On Thursday, Jason Momoa’s name was trending. Unlike when his Game of Thrones audition tape went viral, it was not in a positive way.
With the recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein that have come to light, people are talking about sexual assault and Hollywood. For the most part, it’s great that this very difficult conversation is happening.
An unacceptable comment that Jason Momoa made in the past came to light, stirring a lot of controversy. He has now issued an apology.
Jason Momoa is a popular actor. Whether you first saw him on Game of Thrones or Stargate Atlantis or the tragically underrated 2011 Conan The Barbarian, he’s a distinct actor who tends to play majorly tough characters.
And he’s now playing Aquaman in the DC cinematic universe, a portrayal of the classic and often lampooned DC superhero that’s likely to bring more weight to and respect for the character.
We’ll first see him in action as Aquaman in the upcoming Justice League film, but he’s also getting a standalone Aquaman film.
All of that is pretty exciting.
Unfortunately, a combination of fame and the internet means that Jason Momoa’s entire history is basically an open book for anyone to pick through.
With the Weinstein scandal and various actresses coming forward to talk about the sexual harassment and sexual assaults that they’ve endured from powerful men in the industry, more than just Harvey Weinstein have been named.
In fact, Jason Momoa’s costar, Ben Affleck — who will reprise his role as Batman in Justice League (which will hopefully be light years better than Dawn of Justice was, ugh) — has been accused of groping a woman at the Golden Globes.
In fact, multiple sexual harassment videos of Ben Affleck have surfaced since Rose McGowan accused him of having been aware of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
On Thursday, Twitter was talking about Jason Momoa.
To be clear, this was not a case of anyone accusing Jason Momoa of sexual assault or sexual harassment. This is about a comment that he made while speaking to fans about his career.
The comment was one that Jason Momoa made at a convention in 2011:
“As far as sci-fi and fantasy, I love that genre because there are so many things you can do, like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat and get away with it.”
And that’s part of why we love watching that genre. It’s a good comment.
If only he’d stopped there.
Instead, Jason Momoa continued with what was clearly a joke but which was unacceptable nonetheless.
“And rape beautiful women.”
Now, for backstory, we should mention that his character in the infamously rapey Game of Thrones is Khal Drogo, who rapes Daenerys Targaryen on their wedding night.
It appears that Momoa was trying to use humor as a vehicle to refer to the prevalence of sexual assault in Game of Thrones and to compliment his costar, Emilia Clarke, at the same time.
But … yeah, that comment is not even a little bit okay.
Late Thursday night (which would have been Friday, Down Under), Jason Momoa took to Instagram to issue an apology.
“I awoke in Australia to the justified reaction by many people to a distasteful joke I made years ago in Hall H for which I am sorry.”
That’s a good start.
“I am still severely disappointed in myself at the insensitivity of my remarks that day. I know my sincerest apology now won’t take away those hurtful words.”
That’s still a really good apology. When do the excuses come into play?
“Rape and sexual harassment can reach anyone and I have seen first hand its painful torment among my own family and friends.”
That’s sadly all too true, and it’s good that he acknowledges that.
“I made a truly tasteless comment. It is unacceptable and I sincerely apologize with a heavy heart for the words I said.”
Jason Momoa didn’t try to provide context or apologize or complain about how unfair it all was. He owned what he did and apologized and made it clear that jokes like that are unacceptable.
But since he didn’t say anything along these lines, we will.
Jason Momoa bent over backwards to make sure that Emilia Clarke would feel comfortable during the filming of their very uncomfortable sexual assault scene.
In order to inject some behind-the-scenes levity, Jason Momoa turned the sock that he wore over his genitals (that’s how networks like HBO film their nude scenes, by the way) into a sock puppet with eyes and everything.
This is a man who cares about women and their feelings, and he understands the seriousness of sexual assault and even how traumatic stages scenes of fictional sexual assault can be for actors involved.
We’re glad that he apologized and his joke in 2011 was unacceptable, but … we have to point out that it’s more than a little shady that someone decided to dig that up in 2017.
There are, after all, actual sexual predators and rape apologists out there.