Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Do Not Accept Jonah uncHill's Apology

Fuck Jonah Hill.

He was good in Super Bad, and decent in Wolf of Wall Street, but despite copious PR feigning, I don't accept his emotional apology for his comments. 

My beef is not with his apology per se—he couldn't have really been more serious or genuine about it—but it's just not something that can be excuse with any apology. When in an angered and uninhibited state, his "brain" searched for how to insult a douchebag photographer and it came up with:
"Suck my dick, you faggot"

This is obviously not a case of "fag" doesn't mean gay. I think that's largely a bullshit defense, but think that there are some people, usually children, who genuinely don't think about orientation when using the word. Not that it doesn't have similar reprocussions, but I think it's possible say fag/faggot and not be anti-gay or homophobic or whatever. However, in this case he prefaced it with "suck my dick," so it's pretty clear that he was trying to insult the photographer/human parasite by implying he sucks penis. He chose this insult out of a nearly unlimited set of possibilities.

Now his apology:

"There was a paparazzi guy and he was antogonizing me and calling me names—attacked me personally and my family personally. I was genuinely hurt by this and made angry by this. And in response, I wanted to hurt him back, and I said the most hurtful word that I could think of at that moment. And…I didn't mean this in the sense of the word—I didn't mean it in a homophobic way. And…uh…I think that... sorry I think that…that doesn't you mean things doesn't matter. Words have weight, and meaning. The word I chose was grotesque and you know, no one deserves to say or hear words like that. And I've been a supporter of the LGBTQ community my entire life and I completely let the members of that community and everyone else down when I used a word like that this weekend. And my heart is broken and I genuinely am deeply sorry by anyone who has been affected by that word in their life. And I'm sorry. And I don't deserve or expect your forgiveness, but what I ask is that at home if you're watching this, and you're a young person especially: if someone says something to you that hurts you or angers you, use me as an example of what not to do. And don't respond with hatred and anger. And I'm so sorry."
Okay so, again, not a bad apology, besides the "didn't mean it in a homophobic way". How the fuck else can we interpret "suck my dick, faggot" besides in an antigay way? But the apology doesn't matter. He clearly harbors negative shit towards gays and embraces the societal notion that calling someone a faggot is an insult. He confesses that he thought of the "most hurtful" thing he could think of, and he came up with "suck my dick my, faggot." Not anything about character or value—sexual orientation was the lowest blow (lol) he could think of. This is the problem. Jonah is all image when it comes to supporting the LGBTQ community, but when when his mental guard was down and he was unable to regulate himself, his unfiltered thoughts came out: being gay is inferior and therefore something to use an insult. This is fucked up.

Maybe someday he will be a better person, but he certainly did not become a better person just for regretting saying something that will seriously damage his reputation and image—arguably two of the most important factors in an actor's career.

And if you think I'm being harsh, overreacting or unforgiving then let me point out that I actually have don't have a problem with the word faggot, fag or certain people saying it. The people who are "allowed" to say it are people who, unlike Jonah, do not harbor negative emotions towards homos on a deeper level. If my friend, who I know is totally cool with me liking dudes and homos in general, said fag I wouldn't care, at all. I don't think he ever would, but hypothetically it'd be fine because it would actually be a joke.

If you're not racist, I think it's fine to make jokes about race—because it's actually just joke, not a manifestation of irrational hate. It's not saying things that makes you racist or homophobic, it's your actions and, above all, your core beliefs. Jonah is, at his core, antihomo and thinks we're inferior as people. I believe he is personally sorry—even beyond the effect this has had/will have on his career, but I can't accept him for who he is because he is, at this core, supercilious in his sexual orientation. This is from Jonah, who I could call fat and stupid. But I won't.

But hey, now you think I'm being a bully just like Jonah and calling names. I agree it's name calling but disagree that it's the same. Neither weight nor learning are are inborn characteristics . It's completely unchill to criticize someone for something they were born with or have no control over, such as their race, gender, orientation, nationality, financial situation, family background, et cetera. However, like the paparazzo who chose to be a human parasite for a living, Jonah choses to be fat by what he puts in his mouth and choses to be stupid by spending his time doing things other than educating himself.

In the end, we could blame society for creating the situational factors that penetrated Mr. Hill's pliant cerebrum and "made" him a bigot at his core, and I do, partly. But he seems to know what he believes is wrong and unfair, yet he clearly still holds these beliefs deep down. Whether he is able to actually change his beliefs remains to be seen, but a quick teary-eyed apology next to Jimmy Fucking Fallon, a changed man does not make.

We're lucky to live in a country where public people feel compelled to apologize for offensive remarks, but it'd be even nicer to move to the next step where people are actually don't conceive being nonhetero as insulting.

Y'all agree?

Enjoy summer. 

Also this:


  1. Your view is equally limited in my opinion.

    He screwed up. He's sorry. Let's all move on.

    I know for a fact that 99% of the population has a similar type of outburst at some point in their adult life. Not everyone will say the same thing about the same group, but we all do it at some point. Without cameras following us around (and prompting the outburst) and without the requirement of a public apology. They're the things we say in our cars, in our apartment and maybe even to our friends that we say in the safety of a space where no one else will hear or judge us.

