James Corden is finding out why joking about sexual abuse is part of the problem

John Shafthauer

Film producer Harvey Weinstein has recently been accused of multiple accounts of rape and sexual abuse. The scandal has revealed to the world what several Hollywood insiders have described as an “open secret”. Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex.

British comedian James Corden has also waded into this issue. But the jokes he made have been poorly received.

“Leave now”

Corden was speaking at the amfAR Gala in Los Angeles. Describing the evening in LA, Corden said it was:

so beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.

I don’t know whether that groan was that you like that joke or you don’t like that joke. If you don’t like that joke, you should probably leave now.

It has been weird this week though, hasn’t it, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water? Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath. It’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water.

Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight, but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.

This led to responses such as:

Holding the powerful to account?

Some people have argued that the jokes come at Weinstein’s expense, and therefore they work:

Others disagreed with the idea that Corden was managing to do this:


Corden has since apologised via Twitter. He said:

To be clear, sexual assault is no laughing matter. I was not trying to make light of Harvey’s inexcusable behavior, but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims. I am truly sorry for anyone offended, that was never my intention.

People once more reacted to what Corden said:


A problem with Corden’s jokes is that all of the punchlines were instances of abuse. He joked about Weinstein using his power to request massages and have people see him naked. He also joked about the alleged incidents of Weinstein masturbating in front of his victims.

The issue, then, is that these weren’t just jokes about Weinstein; they were jokes about the abuse he perpetrated. And if you were one of the many people who’ve reportedly been abused, would you want to hear instances of abuse being used as punchlines? Especially when one of the major problems we currently face is that abuse is still not taken seriously enough.

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