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Matt Damon has reportedly denied using the homophobic “F-slur” in his personal life and says he stands with the LGBTQ+ community following a backlash to comments he made in a recent interview.

The Hollywood actor, who is currently starring in the film Stillwater, has faced criticism after saying the word was “commonly used” when he was younger and that when he repeated a “joke” made in his 2003 film Stuck On You in front of his daughter, she wrote about “how that word is dangerous”.

After coming under fire on social media, Damon released a statement clarifying his comments to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety in the US, saying he does not use “slurs of any kind” and the conversation he was referring to “was not a personal awakening” but rather a discussion about how times have changed.

Matt Damon stars as Bill in Stillwater. Pic: Focus Features
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Matt Damon stars as Bill in Stillwater. Pic: Focus Features

“During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualise for her the progress that has been made – though by no means completed – since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word ‘f*g’ used on the street before I knew what it even referred to,” he said.

“I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003; she in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly.”

Damon said that to his “admiration and pride”, his daughter was “extremely articulate about the extent to which that word would have been painful to someone in the LGBTQ+ community regardless of how culturally normalised it was”.

The star said he “not only agreed with her but [was] thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice”.

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He continued: “I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening. I do not use slurs of any kind.

“I have learned that eradicating prejudice requires active movement toward justice rather than finding passive comfort in imagining myself ‘one of the good guys.’ And given that open hostility against the LGBTQ+ community is still not uncommon, I understand why my statement led many to assume the worst.

“To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Damon’s ‘roughneck’ empathy in Stillwater

Among those criticising the 50-year-old for still using the term up until a few months ago was actor and comedian Billy Eichner, who wrote: “I want to know what word Matt Damon has replaced f***** with.”

Travon Free, another US comedian, added: “So Matt Damon just figured out ‘months ago’, by way of a “treatise” from a child, that he’s not supposed to say the word f*****. Months ago. Months ago.”

Damon’s new film Stillwater sees the star playing a father who flies to France to help his estranged daughter, who has been convicted and imprisoned for murdering her girlfriend in a case that has generated lurid headlines – a story inspired by the conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy.

Knox has claimed the film sensationalises her life and rips off her story “without her consent” and “at the expense of her reputation”.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Wagatha Christie: Are high-profile lawsuits really worth it for celebs?

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Wagatha Christie: Are high-profile lawsuits really worth it for celebs?

Gwyneth Paltrow consciously uncoupled from ordinary life years ago.

In the era of celebrity relatability, with once mysterious A-listers now sharing everything from breakfast to breakdowns on social media, she is one star completely comfortable with the world knowing she exists on a higher plane of bone broth, vagina candles, and $8,000-a-day skiing lessons.

Facing a lawsuit, many A-listers might simply choose to pay-up, regardless of whodunnit, rather than go through the rigmarole of a potentially reputation-damaging court case. But the Oscar-winner turned wellness guru is not one of them.

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The Gwyneth Paltrow court case in six minutes

The internet has been flooded with Paltrow in the last two weeks, as her high-profile legal fight played out on camera. This all started with a skiing accident involving a retired optometrist in Utah in 2016, and somehow ended in global headlines about the star’s outfits, controversy over her offer to hand out treats in the courtroom – declined! – and questioning about her friendship with Taylor Swift.

She won the case – only asking for $1 in damages, because this was about principle – but for a woman who would barely have noticed making it all go away for $300,000 (£242,000), the amount she was sued for, was it really worth it?

Many were shocked hearing the details of the wealth and privilege that spilled out in court, but perhaps there were just as many impressed by her dry response when asked what she had lost as a result of the accident. “Well, we lost half a day of skiing,” quickly went viral. (Luckily, she was still able to get a massage.)

And turning the courtroom into a catwalk for her own brand Goop, as well as other designers, no doubt has helped with sales.

