Why I Will Not Be Accepting James Corden’s Apology
James Corden is a cheeky bloke from down the road who for whatever reason is widely liked by millions of people. This means that whether he likes it or not, his words and actions are at least somewhat instructive to vast numbers of people, as is the case with any prominent role-model. Corden had choices when he learned about Harvey Weinstein’s actions. Why he opted to do what he did is somewhat baffling.
To ignore the claims made against Weinstein would have been fine, if perhaps a bit lazy; condemning them would have sent a strong message to his innumerable fans that behaviour of this nature is unacceptable, that he personally will not tolerate it, and nor should anyone else. By setting an example as a Hollywood celebrity himself now, he could even have inspired other comparably influential figures to join him in his condemnation, helping spread even wider change throughout the industry and even the world. The influence of the words of a person as popular as him must not be underestimated — people respect and respond to their role models. People like Corden can make things happen, and ultimately can help greatly with causes like ending sexual assault with even a few well chosen words. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it? It may have justified Corden’s popularity in a way his comedic output never has seemed to (to me, anyway). Yet here we are, part-way through an article about what Corden actually chose to do. No, I’m not particularly happy to be here either.
Choosing to joke about Weinstein’s actions was, to put it kindly, woefully ill-judged. And that is very kind, considering that his choice is only helping perpetuate the kind of behaviour Weinstein exhibited — the kind of behaviour that, apparently, we should all be laughing about. Whilst this behaviour has been, and reportedly remains endemic in the very business he is a huge part of, he decides his ego is what is in real need of a bolstering. Why stand up to this sort of thing when we can all have a bloody good laugh, right James? Sure, you could aim to use your unrelenting presence in the public eye to help prompt urgently-needed action… but where is the banter there?
I will not be accepting Corden’s apology for his comments. I know he was not advocating his actions, however his “let’s all have a laugh” mentality will damage the cause of those determined to stop cases like Weinstein’s. Rather than trying to cultivate change and progress, Corden instead has given a free licence for his fans to chuckle, sigh and move on. Why demand change when we can all have a giggle after all? It’s a rallying cry for collective apathy when action is desperately needed.
I don’t think Carpool Karaoke is funny, and his World Cup song in 2010 was rubbish and I don’t know why it did so well — but I can forgive those things. What I cannot accept is that there are countless people who want nothing more than for people to be able to go about their day without a very real risk of being sexually assaulted or intimidated, who would chop their arm off for a tenth of Corden’s audience. He could have helped make real strides to progress on an important issue. Instead, he made some jokes.
So rather than joining James, hooting about Weinstein over a lamb bhuna and a pint, let’s instead keep a straight face, and not forget that there’s still a hell of a lot to be done to stop this kind of thing happening again.