If you’re only paying attention to headlines, then it might look like this season of HBO’s Project Greenlight, put together by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, has some kind of a racially motivated agenda in mind, rather than just being unwittingly guilty of several unfortunate incidents. The latest of these involves the episode that aired Sunday night, which was put out there under the title “Hot Ghetto Mess,” even though that phrase seemed to have nothing to do with the episode. The producers have since offered up an apology.

Perhaps unfortunately, there is no particularly damning reason why “Hot Ghetto Mess” went out as the episode title. It was the episode’s original name, and the revised title (“The Pivot”) wasn’t officially changed for all of the network’s platforms. So you see, it was a stupid mistake more than an intentionally biased one. Here’s the apology from production company Magical Elves, according to THR.
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. HBO is taking steps to correct the title across its platforms.

The previous five episodes had titles like “Do You Want to Direct This Movie?” and “Gun to Your Head,” which both sound plausible as dialogue segments, and have no direct ties to anything of any ethnicity. Something like “Hot Ghetto Mess,” though, was just destined to turn some heads, even if it had actually been in the episode and spoken by Dear White People producer Effie Brown. And since it wasn’t, the show just looks kind of immature and unprofessional at best, and racially insensitive at worst.

Had this happened in any of the other Project Greenlight seasons, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. But this year has Brown on board, and the episodes have often focused on the heightened problems in her relationship with director Jason Mann, who is making the comedy The Leisure Class as close to “his way” as he can. Brown is almost overbearing in her insistence that this movie cast people of color in roles that aren’t just token parts, but the finished product just seems to be a river of white people. (At least according to its IMDb page.)

This season kicked off in a negative light when Matt Damon was chastised by seemingly the entire Internet for “whitesplaining” Hollywood to Brown in a talk about racial diversity behind the camera. The actor apologized and said his quotes were taken out of context, but the Internet has no need for context.

Project Greenlight airs on HBO on Sunday nights.
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