Matt Damon is making the promotional rounds for his new film, Stillwater, but an anecdote he relayed in a recent interview is making its own headlines. Talking with the Sunday Times, the 50-year-old Harvard alum touched on the state of the movie industry before moving onto the topics of the Me Too movement and masculinity—which is when he got candid about a fresh update to his vocabulary. "The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application," Damon told the paper. He said he "made a joke, months ago," causing his daughter to get up from the table and leave. "She went to her room and wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous," he continued. "I said, 'I retire the f-slur!' I understood." The Times notes that, after the actor made that comment, "he smiles. He listened and he changed."
The BBC notes the resulting pushback against Damon, who earned some flak in 2017 when he remarked that sexual misconduct needed to be viewed as being on a "spectrum." Some commented on how his epiphany on gay slurs appeared to have just happened in 2021, while others don't seem sure there's even been an epiphany. "I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced f----t with," comedian Billy Eichner tweeted. Vulture notes the controversy "stings especially bad coming from a straight actor who has taken on queer roles in films like Behind the Candelabra and ... The Talented Mr. Ripley." Hollywood Reporter movie critic Daniel Fienberg, meanwhile, wonders more about Damon's judgment in telling the story at all. "I like when celebrities talk to the press, but it's always illuminating to hear the stories that folks like ... Matt Damon think are humanizing and charming, but actually reveal insulation and isolation (among other unsavory stuff) instead," he mused. (Read more Matt Damon stories.)