancing slower than glaciers in the current climate, people think the conversation keeps only starting.

  19. Catelina says:

    This is annoying, if those are really his thoughts, whatever, he should at least own them! I would respect that way more than this bs, even though I would still disagree with what he said.
    And if not then he should’ve clarified that and really apologized in a sincere way. Celebrities and their damn egos

  20. Sarah says:

    I had such hope, that his apology would be articulate, personal and truly original.

    But no its the generic Hollywood “I didn’t do anything wrong and lame sorry some of you felt hurt” by his publicist.

    He could have said ” I’m genuinely sorry for my insensitive remarks, I was raised better to not interrupt someone when they are talking and I still have a lot to learn with regards to ethnic / race struggle and will champion for a more diverse Hollywood”
    Maybe a joke which involves Damonsplaining and be done with it!
    Instead he chose to make things feel ickier 😔

  21. db says:

    Oh Matt. He’s not accustomed to getting called on his sh*t. In contrast, Ariana Grande at least made a genuine apology, she owned her behavior.

  22. Sarah says:

    I want to just say race is not just a black white issue. because there is only one race, people of Colour their struggles vary vastly, we don’t all have the same experiences, and because our colour is with us everyday we deal with it everyday. I’m Bi racial. I have 3 kids and all look different, my husband is bi racial. My oldest son looks latino he has beautiful brown golden skin, my younger son is very fair and people often mistake him for Spanish person, my daughter is fairest and coloured eyes and passes for a white person. How they get treated can vary somewhat, we’ve had similar experiences and other times different. But by far my daughter gets treated better than my oldest son, they all went to the same school and their experiences were quite different. The comparison can be heartbreaking sometimes.

    • Kitten says:

      That’s so interesting and very sad as well. How do you handle that, if you don’t mind me asking? Is your son old enough to understand why people treat him differently?

    • That brings me back. I look white, while my twin is dark skinned. The difference between how we were treated in elementary school was staggering….I never noticed it because I had my own friends to play with, but no one would ever play with my brother during recess.

    • laura in LA says:

      I’m repeating myself here, but if you haven’t already seen Dear White People, please do…

      It’s a comedy, but it handles all the nuances of race differences, attitudes and identity very well, even touches on sexuality within this context, and does all of this with realness and humor. This is pretty remarkable for a first-time writer/director/producer who actually crowdfunded to get it made, also cast some very good, lesser-known young actors (along with Dennis Haysbert!) And he got Effie Brown, didn’t need PG to do that…

      I’ve always liked the *idea* of this HBO series, but no matter what Matty D. says, I don’t expect a watchable film from it because it’s still just “reality” TV.

  23. Horse Marine says:

    The only thing he actually has to apologize for is interrupting her. That was rude. Otherwise, no.

    He wanted the best directing team for the project, that is all. As he should. That is a legitimate position.

    And I find Effie Brown’s thought process problematic. Only a minority is qualified to adequately portray the reality of another minority? As if other people are incapable of empathy, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, etc.

    She was the only one who wanted that particular team of directors. That’s quite telling. Nobody else thought they were right for the job. So why did she? Of course, it’s possible she genuinely thought they were the most talented pair, but it seems more likely she wanted them JUST because they are diverse, which is offensive and condescending to others, for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

    “Sorry you’re offended” always sucks, though. He should know better.

    • anon33 says:

      I can’t even with how incredibly wrong you are. Its not about other people having empathy. It’s about the people that have ACTUALLY HAD those experiences being ABLE TO TELL their stories in the SAME WAY that their white/male/whatever counterparts already can. I’m a rape survivor, and I for damn sure would not appreciate someone who has NEVER BEEN RAPED trying to come to me and tell me how to feel about it, or tell me that their way of looking at it is BETTER than mine because of EMPATHY. NO WAY. GMAFB.

    • Merritt says:

      @Horse Marine

      “She was the only one who wanted that particular team of directors. That’s quite telling. Nobody else thought they were right for the job.”

      Everybody else in the room was a white male. That that really your argument for why she was wrong? Because it is a bad argument. “No one else agrees” is a school yard argument. Sometimes the best decisions come from a person with a strong enough will to dissent. Considering Damon’s history of clunkers, the whole “he wanted the best team” falls very flat.

  24. gabriella says:

    I think white men should just stop talking because everything they say is apparently a result of their white privilege and their hidden biases/prejudices.

