Jonah Hill's Apology for Obnoxious Gay Slur May Be Too Late

Jonah Hill gay slurJonah Hill seems to have a habit of mouthing off without considering the repercussions. There was the time he called a CNN anchor a "12-year-old girl" on Twitter, there was the intensely uncomfortable Rolling Stone interview in which he sniped, "Being in a funny movie doesn't make me have to answer dumb questions," there was his weird brag that "I have never been star-struck by an actor once in my entire life." (Good ... for you?) And now he's landed himself in the not-so-glowing headlines for shouting a homophobic slur at a paparazzo.

There's no excuse for what he was caught on camera saying, but I have to hand it to Jonah Hill: he knows how to apologize. (Maybe because he's had to do it once or twice before.)

Hill was walking with friends in L.A. over the weekend when he caught the attention of a couple paparazzi. The video shows a pretty typical scenario with a star being followed by photographers who are saying stupid things to try and get his attention ("I like the shorts though, bro. They are pretty sexy"), and it's clear Hill isn't too happy about it. Finally, Hill loses his cool and blurts, "Suck my dick, you faggot."

And of course it was all captured on video. Oops.

Hill appeared on Howard Stern's radio show on Tuesday and devoted a fair amount of time to apologizing for the slur:

I'm upset, because, from the day I was born, and publicly, I've been a gay rights activist. (...) To give it some context, not excusing what I said in any way, this person had been following me around all day, had been saying hurtful things about my family, really hurtful thing about me personally, and I played into exactly what he wanted and lost my cool. And in that moment, I said a disgusting word, that does not at all reflect how I feel about any group of people.

I'm not at all defending my choice of words but I am happy to be the poster boy for thinking about what you say, and how those words even though you don't intend them, they are rooted in hate, and that's bulls--t and I shouldn't have said that. What I said in that moment was disgusting and a hurtful term I should have either said nothing or f--- you, instead I use a word I don't use in my personal life, it's not part of my vernacular. I'm happy to take the heat for using this disgusting word but it would break my heart for anyone to think I would be against anyone for their sexuality.

Hill added,

I think I am pretty good at making movies but I am not good at being a famous person.

Yeah, that's the thing about fame -- your own voice can so easily be used against you. Last November, Hill was praised for tweeting his support for the Human Rights Campaign's "Love Conquers Hate" effort ahead of the Sochi Winter Games, and today there are 58,000 Google results for "Jonah Hill homophobic." All because of something he blurted under pressure, and regardless of how he explains it, some people will never believe him.

Personally, I think Jonah Hill really does regret his words, but he's got to learn how to deal with persistent photographers or he'll end up like Alec Baldwin. Paps give up on celebrities who make boring video subjects -- but when you're the guy known for providing a juicily offensive sound bite, you'll be a target forever.

What do you think of Hill's apology?


Image via zenimagery/Flickr

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Frost... FrostyMelted

Phony. When people are in a stressful situation they resort to known behavior. His use of that word indicates he uses it regularly. If you're going to use slurs at least be honest and admit that's the trashy way you choose to live your life. Lying to appear sorry just makes it worse. 

nonmember avatar micheale

Frosty I disagree. I believe most people say things they may not mean when pushed to the edge. And btw I have gay family and friends who use that word....

Frost... FrostyMelted

Micheale - Gay family members and gay friends are part of the group being targeted and can use the word. Straight people aren't part of the group and have no business uttering such a slur. And, you're ignoring neuroscience research which shows people respond under stress by searching their brain for established responses. He uses the word regularly. Guarantee it. 

nonmember avatar Kevin

I don't believe Hill has anything against gay people. I do believe that he says 'faggot' on a regular basis and was thus partially disingenuous with his apology. He knew that the politically correct public opinion isn't sophisticated enough to make the distinction. Why does everyone have to be so sensitive about certain words? If he had said, "I hate fags," then yeah, that's a problem, but he didn't. He used 'faggot' as an insult, like calling someone "stupid," or "a pussy," etc. Is this respectful? No, but why do so many people feel as if they must assume the worst and choose to take grave offense, often FOR other people?

nonmember avatar Kristi

If certain circles don't want hurtful words launched their way then maybe they should be the leaders and stop using them themselves.(You call yourself or buddies faggot but if I call you that it is world ending) Or at least send me a fricking list of what IS okay to call you this week.

tbruc... tbrucemom

Frostymelted-you're very wrong. If a word is not appropriate it doesn't matter who says it. It's like a black saying the N word. It's OK if they do it but not someone who's not black? And how "black" do they have to be for it to be ok? I have a friend who's 1/4 black. Is that black enough? It's ridiculous. Also that photographer was being very aggressive and insulting. Why isn't he being called out for that? I guess because its worse to be non-PC that to be a jerk.

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