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Matt Damon Says Gay Actors Should Not Be Open About Their Sexuality

09/29/2015 06:47 EDT | Updated 09/30/2015 05:59 EDT

First, Matt Damon tried to tell a black producer about where filmmakers should reflect multicultural diversity.

Now, he's gone and told gay actors that the public "shouldn't know anything about your sexuality."

Damon said it in a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian ahead of the release of his sci-fi film "The Martian" on Friday.

The quip came up when Damon started talking about rumours that he and BFF Ben Affleck were gay early in their careers.

Damon said the rumour "put us in a weird position of having to answer." He said he didn't want to imply that being gay is "some sort of disease — then it's like I'm throwing my friends under the bus."

But, he added, "I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy — more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor — it's tough to make the argument that he didn't take a hit for being out."

While he supports the 2008 introduction of gay marriage in California (the Guardian article makes no reference to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages), Damon went on to say, "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 remarks were widely lambasted on social media, with some users taking them to suggest that gay actors should stay in the closet.

Damon later responded to the controversy over his remarks in an appearance on "Ellen."

"It's stupid, but it's painful when things get said that you don't believe," Damon told host Ellen DeGeneres. "Then it gets represented that that's what you believe, because in the blogosphere, there's no real penalty for just taking the ball and running with it."

Ellen responded in a supportive manner, saying, "I know you, and I know you're not that guy."

But no matter what kind of guy he is, those comments indicate a larger problem Damon may even realize he's perpetuating. As Louis Virtel wrote on HitFix, "Being a celebrity requires some candor; putting pressure on gay celebrities to shut up indicates that they're not invited to the same fame as their straight contemporaries."

Damon's not the first to suggest that gay actors shouldn't be open about their sexuality.

Rupert Everett, the actor that Damon mentioned, once told the Guardian about the difficulties he has had securing roles as an openly gay man.

"I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out," he said.

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