“I am sorry that [my comments] offended some people, but at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood,” he said in a statement.
Damon made headlines earlier this week after a segment from his HBO show, Project Greenlight, went viral. The show, which he co-created with Ben Affleck, gives aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to meet with Hollywood bigwigs and produce their projects.
Damon, along with the filmmakers and other industry execs, went to visit Brown, who was critiquing the contestants’ films. Brown, the only Black woman present, notices that one of the movies features the single Black character as a prostitute. As she explains how this casting is potentially harmful and points out the importance of diversity in Hollywood, Damon interrupts her and offers his own take on diversity.
“When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” Damon says, suggesting that the lack of diversity in Hollywood can be solved by putting more characters of color on-screen rather than tackling the deeper issue behind-the-scenes.
Many began criticizing Damon for being tone-deaf to the real issue, which a Black filmmaker was attempting to explain eloquently. In his apology, he admitted that he believed that Hollywood needed more diversity.
“I believe deeply that there needs to be more diverse filmmakers making movies,” he said. “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…That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having.”
What do you think about Damon’s apology?