In a serious moment on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, guest Jonah Hill took some time to address the controversy surrounding a homophobic slur he hurled at a paparazzo, and tried to explain what happened without excusing his actions.
Over the weekend, a group of paparazzi were following and recording Hill in Los Angeles as the 30-year-old actor walked down the street with his friend. One paparazzo recorded a video, later obtained and posted by TMZ, that shows the 22 Jump Street star telling him to "Suck my d**k, you fa***t."
Hill told Fallon the paparazzi were harassing him, insulting him and causing him to feel "genuinely hurt."
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"In response, I wanted to hurt him back, and I said the most hurtful word I could think of at that moment," the actor explained. "I didn't mean this in the sense of the word, you know? I didn't mean it in a homophobic way."
He added, "That doesn't matter. How you mean things doesn't matter. Words have weight, and meaning. The word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say or hear words like that."
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Hill was clearly emotional during the interview as he tried to both explain and apologize for his actions. "I've been a supporter of the LGBTQ community my entire life. I completely let the members of that community, and everybody else, down when I used a word like that," Hill said. "My heart's broken and I am genuinely and deeply sorry to anyone who has ever been affected by that term in their life."
Hill later made an impassioned plea for young people listening to use his controversy as a lesson, and to not respond to situations with hatred or anger.