Depp’s two court cases – and very different outcomes

Johnny Depp in court during the closing arguments of his libel trial against Amber Heard

For some reason, celebrity lawsuits seem to be like buses at the moment. At the same time as Paltrow was in court in the US, here in the UK a group including Prince Harry, Sir Elton John and Liz Hurley were taking on the publisher of the Daily Mail at the High Court; last year, we had Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: Round 2 and Wagatha Christie.

In 2020, when Depp first went to court in the UK – suing the publisher of The Sun newspaper – the revelations about his and Heard’s relationship were jaw-dropping: “mega pints” of red wine, insults scrawled in blood and paint on walls, gross text messages, trashed apartments, human faeces apparently left in a bed… let alone the actual claims of abuse.

Even before he lost the case, his reputation seemed to be ruined. But in 2022, he chose to go through it all again; this time suing Heard herself and, like Paltrow’s case, all on camera. After following the UK case through news articles and bulletins, now the world was able to watch everything as it unfolded.

Read more:
Depp v Heard: The key bits of evidence
Twelve of the most shocking celeb moments of 2022

Actor Amber Heard arrives in the courtroom in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, May 26, 2022. Actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." (Michael Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)
pIC:AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Depp told the US court he lost “nothing less than everything” as a result of allegations of abuse by Heard. When asked why he had chosen the humiliation of his private life being publicly scrutinised over staying quiet, he said he was “obsessed” with the truth and wanted to clear his name for himself and for his children.

After six weeks of evidence, the majority of the public seemed to side with the actor and the jury went the opposite way to the judge in the UK, finding in his favour.

Before the verdict had even been delivered, Depp was on stage in Sheffield, having joined Jeff Beck on his European tour. More gigs – and a trip to meet a rescued badger – followed in the days surrounding his legal win. Now, he is due to appear as Louis XV in Jeanne Du Barry, his first major film role since the court cases, later this year; his supergroup The Hollywood Vampires goes on tour in the summer, and there are reports he may even return to the Pirates franchise.

‘It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account’

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, as the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney enters its second day. Picture date: Wednesday May 11, 2022.

For Depp, arguably it was all worth it. For Rebekah Vardy, who refused to back down in her lawsuit against Coleen Rooney despite a settlement being offered before the eventual court case, it probably wasn’t.

During the court hearing, it was alleged she had leaked stories to tabloids, not just about Rooney, but about teammates of her Leicester City footballer husband Jamie Vardy and others, and that she set up paparazzi shots of the England players’ wives and girlfriends during the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

In a damning verdict, Judge Justice Steyn described Vardy’s evidence as “manifestly inconsistent… evasive or implausible” – while Rooney’s evidence was “honest and reliable”.

Afterwards, Vardy maintained her innocence in an interview with TalkTV, saying: “It feels like the judge just read what was written in the media and took on their narrative bias.”

Read more:
Five notable moments from Paltrow’s testimony
Goop sued as man claims vagina candle ‘exploded’

Still, she seems to be moving on. Perhaps all publicity is good publicity, as long as you can afford the costly legal fees if things don’t go your way. Her latest Instagram posts show her on the ski slopes herself; hopefully she’s aware of the dangers.

After Paltrow’s win was read out in court, the claimant, Terry Sanderson – who has to pay the star’s legal fees, as well as his own, despite the minimal $1 damages – was questioned by reporters waiting outside. Asked if the trial had been “worth it”, he replied: “Absolutely not.”

For Paltrow, perhaps it was. She has faced years of stick about her wellness brand, but has never cared about the haters. And long after the point of this case has been forgotten, the outfits – and no doubt visits to the Goop website – will live on.

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Lily Allen on moving from music to drama and her ‘dysfunctional’ family

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Lily Allen on moving from music to drama and her 'dysfunctional' family

Ahead of her first TV role airing Lily Allen has spoken to Sky News about why she’s moved from music to drama and how her own “dysfunctional” family helped inform her character.

In new comedy Dreamland she plays a woman returning to her family in Margate, who soon finds out she’s brought more than she expected home with her when she discovers she’s pregnant.

