Jonah Hill apologizes again for slur: ‘the most hurtful word I could think of’


As you’ve likely heard, Jonah Hill dropped the anti-gay F bomb against a paparazzo who was harassing him over the weekend. Jonah told the guy to “suck my d*, you f*.” Jonah first apologized on Howard Stern, and claimed that the photographer was following him all day and saying “hurtful things” about his family and about him personally. He did not excuse his words and seemed genuinely remorseful and sorry for what he said. He added that “it would break my heart that anyone would think that I would be against anyone for their sexuality.

The Human Rights Campaign organization, for which Jonah has volunteered, issued a statement accepting his apology, conveying how serious that word is, and adding “Were glad to see that Jonah is willing to turn this into a teachable moment and we hope others will learn from his mistake.

Last night, on Jimmy Fallon, Jonah issued another apology. He sounded truly sorry, and he got choked up at points. I don’t think he was just acting. You can see the video above and E! has transcribed the relevant parts:

This weekend I was out with some friends and there was a paparazzi guy, and he was antagonizing me and calling me names, attacking me personally and my family personally, and I was genuinely hurt by this and made angry by this. In response, I wanted to hurt him back and I said the most hurtful word that I could think of at that moment. I didn’t mean this in the sense of the word. I didn’t mean it in a homophobic way.

I think that…sorry. I think that that doesn’t matter. How you mean things doesn’t matter. Words have weight and meaning. The word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say or hear words like that. I’ve been a supporter of the LGBTQ community my entire life, and I completely let the members of that community and everybody else down when I used a word like that this weekend. My heart’s broken and I genuinely am deeply sorry to anybody who’s ever been affected by that term in their life. I’m sorry and I don’t deserve or expect your forgiveness, but what I ask is at home, if you’re watching this and you’re a young person especially, if someone says something that hurts you or angers you, use me as an example of what not to do. Don’t respond with hatred or anger because you’re just adding more ugliness to the world. And again, I am just so sorry.

I know I’m usually funny and stuff, but this wasn’t funny. It was stupid. I deserve the s–t that I’m going to get for it, you know?”

[From E! Online]

He added “my love and apologies to everybody.”

I think that apology was heartfelt and genuine. He did invoke the “I have gay friends” excuse, especially on Stern, but he seemed to be telling the truth. I still don’t understand how anyone can use that word in any context except to tell someone not to say it. It doesn’t matter how mad Jonah was. My parents taught me that there are certain words you never use and it honestly wouldn’t occur to me to say them. It seems like Jonah is responding the right way to a situation that never should have happened in the first place.

22 Jump Street Dublin premiere

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill 22 Jump Street in Dublin

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum Trinity College

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are shown on 5-23-14 at Trinity College in Dublin, where they “were presented with the Bram Stoker medal” and had a Q&A session with fans. They’re also shown on 5-22-14 at a “22 Jump Street” photocall at Claridges in London. Credit: WENN.com

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46 Responses to “Jonah Hill apologizes again for slur: ‘the most hurtful word I could think of’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Sorry, but if you don’t think there’s something inherently insulting about the word, you don’t use it to insult someone. I believe he’s sorry, but I think he is denying that his underlying attitude needs work.

    • Artemis says:

      True.

      But tbh, despite the fact that I’m not a fan, I can appreciate a decent seemingly sincere apology over a fake one like ‘sorry IF you’re offended’ or ignoring the backlash all together. I’m sure all his dudebro fans don’t give a shit so the fact that he’s willing to admit he made a mistake is a big deal in that regard alone. I’m sure a lot of male fans use the same type of insults and they would not listen to Hill’s message.

      And also that he doesn’t even want to be forgiven, he’s willing to eat shit for it because he knows that’s what he needs to go through, that’s the price he pays and that is a moral value that many famous people are not even aware of anymore. Many think ‘sorry’ means instant forgiveness even better, forgetting it happened in the first place.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Excellent points. I will give him credit for a sincere apology and for not thinking “sorry” is a magic word.

      • feebee says:

        Well said. I too am not a fan but I’m giving him big bonus points for the way he has handled this. I do think the apology is sincere.

        As for underlying attitude that he may have… I don’t know where that came from and I don’t know how hard he’s working to correct it. We all have certain prejudices but it’s how we work to overcome them that counts.

