James Corden has learned the hard way that rape and sexual misconduct are NOT laughing matters.
As host of the eighth annual amFAR gala in Beverly Hills on Friday, the late night talk show host attempted to find humor in the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal.
But he failed. Miserably.
"This is a beautiful room, this is a beautiful night here in L.A.," Corden said on stage at one point, referencing the harassment and rape charges leveled against the aforementioned movie producer and joking:
"It is so beautiful that Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel room to give him a massage."
The quip drew some laughter, but also some clearly uncomfortable and unsatisfied groans.
“I don’t know whether that groan was that you liked that joke, or you don’t like the joke,” Corden responded. “If you don’t like the joke, you should probably leave right now.”
Unfazed, Corden continued with the Weinstein-inspired material:
"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."
Weinstein has been accused of rape.
An endless stream of women in Hollywood have come forward with sordid stories about how he harassed them or threatened their careers or acted in any number of abhorrent ways.
In other words: too soon, James Corden.
Too soon and too sensitive of a topic.
Following a stream of backlash against his jokes of this nature, the comedian issued an apology on Twitter.
"I was not trying to make light of Harvey’s inexcusable behavior, but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims," he wrote, adding:
"I am truly sorry for anyone offended, that was never my intention."
This may very well be the case.
But, again, we're dealing with a very sensitive topic here.
Rose McGowan, who has been outspoken about Weinstein's behavior for years and who says the gross producer sexually assaulted her, Tweeted the following after learning about Corden's set:
"YOU MOTHERF**KING PIGLET. Hearing the audience's vile roars & laughs show EXACTLY what kind of HOLLYWOOD you really are."
Asia Argento, an actress who has also accused Weinstein of rape, echoed this sentiment:
"Shame on this pig and everyone who grunted with him #amfARLosAngeles."
Last Tuesday, Weinstein's spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, said in a statement to The New Yorker:
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.
"He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counseling and rebuilding his life."