Matt Damon’s comments on sexuality landed him in hot water.
In a new interview with the Guardian, The Martian star seemed to imply that gay actors were better off staying in the closet.
Discussing his role starring as Liberace’s lover in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, Damon was asked point-blank if it’s harder for actors to be openly gay in Hollywood. “I’m sure,” he replied. “When Ben and I first came on the scene there were rumors that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together.”
The gossip, he added “put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like (imply) it’s some sort of disease – then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy – more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor – it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out.”
Damon added that he thinks all actors are better off keeping quiet about their love lives, despite changing attitudes on gay marriage.
“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.”
Twitter soon began pushing back against his comments, and outlets like Complex magazine jumped on a double standard, pointing out that Damon freely mentioned his wife and children in the interview.
Damon recently apologized after interrupting a an African-American producer on his show, Project Greenlight, to explain (or “Damonsplain,” as Twitter dubbed it) diversity in the film industry.
Update: “I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery, right? ” Damon said on Monday while visiting The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “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.”