If you’re a devoted follower of our daily Quote Machine post, you certainly read the derogatory comments that Jamie Foxx made on his Sirius radio show about reigning box-office queen Miley Cyrus over the weekend. Among other things, he said that Miley “got to get a gum transplant” and that she should make a sex tape. It wasn’t exactly the most insightful social commentary we’ve ever heard, but then again, it wasn’t anything that we figured people would get their knickers in a twist over, either. Well, we guessed wrong. Yesterday, a minor firestorm of controversy erupted over the incident, which drove Foxx to put his tail between his legs and apologize for his outburst on the Tonight Show last night. And even though it was probably the “right” thing to do, we can’t help but feel like we lost the last remaining shreds of respect we had for him along the way.
While we’d never front and pretend that we have ever been dues-paying members of the Jamie Foxx fan club, we will say that we admired his work in Collateral and Miami Vice (but don’t get us started on Ray). That said, we’re not really sure that his halfhearted apology on Leno last night (see below) actually did anything to help his image. We recognize that there was probably an immense amount of pressure on Foxx from his PR team (and from Dreamworks) to use the occasion to apologize for the incident, which would presumably help stem the tide of the criticism that he was under and prevent sinking the already tenuous box-office prospects of The Soloist any further. However, the way he went about it reeked of insincerity; rather than issue a direct and simple on-air apology, he couched his response with the excuse that he’s a “comedian” and “the black Howard Stern,” explaining along the way that “sometimes, as comedians, as we do, we go a little bit too far.”
While that’s certainly a defensible position, it raises the question of why Foxx even apologized in the first place. If he really still considers himself a “comedian” (unless you count Stealth, he hasn’t made a comedy since 2004’s Breaking All the Rules) and thinks that poking fun at celebrities is essential to his livelihood, why lace his apology with bullshit lines like “this is sincere,” when his facial expressions and body language clearly indicate that it isn’t? Just explain that you make fun of people all the time and be done with it. We recognize that the court of public opinion was demanding something more substantial than that, but we can’t imagine that going about it in this way did anything other than prompt his core fan base to wonder if he “sold out” once and for all.