    Is what he said right? No. Is it condonable? No. But, as is human, he screwed up. He apologized, publicly. Anyone who chooses to cling to his error (without bothering to even mention any research into his LGBT community support and involvement- because you parsed his apology deeply enough on every other level that I am 100% sure you would do said research and see what/if he has done for the community in the past before you posted this, right?) is clinging to that anger and resentment for their own reasons and not for anything Mr. Hill has done to them.

    1. Tone down the naiveté, man.

      So you think it's impossible to help and support a community while simultaneously thinking they are inferior to you? Jonah is just the most recent example of this.

      A racist white person can give a black person a dollar or vote for black candidate and still be racist in their beliefs—these actions may be efforts to steps to make them feel better about themselves, but they don't erase inherent inclinations. There is a different between pitying someone and respecting them.

      As always, try not to view the situation as binary. The choices are not 0) Jonah Hill is a homophobic, anti-gay monster or 1) He's a wonderful, perfect supporter who made a minor mistake.

      I think the end of his apology—the message to young people—was probably the best part. Kudos to his PR people on that.

    2. I don't pity celebrities. I do think holding them to some higher standard bc most of mindless Americans gasp or fawn over every aspect of their lives is ludicrous.

      The situation is, as you say, not binary. The situation is that Jonah Hill is human, and like all of us, has flaws and imperfections. Even if he is an seething bigot on the inside who spends every free moment just hating the hell out of some gays, that is not the person he presents to the public. This outburst was just that- an outburst. It is not indicative of how he acts on the whole. I don't judge people for their thoughts, I appraise them on their actions.

      We are all "inherently inclined" to think and behave in different ways, some good and some bad. I have my demons and so does Jonah Hill, I'm not put here to judge or approve his inclinations, the best any of us can do is appraise the actions we all put out there. He had one egregious error, which he apologized for. In polite society, when an error is recognized and then properly apologized for, that is supposed to be sufficient for all.

      Unless you want everyone's inherent inclinations aired for the world to see and judged on, maybe we just move on.

    3. I meant he pities gay people as lower than him. No one called him inhuman.

      But we fundamentally disagree on two things, I think.

      1) You think we should forgive him because we all make mistakes and it's unfair to judge him in a way we wouldn't like to be judged. Most of us aren't celebrities. And yes we should "judge" celebrities and yes they should be held to a higher standard, according to the comparative influence they wield. He went on national TV and spoke into the camera—to millions of people to respond to something he said in another video that was also seen by millions of people. I'm not sure why you equate this to "everyone" and "all"; as a celebrity who reaches and influences millions of people daily, he is far from an average person. Also, I'm someone that believes criticize is fine and healthy sometimes: there's nothing wrong with forcing someone to defend their words or stance on an issue—even if they're a average person.

      1.) We should forgive him because you think 'he didn't mean it', and that it was just a temporary lapse. This is totally possible, but I think it's much more likely that the badgering of the asshole photographer broke his censor and he spoke from the gut for a moment. Whether or not he later regretted the words is a separate issue—he clearly did. Whether or not he knows gay people or supports the community is another, separate issue—he clearly does.

      I think Jonah Hill is both an ally and friend of "the community" in some ways but also is the type of person who calls someone a faggot as "most hurtful" insult he can think of.

  2. I agree, word for word, except for the part about being fat not being in-born. The propensity to be fat has a genetic element to it. Those with that propensity are not completely unable to address the issue, however, it will always be a life-long battle for them.

    That said, I agree that the guy needs to work out a lot more.

    In addition to what you said, my take on the apology is that Hill's handlers mis-advised him. They should have told him to address everything he said not just the word faggot. Because the words came out of his mouth in the first place, I don't think Hill has the capacity to understand the inherent hatred he has. Others have to explain it to him...which they couldn't, wouldn't or didn't do. If Hill had handled this properly, it could have been a huge teaching moment. Instead it came off as sincere but sickeningly ignorant.

    1. Sometimes being overweight is genetic, for sure, but research shows that's the minority of cases. Anyways, I just brought that up because it was probably the thing he was teased about growing up, which I'm sure was awful, but is not the same. Unless it was genetic, which I doubt, since he has lost a bunch of weight.

  3. Apparently all fat/obese white Americans are descended from a single fat pilgrim who first settled in the new world. (The genetically fat ones at least.)

    1. Exactly. And the rise and fall of obesity is due to genetic drift not changes in diet and exercise and health education programs.

  4. I think I'd go for a bit of nuance.

    I can believe he's sorry he said it. I can believe he's even sorry that it's the kind of thing he says when he's angry - than he harbors some innate or ingrained homophobia or anger and doesn't like it. I don't *know* that that's the case, but I can believe it and, under those terms, accept the apology.

    But while the apology is necessary, it isn't sufficient to gain my trust on the issue. He has to *also* engage in activities that show he is trying to change that underlying, ingrained anger or homophobia. Apologizing is fine, but apologizing without changing behavior is beyond meaningless and into insulting.

    That's not a separate standard for a celebrity: that's the standard to which I hold everyone, including myself. I can forgive if I'm shown that forgiveness is due, but I will never forget.