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.
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.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) October 14, 2017
This led to responses such as:
Things that aren't funny:
– Rape culture
– Victim blaming
– Violence against women
– The abuse of power
– James Corden
— Miriam Brett (@MiriamBrett) October 15, 2017
so not only is James Corden making jokes about the sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, but it seems they're also pals – pic.twitter.com/yO4xE6uByU
— Rossalyn Warren (@RossalynWarren) October 15, 2017
Holding the powerful to account?
Some people have argued that the jokes come at Weinstein’s expense, and therefore they work:
Some confusion here. James Corden was making jokes at Harvey Weinstein's expense. As is everyone else on US TV. Correctly. pic.twitter.com/om0bZGI8cG
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) October 15, 2017
Others disagreed with the idea that Corden was managing to do this:
I really like James, and he is a lovely man, but his jokes didn't excoriate Weinstein or amplify his faults; they made them sound trivial.
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) October 15, 2017
HW wasn’t the butt of a single joke – the women he abused were. It’s demeaning.
— Jemima Codrington (@jemima_c) October 15, 2017
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:
"sexual assault is no laughing matter"
makes 3 jokes about sexual assault, admonishes audience for not laughing
— somegreybloke (@somegreybloke) October 15, 2017
What matters isn't the intention, it's what you did. That sort of error of judgement is part of the problem and deserves no platform
— Ben Fletcher (@BenSFletcher) October 15, 2017
Has he? A Brit wouldn't spell behavior without the u so I'd say this is a statement crafted by his management.
— Alan Granger (@ZeGrange) October 15, 2017
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.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via screengrab
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?