James Corden Slammed for Making Controversial Harvey Weinstein Jokes at an AIDS Benefit

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Host of The Late Late Show James Corden has been in hot water lately. First, he was caught kissing Sean Spicer after the Emmys. Now, he’s come under fire for telling insensitive jokes about Harvey Weinstein while hosting the AmfAR Gala to benefit AIDS research.

Ah yes, an AIDS research gala, the perfect place to decide to finally come out against Harvey Weinstein with a couple poorly-timed, tepid jokes that seem to make light of the situation rather than take a harsh stance against the serial sexual abuser and say something meaningful.

Needless to say, Twitter was not happy.

“It’s a beautiful night here in L.A. 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,” Corden began. He really strapped in, despite a more than mixed reception to joke numero uno. Corden continued, “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.” Silence. And yet, he continued… Corden finished with, “Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight, but sadly he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest,” a reference to reporter Lauren Sivan’s devastating account of an instance in which Weinstein trapped her behind a restaurant and masturbated in front of her until he ejaculated in a nearby plant. Not a laughing matter.

The line between what’s OK to joke about when it comes to rape and sexual assault and what is unacceptable is a fine one, but Corden’s riffs fall so far on the wrong side. His jabs seem to make light of the dozens upon dozens of accusations against Weinstein so far as opposed to commenting on just how unthinkable and awful his actions were.

This is exactly the issue with Corden’s jokes — they laugh off Weinstein’s depravity (just as women are supposed to) instead of addressing how many lives he’s altered forever and how inexcusable his excuses are. There’s a way to make jokes about it. This was not the way.

And whereas other late-night hosts have addressed the allegations against Weinstein head-on and without mercy, Corden has been mostly silent on the subject until he popped up at an AIDS research gala to be like, “Haha Harvey Weinstein likes making women watch him take baths.” This is more than complicity. This is playing down the actions of a predator because he was nice to you.

“To be clear,” he wrote, “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.” What do you think? Should Corden be forgiven? Or is it too little too late?