Effie Brown opens up about confronting Matt Damon on diversity: "I had no choice really. I’ve been black and a woman all my life"

Brown was the target of #Damonsplaining on the season premiere of "Project Greenlight"

Published October 12, 2015 7:37PM (EDT)

  (Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
(Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

In a new interview with Indiewire, "Dear White People" producer Effie Brown opened up about her now-infamous confrontation with Matt Damon on the “Project Greenlight” season premiere, in which she advised Damon to consider diversity when picking directors for a film whose only black female character was a prostitute.

“When you’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not the casting of the show,” Damon responded, a tone-deaf rebuke that immediately garnered the ire of the Internet and launched the hashtag #Damonsplaining.

Pointing out that that wasn't even the full version of their exchange -- it was "the polite version" -- Brown explained why she felt obligated to call Damon out:

"I had no choice really. I’ve been black and a woman all my life. I have worked in this business for 20 years. I’m 43. It was one of those things. Literally in that moment, was I going to risk public humiliation, bringing up this opinion, or deal with shame and excuses: 'You let that go by?' That’s a big responsibility. I was more afraid of my mother: 'That’s how we raised you and sacrificed, that’s it? When the time was for you to stand and be counted?' That’s all that went thorough my head: damned if I was going to do that. At the same time, Matt was the biggest movie star in the world, he could win the Oscar with 'The Martian,' he's incredibly thoughtful, so smart, so sensitive. Before that all happened, I am with Jason Bourne and Batman, I loved it. It was disheartening, to be 'Oh, like, ok.’"

"To my chagrin, when you're in that room, you have to validate yourself if no one takes you seriously," she continued.

As for her current relationship with Damon? "Word on the street is I'm not his favorite person,” Brown confesses, promising there will be more reveals to come as the season progresses.

Read the rest of the fascinating interview, which details plenty of other behind-the-scenes turmoil, over at Indiewire.

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