Matt Damon Lectures Effie Brown on Diversity-Proof of White Privilege?
Matt Damon got involved with Project Greenlight hoping to give aspiring filmmakers a shot at directing their first feature film but now his involvement is raising questions over whether or not he is an example of white privilege. Diversity, or the lack thereof, has been a hot topic in Hollywood recently with many calling for more diversity. Now Damon has stepped into it when he interrupted veteran producer Effie Brown to state that he believes merit is more important than diversity. Racist? White privilege? Or was his comment misunderstood?
Damon’s comments came during a panel on Project Greenlight in which even the panel is being criticized as “too white.” Effie Brown, the panel’s only African American member, expressed concern over the treatment of a prostitute in the film being made. She wanted to avoid stereotypes and called on the directing team to show compassion to the character.
Damon argued that a less diverse crew raised the same concerns to which she attempted to explain only to be interrupted by Damon again.
She appeared shocked by his interjection. According to Damon:
When we’re talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.
Though clearly she did not think it was ok highlighting just how deep a divide there is in this country according to race. Damon is known for his liberal views and is hardly the face of someone who is racist though his comments are being used as an example of someone who just doesn’t get it, and an example of white privilege.
Of course the Twitterverse exploded and Damon earned his own hashtag #Damonsplaining in which people sent out various Tweets. Some mocked him. Others were clearly angry over what they perceived as his lack of understanding towards the issue of diversity in films.
Damon explained later in the episode that “filmmaking should throw out a brouder net,” while explaining the purpose of Project Greenlight is, “about giving somebody this job based entirely on merit.”
What do you think about Matt Damon’s comments? Were they an example of white privilege or just part of a deeper conversation that needs to be continued? Let us know what you think here at Haveuheard.