Twitter’s Latest Dragging Features Matt Damon and #Damonsplaining

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being on Twitter and from having a website, it’s always making sure that you think twice (and perhaps three times or more) about what you’re about to say and who you’re about to say it to. If, for any reason, you feel you shouldn’t say something and can, perhaps, learn something from someone else, then take the opportunity to learn, however uncomfortable that moment might be. Matt Damon didn’t take the hint during the latest episode of Project Greenlight. 

During the premiere of the fourth season, Effie Brown, part of the producing team of Dear White People, and part of the team of film big wigs tasked with overseeing the film of a first-time filmmaker, brought up a salient point about the first-timer script at hand including a black prostitute who gets hit by her white pimp. Clearly, there are many ramifications involved as to how this could be a problematic character, both in terms of how the actress might be asked to play the character and how the character’s lines could be interpreted by a director. She brought up these points (being the only black person or person of color period in the room) and that’s when Damon decided it was pertinent to “well, actually” her into silence.

He ends his declaration of “well, actually” with the fact that only the film has to be cast with diversity in mind, not the people behind the scenes. So, Brown’s point about being aware of who was directing the film? Not important. Why would we need a black director to properly interpret a potentially problematic black character through a racially sensitive light when we have tons of white directors who could do the same job?

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“But a white person could be sensitive!” someone might be saying out there. “Damon’s right; it’s not all about race all the time!” Well, person, let me put it to you this way. Sure, there are plenty of white directors who might be sensitive to the fact that telling a very niche black experience like being a prostitute needs to be handled with care. I give Steven Spielberg credit in how he handled The Color Purple. I believe that he still got some flack from some of the black media and moviegoers simply because he was a white director taking on a popular novel about black characters written by a black woman. But his handling of the work was impressive, and, as far as I can remember from my last viewing, lacked true racial bias. In short, he did well. 

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean it’s always right to hire a white director simply because there’s more of them in Hollywood. One has to examine why there’s more of them in Hollywood in the first place; it’s not because they’re better at filmmaking or interpreting characterization (there are plenty out there who make big bucks but suck at it). It’s because the system supports them and allows them to fill the slots they’ve got. It might not be an out-and-out racist system (she says with her tongue in her cheek), but it it’s definitely a biased system against people of different races, genders, and sexualities. I bring this up because, according to Jezebel, Damon makes a later assumption about how casting and hiring in Hollywood should be about merit. To quote the writer, Kara Brown:

In a later interview, Matt Damon says, “I’m glad Effie flagged the issue of diversity for all of us.” Then he spits the same tired rhetoric about how if they worry too much about hiring diverse filmmakers, the’ll undermine the integrity of the entire project. The only factor they should be considering is merit, leaving “all other factors out if it.” Obviously this is correct because we all know the only reason Hollywood is dominated by white men is because white men are the only creative people on Earth who know how to make films real, real good.

Sigh, Matt Damon. Big sigh. But also big laughs, because Twitter never fails when it’s dragging someone for a good reason. Hence, “Matt Damon” becoming a trending Twitter topic and the birth of #Damonsplaining. Here are some gems:

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Also, credit for #Damonsplaining goes to:

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I’ll bet you that Damon’s apology will be up between tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Especially since it’s not just Jezebel talking about it, but other major outlets, like Slate, Complex, Vox, Global Grind, The Mary Sue, and I’m sure, many more once other outlets start picking up on the story. What do you think about Matt Damon and #Damonsplaining? Write about it below!

UPDATE: The apology came a little later than I was expecting, but it still came! Here’s what he said:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsHis apology, however, isn’t the most gracious thing in the world. Mostly, it seems like he’s just trying to save face/preserve his ego and/or original position as best he can while appearing contrite and thoughtful. People have started reading him on his non-apology:

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAs Jamie from Black Girl Nerds tweeted:

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Write your thoughts on the apology below!

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One thought on “Twitter’s Latest Dragging Features Matt Damon and #Damonsplaining”

  1. I really hate that “merit” argument that White people like to use as their excuse for thoughtlessness, laziness and their inability to consider that anyone on the planet whose not White, isn’t necessary.

    Because that’s what their argument sounds like. Like if you add any marginalized people to your project, you will automatically bring down its quality.

    Also pointing out the Matt Damon makes some of the Whitest movies in Hollywood. So yeah, he got dat diversity thing down.

    Like

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