Jay Leno Apologizes for Requesting Ryan Phillippe’s Gayest Look

Jay Leno has apologized for remarks he made to Ryan Phillippe when Phillippe appeared on his show to promote the movie Stop-Loss. Leno mocked Phillippe’s first role as a gay teen on One Life to Live before pointing at the camera and asking a visibly disturbed Phillippe to give it his “gayest look.”

LenoSaid Leno in a statement: “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 incident prompted an angry letter from Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty, who wrangled with the late night host about his homophobic remarks during the Brokeback Mountain days, and inspired the creation of My Gayest Look, a website at which you can find dozens of pictorial messages for Jay Leno (including mine).

My Gayest Look [for jay leno]
Avenue Q Scribe Jeff Whitty Offers Jay Leno His ‘Gayest Look’ [tr]
Jay Leno Asks Ryan Phillippe to Give Camera His ‘Gayest Look’ [tr]


  1. could it be? says

    Maybe Jay Leno’s gay jokes are covering up that he is in the closet. Let’s see, a married man who has no children, and you never see his wife anywhere, with or without him. Hmmm, in fact, does anyone even know what his wife looks like? why des he keep her hidden away?

  2. says

    Did he apologize on the air? To the gay community and, more importantly, to Phillippe? If not, then who really cares? The “in kind” promise is the only kind that counts!

    David B.

  3. Paul R says

    Convenient how he waited until the controversy was basically dead to issue this. Blowhard blowing hot air.

    Could It Be, please don’t say things like that. It makes me nauseous.

  4. says

    My pictorial message was among the many, also, and preserved on my blog. Maybe he’ll think a little more when he goes for cheap fag laughs next time. If not, I’d be happy to send him a few even gayer looks. (I perfect them daily.)

    P.S. Closeted? Of course anything’s possible, but I doubt it. Some celebrity wives simply don’t care for the limelight. And some people who make stupid remarks at the expense of gay people are actually, gasp, straight.

  5. scar2 says

    How did this get into Leno being closeted? Yes, what Leno did was offensive & no, I don’t think he meant any malice & I’m happy he apologized. As for his wife, she stays in the background most of the time but she does use her position once in a while to bring attention to discrimination against women from other countries.

  6. patrick nyc says

    Great post Andy. It was cool seeing how many different folks sent pics. Two of my faves were my fave gay boy bloggers, Dan Savage and an oh so cute Andy T.

  7. JR says

    I sent an email to NBC about this. Never did that before but I REALLY can’t stand Jay and thought that it was the least I could do. I think calling him a douche bag did the trick. Although, an apology from him at this point is kind of mute.

  8. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    While I have not met Jay personally, we share a number of personal friends through the old-car hobby; and I’ve never heard anyone say that Jay isn’t gracious and fair to everyone. I suspect the perception problem is that Jay Leno doesn’t have creative control over the Tonight Show; he’s just an employee who has to follow the script like the rest of the regular cast. The writers of the Tonight Show write the monologue and provide the interview hints, not Jay.

    One proof is the decided-difference between the monologues during the strike and after the writers returned. Once the writers were back, so too was the seat-squirming gay-baiting. …And it’s been worse since the strike.

    And the Tonight Show writers don’t work for Jay Leno; they’re NBC Network employees as is the rest of the production crew. That’s a major reason why David Letterman could make a deal with the Writers Guild and the Tonight Show could-not. Letterman owns the independent production company that creates his show, Leno’s just a (well-paid) NBC employee.

  9. Hephaestion says

    Leno needs to be off the air. Is he the best America can come up with? Hell, no. I am sick of his homophobia comments. They will never stop.

  10. JHK says

    Jay’s been married to his wife Mavis for decades. She’s active in international women’s rights organizations and has brunette hair. I don’t think Jay’s a closet case.. but I think there’s little he won’t do or say to ‘entertain’ the ‘knuckle draggers’ that prefer his kind of humor to Letterman’s. He’s been censured before for his homophobic comments and jokes, and several of his gay guests have obtained apologies for stuff he’s said and done that offended and humiliated gays. But he’s always returned to the formulaic gay put downs that his audience ‘eats up.’ I’d like to know when he apologized.. and if it was issued during a show’s taping. I’m betting it was said only to someone connected to NBC..who demanded it.. so it could be put in a press release that was issued only to get some heat taken off the network.

  11. hughman says

    i, for one, don’t want Leno on our team. he’s just not funny. if this gaffe is attributed to his writers, then they aren’t funny as well.

    ugh. get rid of him. oh i forgot, they are.

  12. Stuart says

    Just finished looking over as many of the photos as I could. They’re not gonna do much for our reputation for fabulousness or creativity. Most of them look more petulant than anything else, and petulance has a pathetic odor about it. Maybe we can’t cut Leno’s balls off, but if we can’t do better than this, it were better we did nothing.

  13. Stuart says

    Just finished looking over as many of the photos as I could. They’re not gonna do much for our reputation for fabulousness or creativity. Most of them look more petulant than anything else, and petulance has a pathetic odor about it. Maybe we can’t cut Leno’s balls off, but if we can’t do better than this, it were better we did nothing.

  14. Joshua says

    Whether he does it on purpose or not, he has a history of saying stuff like this.

