You know what they say: You can take the Masshole out of Boston, but you can’t take the Boston out of the Masshole. In an interview with the U.K.’s Sunday Times today, 50-year-old, Harvard-educated, Academy Award winner Matt Damon admitted that he only recently retired use of what he calls “the f-slur for a homosexual” from his personal lexicon. Not only that, but it took a “very long” treatise written by his daughter for him to realize why maybe he shouldn’t be tossing it around. He said, “I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter. She left the table. I said, ‘Come on, that’s a joke! I say it in the movie Stuck on You!’ She went to her room and wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous. I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.”
The Times writer himself prefaces this story by writing, “Damon launches into exactly the sort of anecdote people make headlines about,” so maybe we’re just playing into Damon’s hand here. But we wonder what Damon thought he would gain by telling a story that tries to paint himself as a self-effacing father trying to keep up with the times, when the content of said story is about his use up until mere “months” ago of a homophobic slur in casual jokes with his children, and how it took convincing for him to cut it out. It stings especially bad coming from a straight actor who has taken on queer roles in films like Behind the Candelabra and (it’s unspoken, but come on, it’s Patricia Highsmith) The Talented Mr. Ripley. Damon says the slur “was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,” but a whole lot of dumb shit was commonly used when you were a child 50 years ago, Matt Damon. We don’t see you walking around smoking cigars in hospital maternity wards and throwing lawn darts at kids’ birthdays.
Update August 2, 8:00 p.m.: Damon is now claiming that he has never used the “f-slur,” actually, in a statement to Variety. “During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualize for her the progress that has been made – though by no means completed – since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word ‘f*g’ used on the street before I knew what it even referred to,” Damon said in his statement on Monday. “I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003; she in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly.” Damon goes on to emphatically claim, “I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening. I do not use slurs of any kind.”