It’s not Allen‘s first acting gig, but it is her first TV role and the Brit Award-winning artist, who has lived much of her life in the public eye, says it’s given her a way to express herself while she takes a break from music.

Photo by: Patricia Schlein/STAR MAX/IPx 2023 3/13/23 Lily Allen at the Planned Parenthood's New York Spring Benefit Gala on March 13, 2023 in New York City.
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Lily Allen at the Planned Parenthood’s New York Spring Benefit Gala in March

“I feel like one of the reasons I’m not really writing music and putting it out there or spending a lot of time on social media is that it feels very heavy out there at the moment and I feel a bit too exposed and I feel a bit sensitive in that environment,” she said.

“I don’t really want to put myself out there and my experiences, but I still want to talk about the human experience and dive into those experiences a little bit more, try and make sense of the world I guess?

“And I think drama or drama comedy in this instance has enabled me to do that, it’s a different medium but it’s still doing the same thing – we’re just telling stories.”

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More on Lily Allen

Dreamland is about four sisters and explores the complexities of sibling relationships.

Despite growing up in a very different environment to her character – Allen is the daughter of the comedian and actor Keith Allen – she says there was still plenty to relate to.

“The sort of similarities and not the differences is obviously the things that I honed in on and, you know, my family is quite dysfunctional,” she laughed.

“So there was a lot for me to draw on there.”

Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel, Sheila Reid as Nan, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Leila, and Gabby Best as Clare in Dreamland. Pic: Natalie Seery/Sky UK
Image:
Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel, Sheila Reid as Nan, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Leila, and Gabby Best as Clare in Dreamland. Pic: Natalie Seery/Sky UK

Weaving serious issues in with comedy, the show isn’t all fun in the sun – tackling themes of racism, homophobia and misogyny.

Former Dr Who star Freema Agyeman plays Allen’s half-sister – and the only one of the four who isn’t white.

She told Sky News she was impressed by the way the more serious topics were handled.

Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel in Dreamland. Pic: Natalie Seery/Sky UK
Image:
Agyeman and Allen. Pic: Natalie Seery/Sky UK

“There’s a book, The Mixed Race Experienced by Natalie and Naomi Evans, who write about what it was like being mixed race growing up in Margate specifically,” Agyeman said.

“So that was very much pulled on and then, of course, I can identify with so much of that, but also have my own experiences that [the showmakers] were very open for me to share.

“I like it when it’s done with thought and care and collaboration, and I felt like that was happening here… You can’t deep dive into everything, but you can have discussions, or raise issues and address themes and hope that people will go away and think about that.”

Dreamland will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from 6 April.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Wagatha Christie: Are high-profile lawsuits really worth it for celebs?

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Wagatha Christie: Are high-profile lawsuits really worth it for celebs?

Gwyneth Paltrow consciously uncoupled from ordinary life years ago.

In the era of celebrity relatability, with once mysterious A-listers now sharing everything from breakfast to breakdowns on social media, she is one star completely comfortable with the world knowing she exists on a higher plane of bone broth, vagina candles, and $8,000-a-day skiing lessons.

Facing a lawsuit, many A-listers might simply choose to pay-up, regardless of whodunnit, rather than go through the rigmarole of a potentially reputation-damaging court case. But the Oscar-winner turned wellness guru is not one of them.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The Gwyneth Paltrow court case in six minutes

The internet has been flooded with Paltrow in the last two weeks, as her high-profile legal fight played out on camera. This all started with a skiing accident involving a retired optometrist in Utah in 2016, and somehow ended in global headlines about the star’s outfits, controversy over her offer to hand out treats in the courtroom – declined! – and questioning about her friendship with Taylor Swift.

She won the case – only asking for $1 in damages, because this was about principle – but for a woman who would barely have noticed making it all go away for $300,000 (£242,000), the amount she was sued for, was it really worth it?

