Matt Damon is catching major shade from the media after the Season 4 premiere of “Project Greenlight” on HBO. A clip from the series shows Damon trying to school a successful black woman producer on diversity, and the Internet was not having it
Project Greenlight gives promising filmmakers the opportunity to direct a feature film. The team of producers, which Damon is a part of, decides which filmmakers will be attached to which film. This particular episode involved a comedy with a black female lead, Harmony, who is a prostitute. While deciding who should direct the movie, successful black filmmaker Effie Brown spoke up about choosing diverse filmmakers who would understand the need to pay special attention to the diversity of the film. “I would want to urge people to think about—whoever this director is, how they’re going to treat the character of Harmony,” Brown stated, “the only black character who’s a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp.” This is where Damon seemingly loses his white liberal mind. Damon interrupts Brown to say, “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”
Check out the clip below of Matt Damon acting as the resident expert on racial diversity
The clip of this exchange began circulating around social media immediately after the show aired. Of course Black Twitter chimed in, mixing humor with critical analysis about diversity and race. It was only a matter of time before a hashtag popped up. #Damonsplaining, was used to call out Matt Damon’s white privilege and poke fun at the fact that he thinks he knows more about diversity than a Black woman
Damon’s statements themselves show his lack of knowledge about diversity in the film industry. It must be nice to be so privileged that you don’t have to consider the lack of representation of your race or gender in your field. Damon clearly doesn’t know that minority filmmakers are severely underrepresented in the industry. What’s even more offensive is that rather than take a moment to listen to the only Black person in the room when racial diversity comes up, he decided to monopolize the conversation and explain away his ignorance instead
The whole situation made us all heated, and of course Damon was way out of line, but are we really surprised? How many times has Damon co-starred alongside a minority lead? How many black directors or producers has Damon collaborated with? How many black people were in the Bourne series, again? It might be time for Damon to pull out at least one token black friend from the woodworks to help his case if he wants to act like the authority on racial diversity. Given his history (or lack thereof) with diversity in film, what we got from Matt Damon is to be expected
But what about Effie Brown? She’s the victim in this whole ordeal. We’ve seen a lot of valid criticism of Matt Damon, but what are we doing to uplift and acknowledge Brown, whose choice of director wasn’t chosen on the show, and who is the only black person and the only woman cast member currently on the series. Brown’s situation is all too common not just in the film industry, but in most industries where black people are underrepresented. A black woman silenced by a white man isn’t exactly a rare exchange. I’m interested in criticizing the silencer (we see you Matt Damon), but I’m even more interested in making sure women like Effie Brown are heard and supported amidst their struggles in their industries. All that being said, Effie, we have your back!
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