Matt Damon is apologizing for his contentious remarks about “retiring” his usage of the homophobic “F-word.”
The 50-year-old actor stated in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Monday that “I have never called someone an ‘f—t’ in my personal life,” and that “I do not use slurs of any type.”
Damon’s interview with the Sunday Times in the United Kingdom sparked a stir over the weekend when he said that one of his daughters had taught him why using the “f-word for gays” is “hazardous.”
He told the publication that he “made a joke months ago and had a treatise from my daughter.”
“She walked away from the table. ‘Come on, that’s a joke!’ I said. It’s something I say in the movie Stuck on You!'” In the interview, Damon stated. “She went to her room and wrote a long, beautiful essay about how terrible that word is. I understood when I stated, ‘I retire the f-slur!'”
Damon didn’t say which daughter he spoke with during the discussion (the star shares daughters Stella, 10, Gia, 12, Isabella, 15, and Alexia, 22, with wife Luciana Barroso). “This chat with my daughter was not a personal epiphany,” he stated in a statement released on Monday.
He then went on to describe his interaction with his daughter.
“During a recent interview, I recalled a conversation I had with my daughter in which I tried to contextualize for her the progress that has been made — though by no means complete — since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word ‘f—’ used on the street before I even knew what it meant,” the actor said. “I stated that that word was frequently and casually used and that it was even a line of dialogue in one of my films [Stuck on You!] in 2003. She, in turn, expressed her skepticism that such a term could have been used casually in the past.”
Damon expressed his pride in his daughter.
“To my amazement and pride, she was incredibly clear about the level to which that word, regardless of how culturally mainstream it was, would have been devastating to someone in the LGBTQ+ community,” Damon added. “I not only agreed with her, but I was enthralled by her commitment to social justice, principles, and goals.”
He concluded by stating that he is a supporter of the LGBTQ community.
“I’ve discovered that removing prejudice necessitates active activity toward justice rather than passive comfort in believing oneself as ‘one of the good guys,'” Damon remarked. “And, given the prevalence of open antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community, I understand why my statement prompted many to fear the worse.”
“To be as explicit as possible, I support the LGBTQ+ community,” the Oscar winner stated.
GLAAD’s Head of Talent Anthony Allen Ramos also issued a statement on Monday in response to Damon’s remarks.
“The conversations that have ensued in the aftermath of Matt Damon’s original interview and subsequent remarks today are an important reminder that this word, or any other word that seeks to disparage and disrespect LGBTQ people, has no place in mainstream media, social media, classrooms, workplaces, or beyond,” Ramos said. “At a time when anti-LGBTQ slurs are still common and can feed prejudice and stereotypes, especially when used by individuals outside the LGBTQ community to defame or characterize LGBTQ persons, there needs to be responsive.”