      • FLORC says:

        I’m not convinced he’ll work to correct his attitude issues. He got caught saying someone with nothing except hurtful intent. Now it’s damage control. He’s proven he has an entitled attitude. Over the years it hasn’t been corrected. He only playing nice for his image and career.

        The only way to really prove how sorry he is is 2 fold. Say he’s sorry now and never repeat it in the future. Since he’s proven he repeats his awful behavior i’m skepitcal.

    • Me2 says:

      I agree Goodnames. Even if I’m incredibly pissed, that word would be the last that would ever come to mind. ***hole? ***ker? Yes. That one wouldn’t even be in my vocabulary. That’s telling.

      • Delta Juliet says:

        Right? I mean even the “suck my d**k” part would have been enough.

      • FLORC says:

        Delta/ Me2
        Yes! That he even thought to say that sentence is telling.
        He was mad. And he didn;t only want to yell at the pap, but wanted to insult him and hurt him. That his mind went to those words says much about him.

    • Chicagogurk says:

      Not an excuse….but I grew up in an area where “You’re so gay, that’s so gay, fa**ot” were commonly used words by most teens. Half of my friends were/are gay and they used those words more than the rest of us. Maybe as a means to take the power away? Maybe as a crappy 90′s catch-phrase. My lesbian friend of 20 yrs still says, “that’s so gay” all the time. It for lack of a better way of explaining, it was a vernacular at time and place/ for a moment, that was quite popular. This is before Matthew Shepard, before hate crimes were designated hate crimes in most areas. I moved to a big city, volunteered at in-patient AIDS facilities and in-home treatment delivery services, passed condoms out at bars/raves, gave people coupons for free AIDS testing. I was gay-friendly dammit and I learned differently. Why certain things aren’t acceptable, why they never really were. I still have friends though – gay and straight who still knee-jerk use those phrases. They know better but it’s almost as if it was conditioned….then afterwards, it’s an “OMG where the heck did that come from. I shouldn’t have said that.” ick you see them feel. I am about Jonah’s age. I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew up similarly – learned better, tried to do better, means better but had a knee jerk response from conditioning almost 2 decades ago…It happens. It’s not right, but I’m sure we’ve all said things we wouldn’t normally in a fit of anger. I think he genuinely means his apology and feels horrible. Some people are forced by the public to grovel. He offered.

      • FLORC says:

        Jonah
        Grew up very wealthy. Like Goop level of wealth and social circles. In fact they both went to the same elitist summer camp if memory serves me. Not at the same time though, clearly. That way of thinking is sort of the same, but jonah knew better. He knows not to drop the n word. He should know not to say that.

        And he was forced to apologize. Maybe not by several gay rights outlets, but because his image and movie promotion doesn’t need to deal with this. There was more riding on his being sorry than just him.
        And it’s tough for me to tell if someone is sorry because they truly are or if theyre sorry they got caught.
        If they’re truly sorry it was a 1 time thing and won’t happen again. Since Jonah has said and done things like this before I just don’t buy it.

      • chicagogurl says:

        Good points FLORC. I didn’t realize he had done things like this before. We all know by now, wealthy doesn’t mean higher class in terms of how one treats others or conducts their lives, but I understand you mean he should know better because he was educated properly?

        I guess pattern is the only true way to predict if he’s indeed sorry or playing sorry for the cameras.

      • ScrewStewrat99 says:

        I grew up the same way. When I was in middle/high school everyone, even gays and lesbians would say oh that’s so gay, he’s such a fa**ot, she’s a fa**ot. It was just common used slang for something you didn’t like and most times it wasn’t being said with any ill will or intentions of insulting a gay person. Even now I’ll catch myself thinking about something and being like that’s so gay and it won’t even apply to anything that has to do with gays and I don’t even think about gay people when it crosses my mind. I mean I honestly try not to say hurtful things like that, but sometimes when you’re really angry you say stupid things. I have a very bad problem with that. When someone upsets me I want to say the most hurtful thing. I want to stab you with my words and it’s just how I feel and the way that I am. I’m constantly trying to watch myself and my words, specially if me and my fiance are fighting, but damn it’s hard sometimes.

