This dude is Thomas Middleditch. You probably know him from HBO’s Silicon Valley, where he plays the sort-of lead of the ensemble. If you don’t watch Silicon Valley, you might also know him from those annoying Verizon commercials. He’s been a low-key famous TV star for several years now, and he’s currently promoting a romantic comedy called Entanglement. Which is how he ended up being interviewed by The AV Club, in a piece that was published last week. Honestly, I saw some of the quotes last week and I was like, “Whoa, he does not come across well,” but then I forgot about it and I’ve only just now gotten the chance to read the full interview. And whoa, he does not come across well.
Keep this in mind: Middleditch worked with TJ Miller for several years on Silicon Valley, before Miller was pushed out for being a self-destructive a–hole and toxic narcissist. In addition to that, a former classmate of TJ Miller spoke to the Daily Beast last December about how he brutally assaulted her and raped her. None of that is ON Thomas Middleditch, but of course he got questions about it. And I guess no one really prepared him for what answers to give to not sound like a bro-tastic rape apologist. You can read the full AV Club piece here. Some highlights:
Whether Time’s Up & #MeToo will lead to the end of rom-coms: “I definitely don’t think that intimate movies will stop getting made. That just won’t happen. Even if there is a slowdown, everything’s cyclical or comes in waves… I also think, you know, movements—Hollywood lives in its own insular bubble. We tend to think there’s a perpetual importance to things we say. I mean, we’re one of the few industries that televises multiple award ceremonies to pat ourselves on the back. It’s crazy. So while we think everything we do is with the greatest importance, I think the rest of America sometimes rolls their eyes, and sometimes I side with them a little bit. I’m not specifically talking about #MeToo, but I would hesitate to guess that there’s a time limit for these various movements where people, even the people that are leaders in the movements, get kind of burnt out. ’Cause at one point you just wanna be like, “Well, talk about the movie you’re in as opposed to the statement.” But I do think it’s super important, as much as there’s growing pains with anything that’s brought into the spotlight, ’cause everybody has to adjust. Hopefully we get to the point where it’s good enough that we can move on. But I mean, it’s noisy at the start, and that’s just what kind of has to happen.
When challenged on the idea that Me Too & Time’s Up is only about Hollywood: “Oh, no, I didn’t mean to marginalize it and say it’s only us. I understand, and it should be a complete global movement. I think this is my reaction to just watching every award ceremony lately, and it’s tricky. When everybody has something to say about it, it sometimes feels flippant, I suppose. My concerns come from making sure any movement feels protected and actual, as opposed to [someone thinking], “I say this because it’s very popular to say, and honestly, not saying it is negative points.” So I want to make sure—which is a very cynical way of looking at it, I understand that—but I just want to make sure that all the movements that are really just and worthwhile aren’t sort of dismissed as leftist nonsense.
Whether there was ever any discussion within the ‘Silicon Valley’ community about the assault allegations against TJ Miller: “People who know him, sure, we chat about it. But I think that’s the tricky thing with all this stuff. Speaking as a guy, as a man, as a male human, it’s kind of scary, with this fervor that’s surrounding it, where an allegation can just pop up and then it’s really incumbent upon you to fervently defend your character. I’m not gonna dive into what’s real or not. I’m just saying it’s a little bit scary. I mean, I thought the whole Aziz Ansari thing was kind of absurd. Like, there’s a difference between assault and just kind of strange sex. You don’t want to live in a world where it’s just so stiff that there’s no, I don’t know, something? I don’t know where I’m going with that, but I don’t really know enough about [the allegations against Miller] to comment on. Just don’t know about it, really. But it is tricky, you know. It’s weird. It’s like we live in a world where currently the climate, let’s say, is where a j’accuse will really turn your world upside down.
After that answer, The AV Club puts this note in brackets: “At this point, the publicist cuts in to say that we have one minute left, then asks that we return to talking about the film.—ed.” Which… yeah. That’s what the publicist should do. Really, the publicist should have taken him aside BEFORE the interview and said, “You’re probably going to get some questions about TJ Miller so please don’t sound like you don’t believe women’s stories and make it seem like lying bitches are trying to take down all of your bro friends, okay?” Imagine reading that Daily Beast story about how TJ Miller brutally assaulted a college classmate and your first thought is “wow, that must be so hard FOR TJ MILLER.” Rape culture in a nutshell – men accused of assaulting and brutalizing and harassing women are the ones given sympathy from other men. Beyond that, Middleditch is suggesting that people are only supporting these causes to look cool, and that Aziz Ansari being a f–king creep is just “strange sex.” WTF?
Photos courtesy of WENN.