Movies | August 1, 2021 8:08 pm

Matt Damon Offers Bizarre Explanation For Using, Then Not Using, Homophobic Slur

Why did he feel the need to share this with the world?

Matt Damon
Matt Damon attends 'Matt Damon visits the SiriusXM Hollywood studios in Los Angeles' at SiriusXM Studios on November 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM

You may remember that, a few years ago, Liam Neeson offered an anecdote about a time he almost committed a hate crime, but then didn’t. You may also remember being somewhat confused about this: obviously, not carrying out a hate crime is a good thing. However, it’s not clear why Neeson felt the need to share a story in which he, to say the least, did not come off well at all.

And now, another prominent actor has seen fit to tell a story about something deeply offensive for no apparent reason. Vulture reports that Matt Damon, in a recent Sunday Times interview, addressed his past use of what he described as “the f-slur for a homosexual.” And by “past use,” we mean “within the last year.”

More specifically, that phrase is how his daughter described the word in question. “The word that my daughter calls the ‘f-slur for a homosexual’ was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,” he told Jonathan Dean of The Sunday Times. According to Damon, he made a joke using the word, prompting his daughter to write “a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous.”

After reading the treatise in question, Damon said, he opted to “retire” his use of the word.

What’s especially bizarre, though, is why Damon took this long to do so. As Vulture’s Rebecca Alter pointed out, Damon is a Harvard graduate, has played queer characters on screen and is 50 years old. There’s also a long section of dialogue illustrating why using anti-gay slurs in casual conversation is bad in Chasing Amy, a movie which came out in 1997, and which Matt Damon is in. One assumes he’s watched it at some point in the last 24 years.

Dean described Damon’s story as “exactly the sort of anecdote people make headlines about.” This is certainly true — but it begs the question of why he wants to make headlines for it to begin with.