Matt Damon has backpedaled on a story he told about "retiring" the use of the derogatory homophobic slur f****t after his use of the word made his daughter leave the dinner table.
The Hollywood star gave a statement to Variety after his comments from his Sunday Times interview went viral, insisting that he "does not use slurs of any kind" and "stands with the LGBTQ+ community".
Damon said he "understood why his statement led many to assume the worst'', however, although he blamed that on the "open hostility" against the LGBTQ+ community that remained common in 2021.
Speaking with The Times, Damon said: "The word that my daughter calls the 'f-slur for a homosexual' was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application.
"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!'" he added, referencing the 2003 film in which Damon and Greg Kinnear play conjoined twins.
"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."
Now, Damon is claiming he was simply "attempting to contextualise" for his daughter "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."
"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," he continued.
"She in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly. To my admiration and pride, she was extremely articulate about the extent to which that word would have been painful to someone in the LGBTQ+ community regardless of how culturally normalised it was. I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice."
Damon said he had "never" called anyone f****t in his personal life and insisted the conversation with his daughter was "not a personal awakening".
"I do not use slurs of any kind," he added.
"I have learned that eradicating prejudice requires active movement toward justice rather than finding passive comfort in imagining myself 'one of the good guys'. And given that open hostility against the LGBTQ+ community is still not uncommon, I understand why my statement led many to assume the worst. To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community."
Damon's 'clarification' was too little, too late for many online commentators who were convinced the statement was engineered by his PR team to save face.
"Uh oh, someone's experiencing consequences," one tweet read.
"Ah, it's a classic he-said-he-said. Except both 'he's are Matt Damon," said another.
"Either he changed his story after he got in trouble or... Yeah, he changed his story after he got in trouble. Class act."