Jim Jefferies is the first to admit that he’s “been known to make the occasional inappropriate or sexist joke.” The host of Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show made that disclaimer Tuesday night in part as a way of heading off any of the backlash late-night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel have received this past week for their responses to the Harvey Weinstein revelations.
Nearly two weeks after the story first broke, Jefferies on Tuesday night made his first comments on the many allegations of rape and sexual assault against the Hollywood producer. The Australian comedian delivered numerous jokes about Weinstein’s behavior and Fox News’ brazen attempts to blame Hillary Clinton.
“It’s pretty rich hearing that from you,” Jefferies said of Sean Hannity, noting that the former president of his network, Roger Ailes, and lead-in, Bill O’Reilly, were both “accused sexual predators” and the president of the United States he hosted on his show last week “is a sexual predator.” He called Hannity “the wilted lettuce in a sexual-predator club sandwich.”
But while the segment contained plenty of comedy, it took a remarkable turn toward the end. More than any other male host to date, Jefferies acknowledged his own complicity when it comes to sexual harassment.
“If this latest news has made me realize anything, it’s that we as men have been incredibly ignorant about what’s happening right underneath our noses,” Jefferies said. If some of the “richest, most powerful, and beloved women in the country,” like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, had been afraid to speak out against this type of abuse, “just imagine how hard it must be for every other woman in the world,” he added.
“I was stupid to think that people like Harvey Weinstein were rare,” Jefferies continued. Responding to the thousands of women who have been using the hashtag #metoo on social media to share their own stories, he said, “Chances are that every woman you know has experienced harassment or worse.”
“I thought I was a pretty good guy with all the not-raping I’ve done,” he said, prompting the first laugh in several minutes. “But it turns out, that’s not enough. It’s a start, but it’s not enough.”
Jefferies called on men to “create a culture where women feel safe coming forward about their experiences,” adding, “and when they do, we need to hear them.” After repeating his weekly catchphrase — “I think we can do better”—he said, “I know I can.”