"I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation," the Academy Award winner said in a statement to The Wrap.
In the episode that aired on Sunday, Sept. 13, The Martian star, 44, had a heated discussion with producer Effie Brown about the importance of diversity in Hollywood.
Brown was explaining that the only black character in the film they were talking about green lighting on the show is a prostitute who gets beaten by her pimp, and she urged the all-white creative team to make sure that the character wasn't a racist stereotype.
Damon repeatedly interrupted Brown and talked over her. "When we're talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show," Damon said.
The clip circulated online and the actor and producer received a tidal wave of backlash on social media.
"I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies," Damon said in his statement. "I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching Project Greenlight to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too.”
"My 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," he continued, adding that diversity in Hollywood "is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having."
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