    • Amulla says:

      He was angry because he was being stalked and harassed, so he lashed out. Everyone just needs to grow up and get over it. He should not have to keep apologizing over and over again!

  2. aims says:

    I think he’s remorseful, but I agree there are words that shouldn’t ever be apart of a vocabulary. Words are weapons.

  3. Lindy79 says:

    I swear like a dock worker, especially when really angry (I know it’s not big or clever) but I’ve never used that or similar words. There are a million other words to use to tell someone to eff off without using racist, homophobic or misogynistic words, and the fact he admits that to him at that time it was the most hurtful thing he could think of shows how much work there is still to do in relation to some people’s attitudes.
    It was intended as nothing but an insult, along with the dick comment.

    Glad he apologised and accepts that he needs to get slammed for it.

    • Erinn says:

      Me too. I’ve got a terrible mouth on me – working with a bunch of dudes and being able to curse over messenger all day doesn’t help it – but I’ve NEVER used any slurs of that nature. My go-to are F-bombs, really. And I drop them all over the place. But I do have a filter, and as far as my parents, and other older people are concerned, I have a completely clean way of speaking.

      • Lindy79 says:

        Yeah exactly, I have a work, non-friends and little people who repeat everything you say filter.

      • QQ says:

        #also Ladies! im as crass as they come yet still a Total card carrying Pflag Memmber and that word would NEEEEVVVEEER pass my lips ….that said that was a full decent double apology not that his constituency gives a shit but i appreciate what has come out of his own mouth TWICE so he is eating it and Owning it and not letting his publicist talk for him or doing a shitty job of it (ex: Fists Brown, Bieber et.al)

    • Ag says:

      me too. i swear quite a bit, and enjoy it. (in appropriate circumstances, of course, not in front of my toddler son or at work, haha.) even when i’m super pissed off, slurs pop into my mind. do you have to use them regularly in order for them to come out when you’re mad? i have no idea.

  4. K.B. says:

    He’s not sorry he said it, he’s sorry he got caught saying it. Several commenters on Dlisted made a great point – if that’s the word he blurted out when angry, it’s a word he uses often when not angry.

    It’s too bad the general public will let this go, but they’ll turn around and crucify Gwyneth for every single thing that comes out of her mouth, and they’ll keep a running tally of every (stupid) thing she’s said.

    • Artemis says:

      He’s not sorry he said it, he’s sorry he got caught saying it.

      Hmm, not sure, I only heard about this because of his apology, not because I saw the video. 1D and Justin Bieber’s backlash is bigger and I have followed those to see if there would be apologies. Pretty sure this could’ve been ignored and nobody would know about it. Imo.

      And Gwyneth Paltrow is the last person on earth who would be sorry for all the offensive shit she ever said because she doesn’t even realise she is being offensive.

  5. Helvetica says:

    He just seems like a d0uchebag.

  6. JessSaysNo says:

    Good for him. I do believe his story and his apology. I also can’t imagine a pap following me and making remarks about my clothes and family. He deserved to be a called “scum, loser, a-hole, piece of sh-t” but not the F word. I do think Jonah just made a mistake.

  7. cro-girl says:

    I think its genuine. That word was always hurtful and wrong but its only in the past few years that there has become a very global and conscious effort not to use it or other words like it. When I was growing up that word and other ones pertaining to race etc, were used frequently. I’m not suprised it comes out when angered, it’ll be another generation or two before that stops I think. I have a gay friend who uses it routinely when talking about people he doesn’t like, gay or not. It’s always struck me when he says it as well! But I think at this point its just a remnant of an old mentality rather than an indication that this mentality is always present by those who use it.

  8. Mark says:

    And tomorrow we’ll be back to dragging people out of the closet

  9. lunchcoma says:

    He seems genuinely sorry and this is the right way to go about apologizing, but I hope that at some point he spends some time thinking about why a pejorative about sexual orientation was what came to his mind when he was looking for the worst thing to call someone.

    • mimif says:

      Agreed. If that’s your instinctual go to word for lashing out at someone, you’ve got a problem.

  10. Clever hand says:

    I have gay friends who use the f word and have told me “it’s okay if I say it” (similar to the n word argument). They still get an earful from me anytime they use it.

