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The Schmooze

Jonah Hill Was Insulted During An Interview. Here’s Why That Shouldn’t Have Gone Viral.

Things got randomly weird and sexual during a French TV interview with Jonah Hill last week.

The 32-year-old actor was appearing on Le Grand Journal to promote his new film “War Dogs,” when host Ornella Fleury decided to embark on a one-woman roast against him.

She started out by saying she has a “sexual fantasy” about the actor, which prompted immediate laughs from the crowd. Fleury giggled too. “Guess I don’t need to finish the joke!” she said.

“I have a fantasy. It’s that me and you find ourselves in a hotel bedroom one night, we’re talking, you’re making me laugh, and then all of a sudden your pals DiCaprio and Brad Pitt walk in, and you leave.”


First off, her comments were definitely rude, icky and unnecessary. They also went completely viral. The Huffington Post, GQ, The New York Daily News and Yahoo were among the outlets that picked up on the story and pulled apart the “awkward” interview. Which begs the question—why doesn’t that happen every time an actress is patronized or embarrassed during an interview?

Like, when Alice Eve was asked by an interviewer: “Aren’t you a little too beautiful to be a science officer?”

Or when Sway asked Lauren Conrad her favorite position (kudos for her A+ response).

Or when Scarlett Johansson was repeatedly asked if she wore underwear during the filming of a movie.

None of these questions are mean-spirited in the way that Fleury’s comments to Hill were, but they all have the same outcome. They’re embarrassing, degrading and just way off topic.

Even though 90% of the issue with Fleury’s jokes was that she was essentially being a jerk to Hill, there’s also the added factor that she’s sexualizing him—picking apart his sexual appeal and disregarding him as an individual (sound familiar?)

It’s completely atypical for an interview with a male celebrity—and maybe, in some way, that’s what actually makes it news.

It’s always been baffling to me how much David Letterman sexualized his female interviewees. For 33 years, every time an actress walked onto the comedian’s stage, he made some weird, awkward comment about her legs, and then eyed her like a hungry hippo. No, really, watch the super cut below. He actually tells Kiera Knightly she looks like a “lovely offering” and lets Dolly Parton know that he’d like to see her “sweaty”.

Too bad that never went viral.

Thea Glassman is a Multimedia Fellow at the Forward. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theakglassman.

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