Matt Damon Blames ‘The Great Wall’ Whitewashing Claims on Clickbait Articles

Matt Damon The Great Wall
Universal

Matt Damon defended his casting in “The Great Wall” against whitewashing accusations by blaming the era of clickbait and fake news in an interview with the Associated Press published Tuesday.

“It suddenly becomes a story because people click on it, versus the traditional ways that a story would get vetted before it would get to that point,” Damon said.

After footage from the film was released showing Damon leading a Chinese army into battle on the titular Great Wall, the actor received widespread criticism including from “Fresh Off the Boat” actress Constance Wu.

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Matt Damon The Great Wall

Constance Wu Slams Matt Damon Casting in ‘The Great Wall’: It Perpetuates a ‘Racist Myth’

“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth [that only] a white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact. Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon,” she wrote.

Damon said the term “whitewashing,” to him, applies to the older definition of a white actor wearing makeup to make himself appear to be of a different race. He cited the example of the 1962 film “Geronimo,” in which Irish-American actor Chuck Connors played the titular Native-American Apache chief.

“The whole idea of whitewashing, I take that very seriously,” Damon said.

The movie itself  — the first in the English language by legendary director Zhang Yimou — is Damon’s first foray into Asian cinema and represents the biggest Hollywood-Chinese co-production to date.

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  1. TJ says:

    Americans — Asians, Hispanic, whatever — have proven over and over that they expect the world to conform to their standards. It’s cringeworthy and embarrassing to see them overseas. Constance Wu. Right, has she even set foot in Asia over a year at a time? Doubtful. If she did, she wouldn’t have made such a comment. The world doesn’t operate according to the American standard. Period. Only brainwashed Americans who believe in their self-righteous exceptionalism spread this kind of toxic divisiveness around the world. It’s ironic that the Asians in the US, who claim wholeheartedly to connect so well with Asia, actually have no clue what actual people from Asia think.

    Source: I am Asian and lived in Asia for 7+ years, and have seen countless times eyes roll when a loud mouth, first time abroad Asian American starts going off on “race” and other BS American agenda…as other people slowly clear out the room in annoyance. Any American to see such a sight would be embarrassed and slowly creep away. They may be ‘heroes’ in the US, but the rest of the world despises them, as the one’s who can’t adapt and realize they aren’t the saviors of the world all quickly move back home cause they can’t hack it otherwise. It’s cringeworthiness at its finest, the amount of ignorance and naivety of one’s own culture, spearheaded by a movement back home that encourages them with BS rhetoric. CHINESE do not equal CHINESE AMERICANS. Very, very very very different. Americans need to stop this toxic exceptionalism in any shape or form.

  2. targo76 says:

    There is no evidence that says that this isn’t the movie the director wanted to make. In a time when people are happy to segregate again, I think it’s a good thing to marry Hong Kong and Hollywood cinema. And the term “whitewashing” means to make something white, not just white dude in an ethnic movie. You strip the term of its gravity when it’s overused. another thing, isn’t it racist in itself to assume a Chinese movie company would allow themselves to be bullied by white people, like they are not strong enough to do what is right? I think we are dealing with all adults here who are setting out to make the art they attended to make. Everyone is going by a commercial and not the finished product, couldn’t people wait to attack the finished product (if it needs it). Hell, Damon could die 30 minutes in and everything is rendered moot.If this were a historical movie about the construction of the Great Wall and Damon played a white dude teaching people to build walls, yeah we got a problem. But in this case it’s a fantasy/sci-fi movie…

  3. iamtrue2bill says:

    I am for diversity in all aspects of life. However, I don’t see this as a simple “right or wrong” issue. If a studio wants to hire a big name actor to head their film, then it is not the actor’s fault for accepting the work.
    It is in the casting agents’ and the producers’ purview to make diverse casting choices. If Matt Damon turned down the role they would have hired another big name, Hiddleston or the like.

  4. thomaspearl0 says:

    But can someone explain exactly how this is whitewashing? Like exactly how.

  5. PammieJR says:

    The first (and the only times) I’ve heard about this movie was in the trailers in the movie. The plot…looked really amazing…except for the two white guys that apparently had to come and save the day, because all those amazing skilled Chinese warriors (men and women!) were not good enough to handle whatever demons/monsters are at The Great Wall. I’m insulted by it, and I’m white!

