Project Greenlight Episode Title Draws Controversy


Project Greenlight just can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight, and I don’t mean the kind to which executive producer Matt Damon is accustomed.

Already under some scrutiny earlier this season for comments Damon made about diversity — comments he later apologized for and claimed were taken out of context, which is sort of the double whammy of responsibility for one’s words — the show touched off a new wave of outrage this week for an episode titled “Hot Ghetto Mess.” Considering that producer Effie Brown, an African-American woman, was at the center of most of the episode, I shouldn’t have to explain why some viewers found the title inappropriate.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, production company Magical Elves claimed the title was a “production mistake,” and it subsequently renamed the episode for viewing online or on demand. Here’s a portion of the statement released by the company:

"Though it may not be obvious, the majority of Project Greenlight titles come from a line spoken inside the episode. An earlier cut of the one that aired Sunday included another chaotic day on set resulting in the remark ‘this is a hot ghetto mess.’ In a scramble of last minute edits and changes, however, that scene was removed. The episode was then renamed the ‘The Pivot’ but the change was not reflected on the delivered master. It was a production mistake for which we take full responsibility."

The thing is, while that explanation makes plenty of sense, someone might have come up with the idea that it wasn’t such a great title regardless of whether the scene in question was cut, simply because of the negative connotations. Or maybe I’m overthinking it, but it ended up as a bad look for the show regardless.

Here’s hoping Project Greenlight can avoid making any news of this type for the rest of this season, which wraps up on November 1.