"To be clear, sexual assault is no laughing matter," James Corden tweeted on Sunday in response to backlash over his jokes at the eighth annual amFAR gala

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated October 15, 2017 06:56 PM

James Corden is answering to the backlash surrounding jokes he made about disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein while hosting the eighth annual amFAR gala in Beverly Hills on Friday.

Taking to Twitter, Corden wrote in a series of two messages, “To be clear, sexual assault is no laughing matter.”

“I was not trying to make light of Harvey’s inexcusable behavior, but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims. I am truly sorry for anyone offended, that was never my intention.”

During the set, Corden joked, “This is a beautiful room, this is a beautiful night here in L.A. It is so beautiful that Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel room to give him a massage” — in reference to some of the numerous sexual harassment and assault claims made against the Hollywood mogul.

Credit: Alberto Rodriguez/amfAR/Getty Images

A writer from The Hollywood Reporter shared a video of Corden’s speech, revealing that while the comedian’s joke did get some laughter, it also got some audible groans.

“I don’t know whether that groan was that you liked that joke, or you don’t like the joke,” Corden continued. “If you don’t like the joke, you should probably leave right now.”

The Weinstein-related material continued, with the 39-year-old joking, “It has been weird this week though hasn’t it, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water, ask any of the women who watched him take a bath, it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.”

After reports of Corden’s comments surfaced, many took to Twitter to slam their tone — including Anthony Bourdain and Rose McGowan, who on Friday claimed that Weinstein raped her. In a New York Times article published last week, it was revealed McGowan was part of a settlement with Weinstein in 1997 following an encounter in a hotel room with the executive producer during the Sundance Film Festival. The $100,000 payout was “not to be construed as an admission” by Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to a legal document reportedly reviewed by the NYT.

A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement of the accusations, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

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Actress Asia Argento — who also has accused Weinstein of sexual assaultalso took to Twitter to condemn the comedian’s words, writing “shame” on Corden.

In addition to McGowan’s and Argento’s allegations, multiple accusations of sexual misconduct — which first came to light in an Oct. 5 New York Times exposé and were compounded by a subsequent investigation by the New Yorker — have been brought against Weinstein in the past few weeks.

Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, the Weinstein Company, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.