    • TJ says:

      Exactly. You’re white. More succinctly, you’re American and have been brainwashed to constantly scope out ‘racial’ issues and report it. You’ve been conditioned through years of narratives and a relentless force of media to constantly point out differences and divide in the name of agitation and ratings. Chinese people aren’t so full of themselves and view life in a much simpler context, not so over-analytical like bored Americans who bathe in privilege and self promotion. They’re just happy to see a fun flick and happy that a place like the US is giving China more and more attention. I don’t know many Asians with a head on their shoulders who would actually see this as an issue. Only a confused, entitled, self-righteous American in 2016, plain and simple. The outside world doesn’t want this constant divisive American race bs shoved down their throat. We actually get along just fine with out you. Oh…yeah…I’m Asian. Soo….tell me about your white offendedness again?

  6. Meanwhile he goes around promoting known sexual assaulter Casey Affleck’s new flick. Yeah, he really cares about minorities and women.

  7. billetdoux says:

    It’s not white washing cause…Damon says so..he has a big enough mouth bashing others, but can’t take the heat when he’s caught.

    • TJ says:

      He’s just a guy trying to make good movies. It’s actually that simple. He’s a really smart and nice guy. Only someone with a severe lack of personal esteem would try to spite someone successful like Matt in the name of race. There’s no heat or “getting caught”. With what? Acting in a film, aka his profession? How pompous of anyone to you think you are “saving” anyone else. No one thinks you are saving them. You immediately assume the top position as ‘savior’ which in turns reveals your true bias — that you think that white people are better than other people. China if anything is saving Matt’s career in that they are expanding his int’l credentials. He’s a famous actor making films and has brand power.

      Film makers aren’t sitting around like you constantly thinking about “race” and “inclusion” like children in recess. They’re trying to make good films that people enjoy, and expand their market reach and capabilities. Period. You should try that and maybe actually find yourself becoming successful, assuming you are an ‘offended American’.

      I weep for Americans, you guys are all in for a rude, rude awakening in the next coming decades. Really clueless how stuff is working outside your borders — ps, it’s not in your favor. I honestly don’t know how people are going to handle it. Where the outside world thinks on national terms, Americans think on racial terms. Such self-defeating twats.

      • oatsuzn says:

        Wow, are you Matt Damon? lol

        No but really, you claim the Chinese people don’t see race? hmm funny, didn’t seem that way when I visited a month ago(I’m neither Asian or White). But even if your statement was true, it’d be understandable with a country that is 99% ethnically Chinese. A country without a diverse people will be forced to find another set of issues(economical, political, regional etc).

        I think you have a very self inferior attitude with a bit of naivete to think Hollywood isn’t trying to promote their ongoing underlying theme of White supremacy with ‘Great Wall’. If you personally don’t care, then that’s great but don’t be mislead in ignorance. ‘Great Wall’ is basically the same old Hollywood narrative – a group of people faced with a problem that they can not fix until the good ole civilized White man comes to help. SMH wake up. Your comments bred of self defeatism. “Thank you, oh great Hollywood for even considering us lowly Chinese people as worthy of your great White actors”. You sound pathetic.

  8. Hey, he’s Caucasian. Isn’t that Asian enough?

  9. Edward Hong says:

    Your comment is so very rich with irony

    • Tristan Sicinski says:

      I’m of Polish descent (but 3rd generation American) and I do believe the movie is a bit off by having a white guy save China. If it was the other way around, there would be a large outcry. Imagine America was being attacked by aliens and nobody could do anything until Jackie Chan or Jet Li come in and save everyone. People would say that’s silly and Americans can protect themselves. Regardless of the genre (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) people here are missing the point.

      They got Matt Damon because of his star power and movie selling ability – sure I get that. But the real question is why he has that star power. Why are all the biggest stars in Hollywood white men? Sure you’ll argue that there are many minorities that are stars but the biggest are always white men. There’s Will Smith, Denzel, Morgan Freeman, etc but are they on the same level as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, etc? I wouldn’t think so and usually their pay is reflective of this as even white women don’t get paid as much as their male counterparts. So I don’t blame the actors themselves for taking these roles but I do blame Hollywood for promoting the white men more than the minorities. However, I’m white and if they’d ever pay me $20m to make a movie about anything I’d do it lol.

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