Damon: Sorry for Explaining Diversity to Black Director

His comments on 'Project Greenlight' sparked uproar
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2015 10:53 AM CDT
In this Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, Matt Damon attends The Project Greenlight Season 4 premiere of "The Leisure Class" in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Matt Damon has apologized after sparking an uproar at Sunday night's Project Greenlight premiere. The HBO show features a panel of writers, directors, and producers deciding which director should be given the opportunity to direct a $3 million feature film; producer Effie Brown, who is black, is part of this season's panel, and Sunday discussed her preference for the most diverse directing team that made it to the finals—a woman and a Vietnamese man—noting that she thought they'd have the sensitivity required for the film. She asked the other panelists (all of whom are white, NBC News notes) to remember that "the only black person" in the film project is "a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp," and because of that they should be careful which director they choose.

That was the point at which Damon interrupted Brown to say, among other things, "When we're talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show." Her response was a simple "wow." Twitter had a lot more to say, dubbing the moment #Damonsplaining. Sample tweet: "'You see, successful black woman, diversity is whatever white, straight, men say it is.' - Matt Damon, 2015." Per NBC News, Damon apologized thusly:. "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 says. "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." (Read more Matt Damon stories.)

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