    Maybe he’ll make an effort not to think before he speaks from now on. I’ll remain optimistic until he gives me a reason not to feel that way.

  15. kaly says

    funny…I luv this show…A lot of friends of mine on ” Tallmeet.com “love it.and we just put these vids on that site .u can join us

  16. mista says

    Jay’s fifteen minutes are almost up. Were it not for NBC, his fourteen wouldn’t have lasted so long. Good riddance, when his contract is up. Apology – not accepted.

  17. chicky says

    That’s actually a good point, Ted B.
    And I’d still much rather live in a world where a TV personality makes a minor derogatory comment like this and then apologizes, as opposed to a world where the word gay is never uttered at all on television. I prefer homophobes who laugh and crack jokes to the serious, you could cut-the-tension-with-a-knife variety. Less violence.

  18. banjiboi says

    Leno = tool.

    But the real news here is that I want to see a picture of Andy so I could place a face to the brilliant mind – and perhaps stand in line to propose, make baby offers, etc.

  19. Strepsi says

    Good point Ted B., and I am glad Jay made a statement. This proves that one person CAN make a difference – Jeff Whittey is my HERO of the week. And Andy Towle, THANK YOU for being the only fully-rounded gay news site. Please keep up the great work! Don’t give up your blog for supermodelling!

  20. Showbiz friend says

    A (gay) friend of mine has interviewed and had dinner with both Leno and Letterman many times over the years. I asked him what he thought of the situation and here is his honest, if not p.c., reply:

    “It’s interesting, or something, that Dave is genuinely homophobic, but at least he TRIES to be good, and his gay jokes usually don’t depend on stupid stereotypes from days gone by, whatever. Jay is totally amoral in pursuit of his crummy laughs. I swear he would dunk his mother in a vat of Jello to get a cheap laugh. Thus trashing gay people — WHILE TRYING TO MAINTAIN AN ATTITUDE of BEING HIP AND “COOL WITH IT” — is no problem at all for him; he is too dumb to understand how hurtful he is — and that’s giving him the benefit of a big fat doubt. — I like for some reason the “funny headlines” he reads on Monday nights (one of the oldest bits in television, Steve Allen Era) but otherwise rarely watch because I know there will be
    cause to cringe. I think he is a crass, insensitive, cold-hearted clod. Also his cast of regular contributers include this gauy guy whom they send out to cover events like movie premieres and stuff. This poor dope doesn’t realize he is being made fun of and being held up as the Great American Fag. He is what I once called Harvey Fierstein – the Stepin Fetchit of gay people.”

  21. says

    I love how people had a personal problem with Jay Leno. Jay Leno isn’t really the enemy, nor is Jimmy Kimmel or any other person who makes an offensive remark. It’s the disrespect that people have for the gay identity and that’s across the board. I think when you work on that, people like talk show hosts will follow suit.

    That’s why I love the My Gayest Look site. It’s such a visual way of showing the world the solidarity in the gay community (including straight allies) and showing that we are people just like everyone else.

    Oh, can everyone here go to that site and leave comments telling the homo haters to shut the fuck up ’cause they are runnin’ wild on that site.

  22. Brad says

    Excellent form Andy. I’ve never been a fan of ‘the chin.’ He’s just not funny, and his voice is beyond annoying. Give me Letterman any day.

  23. seattle mike says

    Hmm. Leno chose to “apologize” on April Fool’s Day. I wonder if he was crossing his fingers. (And Craig Ferguson is infinitely funnier.)

  24. Rikard says

    How about an apology on air, on his show, not just a statement released by a publicist?

  25. Caligula says

    If the gay people back home in Europe were this annoying I think we would not be so open about homosexuality. Who cares what a comic like Jay Leno says, I’ve heard a lot worse. By no means is Jay Leno a bad guy. He has been to my country a couple of times and he is quite polite. It’s like when I first met Howard Stern, I thought I would be beratted by him for hours. He was a perfect gentleman and a great deal of fun. I think that the gay community needs to change the way it handles things, or you will never be mainstream in the US. Ciao.

  26. Unbeliever says

    Sorry, Caligula, gay people in Europe? I’m from Europe and seem to have a very different perspective to you. The reality is that in the USA there is far more opposition to LGBT issues than in Europe, for a variety of reasons. If we didn’t have the EU to protect our rights, we could well be in trouble too and would feel the need to be more activist. A few countries in Europe have amazing records, but some are still way behind.

    Europeans like you should maybe think before speaking for all of us and making us look like condescending know-it-alls to our American cousins.


  27. Dean says

    Can’t stand Leno.

    That being said, if you want really offensive gay stereotype humor just flip over to the LOGO channel.

    At least Leno and the straight community have the excuse of ignorance… What excuse do we make when it’s gay people defaming gay people?

  28. BOB says

    — these comedians may get a bit off the track in reaching for a joke
    BUT they, by contstantly referring to Gayness as an everyday part of life, tell miliions of people we are here, we arent so scary, we arent killing Jesus and raping kids.
    — If we want to be part of society, we have to accept a certain level of well meant kidding.
    Guys show acceptance by kidding their friends. This is a good thing for us.
    (notice I wrote “kidded”, not belittled, attacked, and so on)