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Matt Damon clarifies comments about gay actors during Ellen interview

‘It is painful when things get said that you don’t believe,’ Damon says

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Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

Matt Damon wants the world to know he doesn’t think gay actors should stay in the closet.

During a pretaped appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show set to air Tuesday, Damon said comments he made about gay actors in a recent interview with The Guardian have been taken out of context.

“I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery, right?” the Martian star told DeGeneres. “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.”

Damon also recalled how earlier in his career, he and his Good Will Hunting co-writer and co-star Ben Affleck dealt with rumors they were gay. He added that in today’s media landscape, “There’s no real penalty for just taking the ball and running with it. You know what I mean? You’re just trying to click on your thing.”

In the hours leading up to his Ellen appearance, Damon had drawn criticism for telling The Guardian, “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.”

The controversy came as the second time in recent days that Damon has found himself in hot water over remarks touching on marginalization in Hollywood. Earlier this month, he apologized for comments he made about diversity during the debut episode of his filmmaking reality series Project Greenlight.

Watch a clip from Damon’s Ellen interview above.