Many were shocked hearing the details of the wealth and privilege that spilled out in court, but perhaps there were just as many impressed by her dry response when asked what she had lost as a result of the accident. “Well, we lost half a day of skiing,” quickly went viral. (Luckily, she was still able to get a massage.)

And turning the courtroom into a catwalk for her own brand Goop, as well as other designers, no doubt has helped with sales.

Depp’s two court cases – and very different outcomes

Johnny Depp in court during the closing arguments of his libel trial against Amber Heard

For some reason, celebrity lawsuits seem to be like buses at the moment. At the same time as Paltrow was in court in the US, here in the UK a group including Prince Harry, Sir Elton John and Liz Hurley were taking on the publisher of the Daily Mail at the High Court; last year, we had Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: Round 2 and Wagatha Christie.

In 2020, when Depp first went to court in the UK – suing the publisher of The Sun newspaper – the revelations about his and Heard’s relationship were jaw-dropping: “mega pints” of red wine, insults scrawled in blood and paint on walls, gross text messages, trashed apartments, human faeces apparently left in a bed… let alone the actual claims of abuse.

Even before he lost the case, his reputation seemed to be ruined. But in 2022, he chose to go through it all again; this time suing Heard herself and, like Paltrow’s case, all on camera. After following the UK case through news articles and bulletins, now the world was able to watch everything as it unfolded.

Read more:
Depp v Heard: The key bits of evidence
Twelve of the most shocking celeb moments of 2022

Actor Amber Heard arrives in the courtroom in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, May 26, 2022. Actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." (Michael Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)
pIC:AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Depp told the US court he lost “nothing less than everything” as a result of allegations of abuse by Heard. When asked why he had chosen the humiliation of his private life being publicly scrutinised over staying quiet, he said he was “obsessed” with the truth and wanted to clear his name for himself and for his children.

After six weeks of evidence, the majority of the public seemed to side with the actor and the jury went the opposite way to the judge in the UK, finding in his favour.

Before the verdict had even been delivered, Depp was on stage in Sheffield, having joined Jeff Beck on his European tour. More gigs – and a trip to meet a rescued badger – followed in the days surrounding his legal win. Now, he is due to appear as Louis XV in Jeanne Du Barry, his first major film role since the court cases, later this year; his supergroup The Hollywood Vampires goes on tour in the summer, and there are reports he may even return to the Pirates franchise.

‘It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account’

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, as the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney enters its second day. Picture date: Wednesday May 11, 2022.

For Depp, arguably it was all worth it. For Rebekah Vardy, who refused to back down in her lawsuit against Coleen Rooney despite a settlement being offered before the eventual court case, it probably wasn’t.

During the court hearing, it was alleged she had leaked stories to tabloids, not just about Rooney, but about teammates of her Leicester City footballer husband Jamie Vardy and others, and that she set up paparazzi shots of the England players’ wives and girlfriends during the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

In a damning verdict, Judge Justice Steyn described Vardy’s evidence as “manifestly inconsistent… evasive or implausible” – while Rooney’s evidence was “honest and reliable”.

Afterwards, Vardy maintained her innocence in an interview with TalkTV, saying: “It feels like the judge just read what was written in the media and took on their narrative bias.”

Read more:
Five notable moments from Paltrow’s testimony
Goop sued as man claims vagina candle ‘exploded’

Still, she seems to be moving on. Perhaps all publicity is good publicity, as long as you can afford the costly legal fees if things don’t go your way. Her latest Instagram posts show her on the ski slopes herself; hopefully she’s aware of the dangers.

After Paltrow’s win was read out in court, the claimant, Terry Sanderson – who has to pay the star’s legal fees, as well as his own, despite the minimal $1 damages – was questioned by reporters waiting outside. Asked if the trial had been “worth it”, he replied: “Absolutely not.”

For Paltrow, perhaps it was. She has faced years of stick about her wellness brand, but has never cared about the haters. And long after the point of this case has been forgotten, the outfits – and no doubt visits to the Goop website – will live on.

Continue Reading

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