Damon controversially argued that diversity should be most importantly felt in "the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show."
But his statement, released on TMZ Thursday morning, seemed to attempt to clarify his remarks and apologize for the offense.
"I believe deeply that there [need] to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I want every young person watching Project Greenlight to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too," Damon explained. "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."
Rather than take his apology with grace and move on, however, now the critics are screaming that Matt Damon is taking credit for starting the diversity conversation in Hollywood.
Which, clearly, wasn't what he was trying to say at all with his last sentence.
I'm convinced he is very aware of the importance of the conversation and its ongoing prevalence in the community. What I'm sure Damon meant was just that this incident fueled the continuation of the discussion, which should always be an important part of the way we look at what films are being made and why.
Reading into Damon's statement and drawing conclusions from it that are clearly just trying to take his apology and turn it in to something ugly and untrue is just downright mean. And it makes those critics even worse than Damon, who is trying to do right by saying he simply misspoke and was taken out of context.
Unfortunately, Damon's situation is far from an isolated incident as of late. We seem to live in a society that loves to nitpick at everything that everyone in the spotlight says. Emily Blunt comments on the GOP debate and we're all up in arms because she's British. Stephen Amell defends Texas after a teen was controversially arrested and suddenly he's alienated from peoples' worlds. Jessica Simpson brags about her hubby and is branded as insecure.
And those are all just examples from the past few days.
Tomorrow, we will have forgotten all about Damon's ill-thought-out remarks and be on to the next scandal of some poor celebrity who said something incorrectly that he or she didn't ever intend to be offensive.
How long can this go on? It honestly just makes me feel exhausted. And sad that we live in a society in which, as intrinsically imperfect humans, we are no longer allowed to make mistakes — even though they're inevitable — without a barrage of hate haunting us.
We're all human. We are all going to make mistakes. Really stupid ones. And then we apologize, learn from them and move on. Most of us, however, are just extremely lucky that our mistakes don't live to haunt us forever on the Internet. Those in the spotlight deserve the same respect.
I'm absolutely not suggesting that we stop the diversity conversations. Just the opposite. They are an extremely important and vital part of making our world a better place. But there is a difference between furthering a discussion in a productive way and beating someone down.
Think twice before you bash someone online. Consider their intentions. Were they really saying these things because they wanted to be an ignorant, hateful human? Very rarely is the answer to that question "yes." And very rarely are people trying to not do good in this world.
Damon is clearly among the good guys trying to make the world a better place. Cut him some slack. Focus on making your own actions in kindness rather than pointing the finger at others. And when the inevitable slip-up happens in your life, apologize, move forward and pray you don't get the same hurtful response Damon received.
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