Matt Damon Under Fire Over Racial Diversity Comments
Actor Matt Damon has come under fire for comments he made about racial diversity in Hollywood during an episode of his reality competition series Project Greenlight. The most recent episode of the behind-the-scenes series, which aired on Sunday, featured the Bourne Identity star sitting down with Ben Affleck, the Farrelly brothers and Dear White People producer Effie Brown to discuss the finalists to direct a comedy in which the sole black character was a prostitute.
During the debate, Brown stressed the importance of selecting a director who would bring diversity to the project, titled Not Another Pretty Woman, and suggested they pick Asian man Leo Angelos and Caucasian woman Kristen Brancaccio. She said, “I would want to urge people to think about, whoever this director is, how they’re going to treat the character of Harmony, the only black character who’s a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp.” Damon felt Angelos and Brancaccio were not the best choices because they had failed to voice potential issues with the character, saying, “So on the surface they (Angelos and Brancaccio) look like one thing, but they might end up giving us something we don’t want. When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show (choosing a director on Project Greenlight).” Brown was taken aback by the 44-year-old’s statements, simply responding, “Hoo. Wow. OK!” Viewers took aim at Damon for his comments on social media, with one person writing, “Matt Damon speaking over the only black person in the room so he can explain diversity to her is SO WHITE it hurts.” Another added, “You see, successful black woman, diversity is whatever white, straight, men say it is.” Damon has yet to respond to the online backlash.