Let's All Get Mad At Tom Hiddleston
Let's remember: on Sunday night, the Hollywood Foreign Press – a body that as Hugh Laurie noted, is comprised of several terms that a certain someone might not like – gave Tom Hiddleston the award for Best Actor in a miniseries. And for some reason, people were pissed off at what he said when he accepted that award.
Let's be clear. This is EXACTLY what he said:
"The idea that I could provide — or that we could provide — some relief and entertainment for the people that work for UNICEF and Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Food Program, that are fixing the world in the places that it is broken, made me immensely proud".
Seriously. Between some very British things like "this is lovely" to "to those who are doing their best", that was it.
Let's proclaim him as Mr. Tom self-righteous, tone-deaf, white-savior, loser-of-the-Taylor-Swift-breakup, you-should-have-taken-notes-from-Patricia-Arquette Hiddleston. Never mind that this guy is actually a UNICEF ambassador, a feminist, a Doctors Without Borders advocate and children foundation supporter. We can't debate his intentions because we don't know what he intended. If he had prepared something to say, it probably wouldn't have been as meandering as it was, so you can bet that these remarks were off the cuff.
Let's hold him to a high standard for an award show speech. You know, the same medium by which Meryl Streep just dissed the NFL and MMA for some reason in a speech that was equally tangential, but she's Meryl Streep so it's okay. The same event where Viola Davis said that this was her 'fifth nomination', a statement which could come off equally as self-congratulatory. The same show that started off with Jimmy Fallon's kiss-ass hypocritical monologue telling the entire room that they were 'all amazing', and the same place that has an overt circle-jerking vibe to it. Hiddleston's speech, except for that one sentence, gave attention to an emerging country and arms dealings, and told a cool story which probably did happen; it was a speech that altogether accomplished more than shouting out Migos as Donald Glover chose to do.
Let's avoid hearing his words exactly as he says them. He said that his work provided "relief and entertainment", which are best interpreted literally. Television is indeed a form of entertainment – though calling The Night Manager entertaining is a bit of stretch – and anyone who says that TV isn't relieving doesn't have a friend whose brother's ex-girlfriend has a Netflix account. Most artists say they hope their work is inspiring, but because Hiddleston looks like a bottle of low-calorie mayonnaise and he brought Sudan into it, he’s pretentious. It doesn't matter (because who cares about context), but in the very next fucking sentence, he paid tribute to those who fixing the world where it is broken, so there's that. But Christian Slater's reaction was so good, that's the face value we should be taking, right?!
Let's be quick to point the finger. As I found while surfing the Twitter, most of those offended by the white savior — or at least those who indulge in Tweeting while offended — seem to be white people. It's easy to be steadfast in your opinion, especially when they reflect what you're already inclined to believe. It feels like many white people, in their enduring effort to not be labelled as something (never mind if they actually act like or are that very thing) have forgotten how to listen.
Let's put him in a cage. Because it's easy to put people in a cage. (Or, in the case of The Night Manager, a hotel) A cage that has a plaque on it telling you exactly what should be inside, one that ignores any hint of nuance that can thwart your preconceptions. Some cages contain plaques reading 'bigot', or '-phobe'. Beyonce’s says ‘yaas queen slay’, and it still would, even if she had made this speech. And no matter how much the cage-dweller claws at the bars and screams that they don't belong there, you write them off because they're already inside, and surely they must be there for a reason.
The most offensive thing about this moment was that it should have belonged to Riz Ahmed. If there’s anything to get mad at Tom Hiddleston for, it’s that.