Jason Momoa has apologized for a rape joke he made in 2011, which was caught on video and resurfaced on social media this week.
The video, which was taken during a Game of Thrones panel at San Diego Comic-Con, was posted on Thursday by Twitter user @peeanofreek. It shows Momoa saying he “loves” sci-fi and fantasy because there are “so many things you can do,” like “rape beautiful women.” Although the video was filmed six years ago, it quickly gained traction on social media amid the discussions surrounding the Harvey Weinstein scandal, as well as allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Ben Affleck.
Momoa has since apologized in a lengthy statement posted to his Instagram.
“I awoke in Australia to the justified reactions by many people to a distasteful joke I made years ago in Hall H for which I am sorry,” he writes. “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. Rape and sexual harassment can reach anyone and I have seen first hand its painful torment among members of my own family and friends. I made a truly tasteless comment. It is unacceptable and I sincerely apologize with a heavy heart for the words I said. All apologies, Jason.”
The actor’s Instagram was flooded with comments thanking him for his apology. “It’s not ‘just’ a silly comment, it’s a very stupid and tasteless one,” commented @elena.valadez.n. “Neither his cast mates nor the public present were ok with it back then. It’s good that he’s taking responsibility of what he said and issuing the apology. It shows character accepting when one f*cks up, glad he’s showing it.”
“Thank you for your apology,” wrote @trish.rh. “Too many people are quick to dismiss comments like this as jokes and quips. Though the comments came in lighthearted fashion the underlying tone was hurtful to people who have experienced sexual assault first hand. It’s not something that can be simply brushed aside. It sticks with you for your entire life. To those who claim that the offended individuals are too sensitive or won’t understand the genre or haven’t read the books … I am a huge fan of the genre, read all the books, met GRRM as well as actors from the show, and I understand the “joke”. But I was offended. Thank you again for apologizing. Accountability is the first step.”
While many social media users applauded Momoa for how he handled the situation, others pointed out the discrepancy between his statements and that of Ben Affleck’s, who on Wednesday addressed reports that he had grabbed actress Hilarie Burton’s breast during a TRL interview in 2003. Affleck’s brief and seemingly informal apology (ahem) for an alleged physical assault was disappointing to Twitter users, particularly when juxtaposed with Momoa’s lengthy Instagram apology.
“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” he tweeted about the incident, which was also caught on video.
Some Twitter users took issue with the brevity of Affleck’s apology.
“Jason Momoa makes a horrible joke and writes a lengthy statement,” tweeted @lady_sati. “Ben Affleck assaults a woman and apologizes in A TWEET.”
Others questioned the sincerity of his statement.
“Jason Momoa’s second apology for the r*pe joke was still more heartfelt than Ben Affleck’s apology for sexual assault,” wrote @staaarwaars.
Previously, Momoa had said the Game of Thrones rape scenes were some of the worst to film.
“It was very hard because I’ve never done that to anyone,” he said in a 2011 interview with the New York Daily News. “I was like, the good news is, I’m not a rapist.” He continued, “It didn’t feel good. I don’t like women crying when I’m making love to them.”
Momoa has also gone on to write, fund, and direct a film, Road to Paloma, that shed light on the systematic rape and abuse of Native American women.
Now, watch this: