Project Greenlight's Effie Brown: Matt Damon Never Called Me After Diversity Comment

Project Greenlight's Effie Brown: Matt Damon Never Called Me After Diversity Comment

The producer says things are not exactly cool between them.

Published October 8, 2015

Though she was already one of the most coveted independent film producers in the business, Effie Brown became a household name last month after having an argument about diversity in Hollywood with Matt Damon on Project Greenlight. The A-list actor faced major backlash for "whitesplaining" the issue to Brown, a Black woman and veteran producer, and had to publicly apologize for his remarks.

Well, according to Brown, Damon may have apologized to the world, but has yet to contact her personally about the gaffe.

On Sunday, during a New York Film Festival panel on diversity in Hollywood, Brown said that while grateful for her experience on the HBO reality show, she’s hurt that Damon hasn’t reached out to her. “I haven’t heard a goddamned thing,” she says. “Starting the show, he was one of the people I was super excited to be with. He’s so smart, very thoughtful, a super cool guy — and then to just be like, ‘Wow, you must think I’m the f**king devil.’ I have a feeling it’s because I’m a little too ‘in strength.'”

Damon said his comments “were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight, which did not make the show,” but Brown says the truth is, what we saw was the "nice cut" of their heated discussion.

She adds that she “totally disagreed with what was said” on the episode, when Damon said that diversity should be a priority in front of the camera, but not behind it, but backed off for fear of her career. 

“To be real about it, I couldn’t go head on against the biggest movie star in the world,” she added. “I want to work again. I’m a ballsy chick, but he has the number one movie in the country and will probably win an Oscar. I’m trying to pay my mortgage so Chase doesn’t take it. That’s where I’m coming from.”

Still, Brown said the support she received on social media, and the broader conversation the episode sparked, made it all worth it. “I really thought I was alone with that whole diversity comment,” she said. “I was like maybe Black Twitter will get it. What is so great is that it grew – there was an immediate call and response. It was quickly acknowledged that this was no longer OK.”

Thankfully, there are folks like Brown, Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay and others to actively combat Hollywood's white male bias. Watch the Selma director talk about redefining the film industry's "normal," below:

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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sundance)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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