Matt Damon was widely slammed this week for interrupting African-American filmmaker Effie Brown on “Project Greenlight” when he explained diversity to her.
The new season of “Project Greenlight” got off to a rocky start when the show’s producers, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck invited Effie Brown to discuss finding a director for a film about a white man who falls in love with a black prostitute. When Brown raised concerns about the fact that there was only one black character in the film who happened to be a hooker and suggested that the film could benefit from a diverse directing team, Matt Damon interrupted before she could finish her sentence and told her what diversity was.
“When we talk about diversity we do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.” Brown appeared stunned when Damon apparently cut her off. She couldn’t get a word in and said, “Wow, ok.”
Matt Damon was universally panned by people who watched the exchange and many news outlets felt that the way he had explained diversity was quite out of touch. Some called it “Matt Damon whitesplaining diversity to a successful black filmmaker,” while even his fans considered his opinion about behind-the-scenes diversity “too white.”
Diversity remains a key topic of debate in the film industry with a lack of roles in front and behind the camera for minority groups and women. Damon’s comments this week have only enshrined the view that Hollywood is out of touch with reality and needs to understand that the lack of diversity affects people working in all departments of a film’s production not just on-screen talent.