Ben Affleck says his teenage daughter thinks parts of ‘Gigli’ are ‘ableist and disgusting’

Ben Affleck wearing a black tuxedo at the premiere of 'The Last Duel' in Venice, Italy in September 2021.
Ben Affleck during the Venice Film Festival in 2021. Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
  • Ben Affleck said his daughter pointed out “ableist and disgusting” moments in his 2003 film “Gigli.”
  • While being interviewed by Matt Damon, Affleck said “the way we see stuff has changed a little bit.”
  • The film portrayed a character with an intellectually disability who was called offensive names.

Ben Affleck says his teenage daughter is putting a lot in perspective for him when it comes to his past acting roles.

The Tender Bar” star was recently interviewed by his friend Matt Damon for Entertainment Weekly. When Damon asked Affleck about where he sits with the heavily critiqued movie “Gigli,” Affleck said “there was wonderful stuff in [the film]” before explaining his new perspective on it.

“There are things where my daughter will be like, ‘This is ableist and disgusting,’ and okay,” he said. “The way we see stuff has changed a little bit, or a lot in some cases. And there are things that seemed they could work at the time and don’t in retrospect.”

Affleck didn’t specify which of his Gen-Z daughters made this comment. His oldest daughter, Violet, is 16, while Seraphina is 13. 

The 2003 film is about a man named Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) working at the lowest tier of an Italian crime mob. He’s ordered to kidnap a federal prosecutor’s younger brother, a man with an intellectual disability. Gigli is paired up with Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), a free-spirited female gangster, to assist with the kidnapping. 

In 2018, for a 15-year retrospective, GQ described the film as “a jarring blend of Tarantino-lite mob antics and syrupy rom-com, with a generous sprinkling of slurs against lesbians and the intellectually disabled.”

Gigli
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck met while starring in ‘Gigli.’ Sony Pictures Releasing

One of the terms used in the movie includes the “r-slur.” As the National Center on Disability and Journalism’s guidance says, “the terms ‘mentally retarded,’ ‘retard,’ and ‘mental retardation’ were once common terms that are now considered outdated and offensive.”

Damon had his own experience with his child calling him out for his perspective on offensive terms. As previously reported by Insider, Damon told the UK’s Sunday Times about getting a “treatise” from his daughter about why the “f-slur” should never be used in regards to homosexuality.

“I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003,” Damon said in a statement to Variety after the anecdote was picked up by news outlets. “She in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly.”

You can read Damon’s full statement here.

Affleck has previously commented on how he thinks his public perception will affect his kids  – referencing the “Sad Affleck” meme and how he wonders if his kids would view him as “fundamentally sad.”

“The Tender Bar” starring Affleck is out in theaters now.