Matt Damon Issues an Apology for His Statements on Diversity on ‘Project Greenlight’


The Guardian reports that Matt Damon has issued an apology after having been called out for interrupting producer Effie Brown — while she emphasized the importance of diversity — to explain his own thoughts on the matter. This blunder, which occurred on his HBO show, Project Greenlight, quickly became known as “#damonsplaining.”

“When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” he’d said, after Brown (who produced Dear White People) had begun to emphasize the importance of a diverse crew, especially on a film whose script only features one black character — a “hooker who gets hit by her white pimp.”

Damon had, later in the Project Greenlight episode, gone on to elaborate, saying:

I’m glad Effie flagged the issue of diversity for all of us, because film-making should throw a broader net and it’s high time for that to change…

But just after that, he’d continued to advocate for a wholly meritocratic approach. In the statement of apology Damon released yesterday, however, the actor suggested that his words had been taken out of a larger context through the editing down of the conversations they’d been having. He said:

I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse film-makers making movies. I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching Project Greenlight to believe that film-making is a viable form of creative expression for them too. My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight, which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood. That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having.