Sarah Silverman has said that she is “done” using homophobic slurs in her comedy, and that she can find “other ways to be funny.”
Silverman added: “I used to say ‘gay’ all the time – ‘Oh that’s so gay.’ Cause we’re from Boston. We’d go, ‘That’s what you say in Boston. I have gay friends, I just say gay.’
“And then I heard myself and realised… it was stupid. And I’m certainly creative enough to think of other words besides that that don’t hurt people,” she said.
Silverman made the comments to TMZ yesterday, People.com reports, after she received backlash online in the wake of the Kevin Hart Oscars controversy.
Kevin Hart Oscars controversy
Last week, comedian Kevin Hart announced that he would be hosting the 2019 Oscars ceremony. However, he had a swift fall from grace after homophobic tweets that he posted between 2009-2011 were unearthed.
Hart ultimately announced on 6 December that he would be stepping down as he did not want to be “a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.”
He also apologised to the LGBT+ community for his “insensitive words.”
In the tweets that were unearthed by Twitter users after Hart was announced as the 2019 Oscars host, he used homophobic slurs and made derogatory comments about the gay community.
However, musician and actor Nick Cannon said he saw a double standard as Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman had all used homophobic slurs in past tweets.
Sarah Silverman: homophobic slurs
In 2010, Sarah Silverman posted a tweet that said: “I dont mean this in a hateful way but the new bachelorette’s a faggot”.
Sharing the messages, Cannon wrote: “Interesting I wonder if there was any backlash here…”
Silverman responded by sharing a Twitter thread from gay author Greg Hogben, who said: “Do you remember the first time you saw someone get punched in real life?
“There was no sound effect ‘thwack’ like in the movies. The victim probably didn’t do a perfect movie stuntman roll. Could you feel the violence behind it? Recognize the malicious intent to inflict injury?
“That’s what homophobia feels like to me. I can feel the violence. I can feel the malicious intent.
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He went on to say that there had been “a trend” of LGBT+ allies being accused of homophobia in the wake of the Kevin Hart Oscars controversy.
“The thing is, a lot of gay guys [don’t] take offence to these comments, because we don’t feel the violence or malicious intent behind it. Because we knew they were jokes. Because we knew these people were LGBT allies,” he said.
Sarah Silverman ‘cringes’ at old material
Speaking to TMZ yesterday, Silverman also said that comedians “don’t like to be told what to do.”
“Anyone should express themselves as they see fit. And if there are consequences, that’s part of it.
“I f**k up all the time,” she finished.
Speaking to the Guardian earlier this month, Silverman said that she now cringes at things she did 10 or 15 years ago.
“I think that’s OK,” she continued. “I had really racial stuff that, in my mind, at that time, was illuminating racism and starting a conversation.
“Now I see it very differently, like: ‘Oh, right. Unarmed black teenagers are getting killed by cops daily. This joke is less funny to me.’
“Or I used to say [adopts masculine Boston accent]: ‘That’s so gay.’ And then I would defend it by going: ‘What? I have gay friends! It’s totally different. I just mean ‘lame’. And as I was arguing it, I realised: ‘Oh. I’m the old man who says ‘coloured’…”