James Corden wasn’t afraid to bring up Harvey Weinstein when he hosted the amfAR Gala in Los Angeles on Friday night. But the laughs and groans seemed to meld together for an awkward opener for the evening.
“It’s a beautiful night here in L.A. It’s so beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage,” Corden joked. To the audience, he added, “I don’t know whether that groan was that you like that joke or you don’t like that joke. If you don’t like that joke, you should probably leave now.”
Corden didn’t back down from the Weinstein beat as he joked, “It has been weird this week though, hasn’t it? Watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water? Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath, it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight, but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.”
Watch a clip of Corden at the gala below.
On Oct. 5, the The New York Times exposed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, who was fired from his position from The Weinstein Co. on Oct. 8. In the days that followed, numerous other women have come forward with their own accounts and additional accusations of sexual assault. In a statement issued through a spokesperson, Weinstein denied instances of non-consensual sexual acts. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Corden made reference to some of the claims against Weinstein with his jokes at the gala. New York-based reporter Lauren Sivan alleged Weinstein exposed himself to her and masturbated into a potted plant, and Ashley Judd claimed Weinstein asked her to watch him take a shower during a business meeting.
Some late-night personalities, including Jimmy Kimmel, have been criticized for seemingly backing off Weinstein during their television material. “What they’re doing now, especially these gun nuts, is trying to drag up any comedy bit I do out of context and use it as a proof that I’m calling myself the moral conscience of America, which I most certainly never did and most certainly never would,” Kimmel said in his defense.