Effie Brown Questioned Matt Damon—and Was Blacklisted by Hollywood. Here’s How She Fought Her Way Back

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Finally,” says Effie Brown, exhaling deeply.

The movie producer is in Manhattan to celebrate the premiere of The Inspection, the closing night film of the 60th New York Film Festival. Directed by Elegance Bratton, it tells the story of a closeted Black man (Jeremy Pope) who enlists in the Marine Corps where he endures ridicule and brutal hazing at boot camp from his unit commander and fellow recruits. That the film’s received strong reviews along the festival circuit is music to Brown’s ears. It’s also a testament to her resilience. Because only seven years ago, Brown found herself effectively blacklisted from Hollywood.

You’ve probably seen the moment it happened. The clip garnered millions of views, went viral, and sparked a national conversation about representation (or the lack thereof) and gatekeeping in Hollywood. It first aired on Sept. 13, 2015, during the fourth season premiere of Project Greenlight, an HBO series produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck that saw the superstar pals oversee a contest for first-time filmmakers. The winner’s film received the titular greenlight. Brown convened with the brain trust—Damon, Affleck, and Peter Farrelly among them—to discuss potential directors for a project. When Brown, the only person of color present, raised concerns about the script’s character of Harmony, saying, “[She’s] the only Black person, being a hooker who gets hit by her white pimp,” and that the director should be sensitive to any racial stereotyping, Damon proceeded to talk over her, declaring, “When you’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.