Matt Damon apologizes for whitesplaining remarks: "I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity"

The actor came under fire for dismissing diversity on the season premiere of "Project Greenlight"

Published September 16, 2015 7:45PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Bill Ingalls/NASA)
(Reuters/Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Matt Damon has issued an apology for remarks he made during the season premiere of HBO’s “Project Greenlight,” during which he shut down producer Effie Brown, a black woman, when she suggested that a diverse directing team might be better suited to direct a film whose only black character was a prostitute. "When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” Damon said.

Damon’s remarks immediately came under fire, with critics accusing the actor of "whitesplaining" diversity issues. Today, Damon apologized -- although, much like pal Ben Affleck's apology for censoring his slave-owner past on PBS' "Finding Your Roots," it leaves something to be desired:

“I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching ‘Project Greenlight’ to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too. 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. 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.”

While it's a little galling that Damon thinks his comments “started a conversation on diversity,” when women, LGBT people and people of color have been heatedly engaging in this conversation all around him, we're grateful that Damon has given us permission -- the green light, if you will! -- to keep talking about the thing we were all already talking about. Thanks, Matt!

By Anna Silman

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Aol_on Matt Damon Project Greenlight Racism Diversity