Matt Damon Says His Comments About Gay Actors Were Mischaracterized Online

"It is painful when things get said that you don’t believe."
Danny Martindale via Getty Images

Anyone who kept up with Matt Damon's public shaming on Monday should have anticipated the inevitable apology that would follow. And here it is.

While filming an "Ellen" interview that will air Tuesday, Damon clarified his remarks on gay actors, which were met with controversy.

“I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery. Right?” he told Ellen DeGeneres. "And somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. Which is, like, I mean, it’s stupid, but it is painful when things get said that you don’t believe. You know what I mean? And then it gets represented that that's what you believe. Because in the blogosphere, there's no penalty for just taking the ball and running with it."

Damon's defense comes in response to a Guardian interview published on Sunday in which the actor commented on gay rumors surrounding him and Ben Affleck when they first became famous for writing "Good Will Hunting."

“I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly,” he said. “But in terms of actors, I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you, period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”

The Internet lit up, pointing out the inherent privilege that Damon boasts as a heterosexual actor who frequently discusses his wife and kids in interviews. Some headlines took it a step further by asserting that Damon implied gay actors should stay in the closet. DeGeneres defended him on her show, saying,“I know you and I know you’re not that guy.”

But Damon was an easy target by the time his comments began to circulate on Monday. A little over a week ago, he was apologizing for remarks he made on his and Affleck's recently revived HBO show, "Project Greenlight," in which an aspiring filmmaker is shepherded through the process of making a feature. During a discussion with an African-American female producer who suggested that "Greenlight" could benefit from more diverse talent working behind the scenes, Damon said, "When we're talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show." Cue the hashtag #Damonsplaining and a subsequent clarification of his comments.

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