Yesterday, just hours after the footage of Jonah Hill calling a paparazzo a "faggot" was posted by TMZ, the actor shared his regrets regarding the slur on Howard Stern's Sirius show. On last night's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Hill reiterated his remorse while accepting full accountability for not just his words but their weight beyond his intention:
I said the most hurtful word I could think of at that moment and, you know, I didn't mean this in the sense of the word...I didn't mean it in a homophobic way. And I think that doesn't matter, you know? How you mean things doesn't matter. Words have weight and meaning and the word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say and hear words like that.
This covers all the bases in terms of providing context and acknowledging the world outside that moment. It's such a well constructed apology, it's almost diabolical.
Hill went on:
My heart's broken and I genuinely am deeply sorry to anyone who's been affected by that term in their life. I'm sorry and I don't deserve or expect your forgiveness, but what I'll ask is that 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 and don't respond with hatred or anger, because you're just adding more ugliness into the world and again, I'm just so sorry.
"Use me as an example of what not to do," is practically poetry. I feel like we're on a date and Hill is saying all the right things. Please, Jonah, keep murmuring these words of compassion and social awareness into my ears. You're totally going to to score tonight (no homo).
"I deserve all the shit I'm gonna get for it," Hill told Fallon toward the end of his extended apology. This is so thorough and ostensibly sincere that it's unlikely he'll get any shit at all, even. Expertly handled, a thrilling performance, A+++, make him a Pride parade grand marshall, etc.