Jonah Hill hopes other people learn from his mistake.
Over the weekend, photographers followed the 22 Jump Street actor as he and a friend strolled the streets of L.A. Hill tried to ignore the paparazzi, but eventually, the 30-year-old movie star got fed up. One cameraman repeatedly taunted Hill, saying, "I like the shorts though, bro. They are pretty sexy." The paparazzo followed Hill down a side street before giving up and telling him, "Have a good day." At that point, Hill hurled a homophobic slur at the photographer. "Suck my d--k, you f----t," he snapped.
Realizing the error of his ways, Hill apologized for his poor choice of words Tuesday on The Howard Stern Show. "This is a heartbreaking situation for me," the Wolf of Wall Street star said apologetically.
Howard Stern commented that he sounded "angry," but Hill said, "Anger is not the right word at all."
"I'm upset because from the day I was born, and publicly, I've been a gay rights activist. Now, this person, 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," said Hill, who has worked with the Human Rights Campaign.
"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, who's getting married, who I'm going to stand at his wedding. You know? I'm not at all defending my choice of words but I am 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 mean, they are rooted in hate, and that's bulls--t," the Superbad star said. "I shouldn't have said that."
Dealing with the paparazzi is a hassle, and Hill said he's bound to make mistakes now and again. "Look, I think I'm pretty good at being in movies. I am not good at being a famous person. I'm just not!" the Get Him to the Greek star said. "I think 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 am eventually going to lose my cool."
"Now what I said in that moment was disgusting and a hurtful term. I should have either said nothing or just 'f--k you.' instead I used a word that I don't use in my personal life," Hill said on SiriusXM's radio show. "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 for anyone to think, especially with all the work that I've done and all the loved ones that I have—that I would be against anyone for their sexuality."
Last year, Hill tweeted a photo of himself wearing the Human Rights Campaign's $28 T-shirt; it featured the phrase "Love Conquers Hate" in Russian and was meant to protest the nation's treatment of the LGBTQ community. "I have tons of gay friends, gay family members," the actor told E! News, explaining why he agreed to join the cause. "It's like saying, why do you think people should breathe?"