Matt Damon says the recent cultural shift has taught him to "shut the f*** up more" — including "retiring" a homophobic slur from his vocabulary.
In a new interview with the Sunday Times, the Oscar winner, 50, admits he stopped using what he called the "f-slur" after one of the four daughters he shares with wife Luciana protested.
“The word that my daughter calls the ‘f-slur for a homosexual’ was commonly used when I was a kid, with a different application,” Damon told the U.K. newspaper. “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!’ 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.”
Damon also reflected on other controversial remarks he's made. Amid the rise of the #MeToo movement, the Good Will Hunting actor made comments regarding the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the former film producer who helped catapult Damon to stardom and is now serving a 23-year prison sentence. In 2017, Damon said, “As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night," which prompting swift criticism. Now, he sees why every person should be horrified by Weinstein's actions, not just fathers.
“I understand,” he said, referring to the backlash he received. “It’s a fair point. Anybody should be offended by that behavior.”
Recognizing the changing shape of media and how quickly his public comments can be turned into headlines, Damon also said that “20 years ago, the best way I can put it is that the journalist listened to the music more than the lyrics [of an interview]. Now your lyrics are getting parsed, to pull them out of context and get the best headline possible. Everyone needs clicks."
The Stillwater star — whose new film has been called out by Amanda Knox for taking liberties with her personal trauma — told the publication that the increased media scrutiny has made him more careful with his words.
"Before it didn’t really matter what I said, because it didn’t make the news," said Damon. "But maybe this shift is a good thing. So I shut the f*** up more.”
Recently, Damon spoke about the relationship he shares with his daughters. In an interview last month with CBS Sunday Morning, he explained that his children are some of his strongest critics. For example, his 15-year-old daughter, Isabella, doesn't want to see her dad in Good Will Hunting, the 1997 film that skyrocketed him to international stardom.
"She doesn't want to see any movies that I'm in that might be good. She just likes to give me shit," said Damon, Yahoo Life previously reported. "My daughter said, 'Hey remember that movie you did, The Wall?' I said, 'It was called The Great Wall.' She goes, 'Dad, there was nothing great about that movie.' She keeps my feet firmly on the ground."