  11. Chris says:

    Of course he “seems’ sincere, he’s an actor. If he’d dropped the n word the backlash would be a lot worse, which suggests to me that homophobia is more socially acceptable than racism. Still a lot of work to do folks.

  12. notthatone says:

    “the most hurtful word I could think of…”…. – says everything, really.

  13. amylyne says:

    I wish people would develop this attitude towards the R word. I still hear it used casually all the time, not even in anger and certainly not with an apology, even when I ask people not to use the R word. People defend it to me by saying, they are not trying to hurt people with developmental delays. Well, as the loving aunt of a little boy who people have called the R word, every time someone says this word, it’s like a slap in the face. I actually take comfort in what has happened to the F word. Not even 5 years ago, I heard this word all the time, and now it is considered offensive by almost everyone except hard core anti gay people. So it’s gross that he used it but good that he feels like he has to apologize. And now let’s attach the R word with that same level of public education.

  14. Jayna says:

    He came out and gave a very heartfelt, sincere apology and did try to use it as a teachable moment to youth, not wanting them to emulate how he lashed out in the way he did.

    Too bad Gwyneth never came out and apologized to all of the war veterans and active duty military, who have lived through things we can never dream of, for her idiotic statement. Instead she’s on GOOP talking about the profound book she’s into about negativity affecting even the molecules in water or something.

  15. Alarive says:

    I really do wonder though, if the guy was antagonizing him all day and insulting his family and friends, why did it take for him to make a comment about his shorts to make him go into that extreme form of defense.
    I personally believe him and respect his apology, but I wonder what the ‘shorts’ comment triggered in him..

  16. Stephanie says:

    This comment is going to get a lot of backlash but here it is. Once he explained that he was hurt and angry about the guy an apology wasn’t necessary. His goal was to be hurtful back. The fact that he used the word to accomplish this tells me he understands just how mean the word is. I’m glad he feels remorse but I’ve been there. Sometimes you get so mad you go for the jugular. I usually feel bad afterward.

    I’m not articulating this well.

    I would never call a gay person a f*g bc their sexuality wouldn’t be what pisses me off. And also it’s so ingrained in me that they should be comfortable with it that it wouldn’t register as an insult if that is my goal. I’d call a straight guy that though if I knew he was insecure. Basically I could see myself getting caught out there using a word that can insult a whole group of ppl I have no inssue with even though I was attacking an individual.

    • Jay says:

      Louis CK does a funny bit about the word f*g that sums your point up well. I’d link it, but it’s probably NSFW.

      In some places the word f*g has morphed into a slang word with a new meaning totally detached from homosexuality. I think that’s hard for some people who didn’t experience that change to understand.

      I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand why the word was so quick to come out of Jonah Hill’s mouth. A lot of people my age use the word casually, but it in no way is meant to put down gay people.

      That being said, Jonah is in the public sphere and should probably try to be a little more careful. I think his apology is nothing but damage control.

      • Lee says:

        I’m probably around the same age as you and I don’t mean this as an attack on you or the opinion you’re expressing but I really can’t stand that argument. I have a very clear and distinct memory of being about 10 years old (probably circa 1997 or so) and a boy in my class was teasing me in that typical playground way and a group of teachers thought it was funny to ask me if he had a crush on me. My response was, ‘ew no, I hate him. he’s a f*g’. They cracked all the way up like it was the funniest thing I could have said. I had no idea what it even meant, only that it implied disgust and was hurtful. No one ever made the effort to explain or correct me. If I had known what it meant, I NEVER would have used it. Even as a child I had an awareness of the unacceptability of homophobia and in fact as an adult, I’m the one who turned out to be gay.

        The fact that, in that context, I didn’t use the word to imply homosexuality is irrelevant. That is still what the word meant and that is exactly why it was a word that connoted disgust or dislike. You can’t just ignore the reason a word was originally deemed hurtful. It was because being accused of being gay was the most offensive thing there was. Just because it was so commonly thrown around that people forgot or ignored the context of it doesn’t mean it was detached from homosexuality. I’m pretty sure the same could be said for the way people commonly used racial slurs back in the 50/60s. But the fact that my grandparents grew up calling little black licorices by a racist epithet without even thinking about it or intending harm doesn’t erase that fact that it was racist and harmful and there is a reason people don’t call them that anymore.

