Photo courtesy of Universal Studios

Matt Damon stars as the savior of China in his new movie, “The Great Wall”.

Thank You Matt Damon

On February 17, a very controversial movie, The Great Wall, was released in theaters. The movie is set in China during the Song Dynasty; it is an action film with Matt Damon starring as the main protagonist who ultimately defeats the monsters and leads Chinese soldiers to victory. The reason for controversy was mainly due to the casting decision. A white hero in an Asian setting is a prime example of white-washing in Hollywood. Many people have spoken out about the casting decisions. One of the most notable reaction was that of Constance Wu, star of Fresh Off the Boat. She went on Twitter in an angry rant about the movie on July 29, 2016, arguing that “our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon.” “We don’t need salvation,” she says. “We like our color and our color and our own strengths and our own stories.”

Since the movie’s release, there has been more activity on Twitter regarding Matt Damon. People have been throwing shade and trolling Matt Damon with the hashtag #ThankYouMattDamon. The trend is meant to undermine his movie and expose the implausible plot about a European man saving China and its people. A lot of twitter users also attach gifs and pictures along with their message, such as one of his face photoshopped over Mulan.

Even Jimmy Kimmel, the late night talk show host, had something to say about Matt Damon’s movie while he was hosting the Oscars. “He handed what turned out to be an Oscar-caliber role over to his friend, and made a Chinese ponytail movie instead,” Kimmel remarked. “And that movie, The Great Wall, went on to lose $80 million dollars. Smooth move, dumb***.”

Ashley Bui-Tran (10) keeps up with the trend, and thanks Matt Damon too. “Thank you for taking off your shoes before coming in my house!” she says.

Ultimately, the disapproval and negative reactions towards The Great Wall from society still is not enough to bring diversity into the process of casting in Hollywood. For example, the female lead in Ghost in a Shell, an upcoming movie that is supposed to have a Japanese protagonist, is being portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, a white woman. It seems as if Hollywood isn’t learning from its mistakes.

However, Matt Damon’s role in The Great Wall does have one plus side: it has increased the social opposition to white-washing and has raised more awareness for the lack of diversity, especially for Asian-American, in the entertainment industry. For that, thank you Matt Damon.