Matt Damon knows how to act, direct and apparently, abruptly shut a person down.
During the season four premiere of he and Ben Afflecks’s HBO reality show for aspiring filmmakers Project Greenlight, Damon shuts down Dear White People producer Effie Brown when she speaks about the importance of having a diverse team behind-the-scenes of one of the films they’re judging.
Brown was specifically responding to a film script that featured the only Black character as a prostitute.
“I just would want to urge people to think about, whoever this director is, the way that they are going to treat the character Harmony…her being a prostitute, the only Black person being a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp,” she said before being interrupted by Damon who quickly swoops in, cutting Brown off from finishing her full thought.
“…When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” he said.
Wide-eyed, Brown then looks at Damon with disbelief and responds, “Wow, ok.”
Later in the show, Damon said “I’m glad Effie flagged the issue of diversity for all of us” but insisted that a directing team should be chosen entirely on merit. Anything else “would undermine what the competition is supposed to be about.”
Black Twitter was rightfully up in arms about the connotation of such a conversation.
Talked to my homeboy this morning about Matt Damon & his thoughts of what “diversity” is… as black a filmmaker, my friend was NOT pleased.
— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) September 15, 2015
— Awkward Black Girl (@awkwardblkgrl) September 15, 2015
And for his next trick, Matt Damon whitesplains diversity to a succesful Black woman director. BEHOLD! http://t.co/LaTFJ1TXY9
— Amanda Seales (@amandaseales) September 15, 2015
That face when Matt Damon tells you diversity&merit are mutually exclusive when you’re the only black person there. pic.twitter.com/O6Hg75HW40
— X (@XLNB) September 14, 2015