  25. Mich says:

    The added context in the update is great and all but in no way offsets the nopology.

    I’m disappointed. I really like Damon but I don’t think he learned anything from the backlash. That’s sad.

  26. thaisajs says:

    Damon’s next attempt at an apology in 3…2…1…

  27. meme says:

    Better to shut up and not apologize than to make this phony non-apology apology but I expect nothing less from smug pretentious Matt Damon.

  28. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Ah the old “Sorry if you were offended” apology.

    The only thing this taught me was to go with my gut. I rarely make effort to peek in on celebrities explaining or apologizing because I always doubt it comes from a genuine place. I feel the old saying of, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” applies here. So when someone is tone-deaf, whitesplaining, mansplaining, arrogant and completely unaware of the difficulties anyone not white and male might face I tend to believe my first impression.

    But for one small second yesterday I thought, “Hmm, should I check to see what he said…maybe he said something enlightening?”

    Nope! I feel both vindicated and saddened for people like Effie. I’m sure this will hurt her on some level because how dare you even mildly suggest discrimination or bring up race at any point when trying to explain your perspective. As for Damon…I suspect he coasted for a while on the whole keeping your mouth closed and not revealing yourself to be a fool bit.

    Cats out of the bag buddy.

  29. Nebby says:

    At one point I really did enjoy this site. now I see there are so many racist here, they’re every actually. It’s crazy how so many women here can be all about womens rights, talk about the lack of roles for women (in front and behind the camera), but the second it’s a poc its no longer a problem. Things like this is why I struggled calling myself a feminist. It’s hard working alongside the few white women who acknowledge the troubles of being a woman, but can’t see that race is also a big part of the discrimination woc face.

    • FingerBinger says:

      There are a few close minded people here but that doesn’t make them racist.

    • AJ says:

      @ Nebby,
      I am so sorry. I am shocked by the outright ignorance of some of these comments. It is ignorance fueled by privilege.
      If you’re white, you have the luxury of choosing not to know what kinds of hard truths other people face. The hurt done to people on the receiving end of racism is beyond what some can imagine.
      Yes this actually is racism!!! It is systemic racism, the status quo, chugging right along when the Matt Damon’s of the world are sitting comfortably in their privilege bubbles, not willing to bear the momentary discomfort of self-examination.

    • anon33 says:

      I agree with you, and I’m very white.

    • K2 says:

      You know that joke, that a black woman looks in the mirror and sees a black woman; a white woman looks in the mirror and sees a woman, and a white man looks in the mirror and sees a human being?


      The problem with dismantling privilege is it is invisible to so many of the people who have it. They are blind to their birth on 2nd or 3rd base. They truly believe they scored a home run, and someone is trying to deny their hard-earned victory.

  30. Daria Morgendorffer says:

    Not an adequate apology. When I say, “I’m sorry that you’re offended” it means I’m really not sorry for what I said.

  31. Moi says:

    “I’m sorry that people were offended, but I stand by what I said, so shove it”. Love it, love everything about it.

  32. Sarah says:

    @ Kitten

    All three have been taught that there will always be people who will have an “us and them” mentality, we are pacifists and never engage in violence. They understand that some people haven’t evolved intellectually and their ignorance shows due to that. We can only focus on ourselves and responsible for our behaviour and to never feel less than others, to always be proud of who you are and stand up for yourself and others.

  33. Dawn says:

    I think he said it exactly as he wanted to say it. I don’t live in his world so I don’t get to see what he sees but he has every right to state his opinion.

  34. Ealt says:

    If you think you have a valid point that you are capable of explaining better later because you flubbed it the first time, do so, if not, don’t bother us with your “I’m sorry you didn’t comprehend my awesomeness simply because I deigned to open my mouth at all to you ameba-brains” b.s. That “I’m sorry you don’t like it” hasn’t gotten better since Hanoi Jane said it when us lesser folk were judgy about her riding on a Viet Cong tank. Ameba, very small unlike the implants Mrs. Matt got, yikes! Speaking of tanks. Might be old, don’t follow, really glad I don’t.

  35. Marianne says:

    I hate apologies that are “I’m sorry you’re offended” because…its not really apologizing. Your still not owning up to your mistake.

  36. Charles101 says:

    He isn`t honest, he wouldn`t say it is hard in Hollywood to be political correct.