Update (17/09/2015): Earlier this week, the hashtag #damonsplaining started trending on Twitter after Matt Damon interrupted successful black woman Effie Brown to explain diversity to her (full story below). Now, Matt has released a sorry-not-sorry apology and it goes a little something like this:

‘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.’

I agree that the one good thing about this face-palm situation is that it brought the spotlight onto diversity in Hollywood, but the fact remains that it shouldn’t have happened at all. At the very least, Matt’s words warrant an apology where he takes ownership of his actions.

Have you seen the hashtag #damonsplaining but don’t know what it’s about? Let us fill you in.

Last night (14 September 2015) Matt Damon and Ben Affleck premiered the fourth season of Project Greenlight; their reality behind-the-scenes-movie-making series in which they give novice filmmakers the chance to make a movie. In this episode, the finalists are judged by a panel of producers and then flown to LA to meet them.

Effie Brown, one of the producers of the show, was enlisted to help choose the finalist. Effie is an award-winning producer of 17 feature films – most notably (and perhaps ironically?) the movie Dear White People.

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During the episode, Effie brings up the fact that the only black character in the film being judged is a prostitute (who gets slapped by her white pimp) which obviously has stereotypical connotations. She goes on to express that perhaps there should be more people of colour in the film crew to combat film characters appearing as negative, outdated movie stereotypes. Valid point Effie. But before she could really get to it, Matt interrupts saying, actually (oh no), the directing teams brought up the same issue about the prostitute character that Effie is raising. When Effie replies that this is ‘not necessarily true,’ he once again interrupts her to explain what diversity really is.

Are you ready?

‘When we’re talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film not in the casting of the show.’ Meaning that, diversity is only taken into account on screen and is not necessary behind it (i.e in the filmmaking crew).

With this sentence, we can only deduce that Matt Damon is saying that diversity in films is achieved by simply hiring people of colour, not actually letting them make the films themselves.

The scene in Greenlight

https://twitter.com/Afripopmag

‘Ooh. Wow. Ok,’ says Effie Brown.

Cue: awkward silence.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Matt later says that by focusing on diversity in filmmaking, you are undermining the integrity of the film. More so, that the only factor that should be considered is ‘merit’. Because the only talented and creative filmmakers just happen to be white males, right? 

We’re just gonna leave this over here.

 

 

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