Jonah Hill Apologizes, Is “Heartbroken” Over His Use Of Gay Slur

“I used a word I don’t use in my personal life. It’s not part of my vernacular.”

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Within an hour of TMZ releasing a video of Jonah Hill yelling a gay slur at a paparazzo, the actor described the incident as “a heartbreaking situation for me” during an interview on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM Radio show. “I should’ve just said either nothing or ‘fuck you.’ Instead I used a word I don’t use in my personal life. It’s not part of my vernacular.”

The video shows Hill being followed by several photographers around Los Angeles’ Larchmont neighborhood. The incident apparently took place over the weekend. The two-time Oscar nominee is silent for most of the minute-long clip, then — after another comment from one of the photographers — Hill says, “Suck my dick, you faggot.”

“I’m upset because from the day I was born, and publicly, I’ve been a gay rights activist,” the actor told Howard Stern. “This person had been following around all day had been saying hurtful things about my family, really hurtful things about me personally. And I played into exactly what he wanted and lost my cool. And in that moment, I said a disgusting word that does not at all reflect how I feel about any group of people. I grew up with gay family members.” Hill then mentions that, after the interview, he plans to spend the day with “one of [his] closest co-workers and best friend, who is gay and getting married.” And that the actor also plans on standing in his gay friend’s wedding.

Last November, Hill and dozens of other celebrities joined the Human Rights Campaign’s “Love Conquers Hate” initiative in response to Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law. “It would break my heart,” the actor said toward the end of the Stern interview, “that anyone would think, especially with all the work I’ve done and all the loved ones I have, that I would be against anyone for their sexuality.”

Here’s a transcribed excerpt of the interview:

I’m upset. Because from the day I was born, and publicly, I’ve been a gay rights activist. OK? Now, you saw a 40-second video. This person had been following me around. Just to give it some context, not excusing what I said in any way. This person had been following me around all day, had been saying hurtful things about my family, really hurtful things about me personally. And I played into exactly what he wanted and lost my cool. And in that moment, I said a disgusting word that does not at all reflect how I feel about any group of people. I grew up with gay family members. I’m leaving here to go spend the day with one of my closest co-workers and best friend, who is gay and is getting married. I’m going to stand in his wedding. I’m not at all defending my choice of words, but I’m happy to be the poster boy for thinking about what you say and how those words — even if you don’t intend them — and how they’re rooted in hate and that’s bullshit and I shouldn’t have said that. Look, I think I’m pretty good at making movies; I’m not good at being a famous person. I’m just not. There are some people who are meant for it. If you call me ugly, if you call family members of mine drug addicts and maniacs, I’m eventually going to lose my cool. Now, what I said in that moment was a disgusting and hurtful term. I should’ve just said either nothing or “fuck you.” Instead I used a word I don’t use in my personal life. It’s not part of my vernacular. I’m happy to take the heat for using this disgusting word. What I won’t allow is for anyone — it would break my heart to think that anyone would think, especially with all the work I’ve done and all the loved ones I have, that I would be against anyone for their sexuality.

Update — June 4, 5:11 a.m. ET: Jonah Hill has apologized in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.

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