HBO: 'Project Greenlight' Episode Was Titled "Hot Ghetto Mess" By Mistake

Courtesy of John P. Johnson/HBO
Effie Brown, Jason Mann and actor Bruce Davison on 'Project Greenlight'

"It was a production mistake for which we take full responsibility," the production company said in a statement issued Monday.

The producers of Project Greenlight have issued a statement addressing the controversial title of the latest episode of the HBO docuseries: "Hot Ghetto Mess."

The episode, which aired Sunday night, centered largely around the growing tensions between producer Effie Brown and director Jason Mann over production issues as well as Brown's concerns over the extras who had been cast. While Brown, who is African-American, accepted that were no actors of color among the guests at an upper-class wedding, she voiced concern that actors of color shouldn't then be cast as butlers or other servants, since such casting would be stereotypical. When she spotted a black extra who'd be cast as a chauffeur, she insisted on replacing him with a white actor. The racially-charged title was taken from comments Brown made in a scene that ultimately was cut from the episode. The network has since taken steps to fix the "production mistake" and rename the episode on all HBO platforms.

Magical Elves, which co-produces the series, issued the following statement through HBO:

"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 docuseries found itself swept up in controversy last month, too, when executive producer Matt Damon was widely criticized for inferring that diversity wasn't needed behind the camera in a conversation with Brown. "When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show," he said.

Damon later apologized for his comments, saying, "My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood. That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having."

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