Jay Leno has apologized for the stupid segment on The Tonight Show when Leno asked Ryan Phillippe to show him his "gayest look."
Phillippe was on the show to promote his new movie Stop Loss when Leno started to grill him about his first role as a gay teenager on the daytime soap One Life to Live.
"Say that camera is your gay lover," Leno prompted: "Can you give me your gayest look? Say that camera is Billy Bob [Thornton]--Billy Bob has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming."
In his statement of apology Leno says
In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say and I apologize.
The attempted joke at the expense of Phillippe and the GLBT community blew up in Leno's face when award-winning playwright Jeff Whitty called Leno out. This was the second time that Whitty has confronted Leno about making homophobic jokes. Whitty then joined with straight ally Melissa McEwan and gay bloggers to keep the pressure on.
One of the most creative responses to Leno's offensive joke was the site My Gayest Look which features lots of gays and straight allies flipping Leno the bird.
Here's to hoping that Leno and other comedians are getting the message that we are people not punchlines and that we will not take their casual anti-gay jokes lying down.