Hollywood actor Matt Damon was forced to defend himself against claims he sought to encourage gay actors to remain in the closet during a recent interview.
Damon appeared on the on the Ellen DeGeneres talk show to shed light on the matter and said that his comments were taken out of context online. The Bourne Identity star was originally discussing the anonymity of actors and said the following: “I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”
There was almost an immediate backlash online following the publication of his interview, with some websites suggesting that what Damon was actually saying was that all gay actors should remain in the closet.
Damon was quick to point out that this wasn’t what he was getting at, adding that he had not intended to make homophobic comments.
“I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery. Right?” he told the 2014 Oscars host. “And somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. Which is like I mean it’s stupid, but it is painful when things get said that you don’t believe.”
DeGeneres, who is openly gay herself, didn’t think he intended to make them either. “I know you, and I know you’re not that guy,” she said.
It looks like Damon put his foot in his mouth when he was phrasing his comments. It’s fairly easy to see that he was trying to refer to actors and how it betters their craft if they retain a little mystery, but the wording was unfortunate. It didn’t help that later in the interview he recalled being “deeply offended” when himself and his co-writer on Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck were questioned as to whether they were a couple in the mid-nineties.
“It’s just like any piece of gossip and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean?” he said. “Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease – then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus.”
This isn’t the first time that Damon’s mouth has (presumably unintentionally) run away with him. He faced criticism earlier this month after he appeared to suggest Project Greenlight judges should not take diversity into consideration while carrying out their professional duties.
Some US websites, in particular, were heavily critical of the faux pas and said that the Oscar-nominated actor should be using the topic of homosexuality to increase awareness of the need for diversity in Hollywood.
What are your thoughts on Damon’s comments? In a digital age where almost everything is liable to get taken out of context, are people simply overreacting? Or should the actor have known that his words (on what could be deemed a sensitive topic), might have caused offence?
Via The Guardian