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Matt Damon Sparks Outrage: Says Diversity Only Matters In Front Of The Camera

Tue, September 15, 2015 11:20am EDT by 2 Comments
Matt Damon Diversity
Image Courtesy of HBO

Matt Damon upset viewers with his comments on the season premiere of ‘Project Greenlight,’ the filmmaking reality TV show. When Effie Brown wanted a woman and a person of color as the project’s director, Matt said diversity is something ‘for casting the film,’ not when picking the director!

Uh-oh. The new season of Project Greenlight hit a big red light on its first episode, thanks to  Matt Damon, 44, putting his foot in his mouth. Matt got into a discussion with Dear White People director Effie Brown, telling her that diversity only matters when casting movie actors and not when it comes to picking who sits behind the camera!

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On the Sept. 13 premiere of HBO’s Project Greenlight, Matt seemed to downplay the importance of having women or people of color as directors, reports Vox. This season, the reality television program will cover the making of a movie called Not Another Pretty Woman. The film’s producers — which include Matt, Effie and Ben Affleck and others — were tasked to pick someone to direct the picture. Since the film’s only black role is a prostitute who is beaten by a white pimp, Effie wanted someone who wouldn’t portray the character as a stereotype.

However, when she suggested the directing team of Leo Kei Angeleos and Kristen Bancaccio, Matt told Effie that diversity is something “you do in the casting of the film, not in the casting of [Project Greenlight.]” Yikes! Effie was visibly shocked by his comments, and so was Twitter! The #Damonsplaining hashtag started trending, as Twitter users mocked Matt for trying to explain diversity to Effie.

It seems Matt doesn’t realize that diversity remains a problem in Hollywood. Movie directors are still predominantly male and white, reports LA Weekly. Effie was concerned that a white guy might not treat a black prostitute with the sensitivity the character deserved. Thankfully, after she expressed these worries, the character was reportedly changed, according to NBC News.

Matt clarified his comments, saying that he wanted to award the position to the directors on their qualifications. “If you change the rules of this competition at the 11th hour,” Matt says, according to NBC News, “it seems like you would undermine what the competition was supposed to be about — which is about giving somebody this job based entirely on merit and leaving all other factors out of it.” The team eventually picked a white man named Jason Mann.

What do you think about Matt’s comments, HollywoodLifers? Do you think the team should have picked Effie’s choice?

— Jason Brow