      • Jay says:

        @Lee, I think you’re sort of missing my point, but I absolutely respect your opinion. I’m not saying that the common use of the word is what detached it from homosexuality… I’m saying that it literally took on a new meaning as a slang word, at least where I’m from in CT. For instance, someone who’s really good at a video game and spends a ton of time playing is a “fag at that video game.” Makes no sense, but people use it that way.

        I understand the painful and offensive roots of the word. I also understand it’s not a good thing to casually throw it around. But at the same time I don’t think it’s right to crucify someone and accuse them of gay-bashing for saying it as a slang word. Is it wrong? Yes. But people aren’t perfect and when they grow up in a society that uses fag as slang, it will slip out. Doesn’t mean they’re homophobes WHATSOEVER.

        Again, I respect your stance and think it’s perfectly valid. My experience has just been different

      • Lee says:

        I’ve honestly never heard the word used like that. In that context, would it be used as a positive because they are good at the video game? I went to university with people from all over the US and Canada and I’ve really never come across that usage. In my experience, it has always been something that was used as slang but still to imply a negative, which is where my point was coming from. I guess if in your region it has truly taken on a completely different meaning that’s one thing, I just don’t know how common that is? I appreciate you explaining though, because like I said that is new to me.

        And I wouldn’t crucify Jonah over it. I have had friends who used it as slang all the time even though I knew they weren’t homophobic and that clearly wasn’t their intent. I was never overly offended by it or by them, but I also don’t just let it slide.

        You mentioned Louis CK before and I think an even better clip of his for this particular conversation is from the 2nd episode of his show where they are playing poker with a gay comedian. Essentially, people are free to use the language they want to and depending on the context it may or may not be intended and/or perceived as an offense. But they also need to own it and make an effort to understand the effect that language can have on others.

  17. Patty Cake says:

    I appreciate his heart felt apology. I believe that if Paula Deen had said that about the time she was robbed, folks would have been more forgiving. It’s not how many friends you have of the group you offend; it’s about truly owning up to and taking full responsibility for the unacceptable hatred you spew. It is also about taking full ownership and acceptance for the backlash that you have offended. There is no “May have offended” to it. You offended these people, so they deserve a heart felt apology. That is why I accept Jona Hill’s apology. Because when you’re truly sorry, you admit it and accept the backlash for it.

  18. I Choose Me says:

    I’m far from a Jonah Hill fan but as far as apologies go I feel that this was heartfelt and genuine. I really do hope he learns from this and never uses that word again.

  19. AnnE says:

    If Lainey of LaineyGossipis to believed she spoke on her talk show THE SOCIAL today that while waiting at a restaurant (she had a reservation and still had to wait 30 minutes) he came in without a reservation and played the `do you know who I am card`! He is also known to be an A++++ name dropper constantly.

  20. Ginger says:

    I agree that I was brought up in a home where there are certain very, very ugly terms that you never use under any circumstances and I’m bringing my son up in the same way. However, I too have a temper and have let my mouth run away with me when I’m angry. I think sincere apologies and a self awareness to realize what damage words can do is a very good thing. Jonah seems like a mature person who has realized that even given the difficult situation he should not have let his temper get the best of him. I’ve been there and I feel for him.

  21. Lydia says:

    He is *terrified* of this hurting his image permanently. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed another actor apologized so profusely over something.

  22. pam says:

    We are all humans, capable of making the same mistake. Cut the guy some slack. I can’t believe the attitudes I’m seeing here…

  23. me says:

    The media says we should forgive and everyone falls for it. Such lemmings. what kind of excuse what have come out of his mouth if he didn’t have a movie premiering this week? We all say stupid things from time to time and usually it’s the things we are thinking!!!! Had he said the “N” word would everyone be as forgiving?
    The phrase he chose to use usually comes along with an ass beating or a Matthew Shepard style killing. Words have power and now kids think “Hey, Jonah hill can say it when he’s mad. Nothing is wrong with gay bashing.” Gay people are the last acceptable group of people to hate. What’s a little slip of the tongue right….after all he did take a picture of himself wearing a t-shirt in support of gay rights that only had Russian words on it so English speaking people couldn’t tell what it was…but hey, this classifies him as a “long time supporter of Gay rights”…. let’s get back to his movie that opened this week… at least that will still make money now that he has apologized.