In many ways, it's kind of tough to make Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye controversial. Having been so widely ridiculed in the wake of 2012's The Avengers - spending much of the film's running-time being mind-controlled by Loki didn't help - everyone's favorite Hawkguy had been largely written off by much of the movie-going public. Now, Avengers: Age of Ultron did a lot to re-balance the scales of coolness in the hero's favor, but all the same, he's not the most natural of headline-inducing heroes.
And then, a few weeks back, Jeremy Renner (along with Chris Evans) made a comment at the expense of Black Widow in an interview, and that all changed.
Y'see, as it turns out, calling a beloved superhero a slut for not sleeping with the fictional character you play causes a heck of a lot more controversy than either Renner or Evans apparently thought - with the fact that they were clearly joking making little difference in the eyes of many.
In the face of widespread criticism from across the internet, though, both actors offered apologies, and the issue largely died down.
Except, of course:
Jeremy Renner Just Spoke Out About the Controversy
And may well have just re-ignited it in the process.
Y'see, speaking on Conan, Renner argued that:
"It was a joke, off-colored, whatever, but yeah, I’m unapologetic about a lot of things...But yeah, I got in a lot of Internet trouble. I guess that’s a thing now."
Which arguably somewhat muddies the waters of his original apology, especially since he followed it up with what seems a lot like a reiteration of his original joke:
"I was asked the question like, so Black Widow’s been linked to Hawkeye, Iron Man, Bruce Banner, and Captain America, so what do you think about that. Well, I said, ‘It sounds like she’s a slut.’ Now, mind you, I was talking about a fictional character and fictional behavior, but Conan if you slept with four of the six Avengers, no matter how much fun you had, you’d be a slut."
You can check it out in full right here:
All of which, especially considering the fact that, unlike Evans' apology...
"Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize."
...Renner's original retraction was a little...restrained...
"I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour."
...might just suggest that Renner isn't actually all that sorry at all.
Which, it seems to me, raises a pretty huge - and important - question:
Is Renner Actually Sorry For His Comments?
On the one hand, he clearly only ever meant his comments in jest, and made an effort to apologize. On the other, his more recent comments - and perhaps even the tone of his original apology - suggest that he may actually not consider what he did to be wrong, or his apology to have been deserved.
Which raises a vital final question:
What do you think?
Is Renner in the wrong here?