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Celebrity Apologies: The Good, The Bad and the *Facepalm*

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrities Are Better than You | June 5, 2012 | Comments ()


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So, apparently, the jerk store called and they’re running out of famous people.

If you hadn’t heard, Jason Alexander and the shifty mink that lives on his head appeared on Craig Ferguson last week. During this appearance, Alexander referred to cricket as a gay sport. As hateful outbursts go, his was somewhat tame (especially when compared with former co-star Michael Richards’s, as his has been) but drew ire, outrage and discomfort. So, as famous people are wont to do when they’ve displeased the good people who allow them to be rich, he apologized. The difference between his apology and others similar is that his was actually good. Not merely a publicist-released sentence of faux contrition, Alexander tweeted (screw it, I’ll take a tweet over a ghost-written press statement any day) a lengthy letter of apology, seemingly genuine and well-written.

Others have not fared so well.

Michael Richards

Well, let’s just get this fucknut out of the way early. Here’s the thing: I am of the belief that if it occurs to you to say this stuff, it’s clearly something that exists in your mind, rendering your “I’m totally not even a racist, you guys” argument completely voided.

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Mel Gibson

See above. No one was talking about the Jews, Mel. That doesn’t just fall out of your mouth unless you’re some kind of anti-Semitic child of a Holocaust deni—oh, right. And, what exactly was a meeting with Jewish leaders going to do? Was he going to walk up to the good rabbis and say “hey, bros, can you help me not hate you? Also, I forgive you for Christ and all the wars. I really feel the healing beginning”? Because I don’t think that’s a step in the right direction.

David Letterman

As public apologies go, this is the gold standard as far as I’m concerned. It could only have been better if, you know, he hadn’t been fucking around on his wife, but, hey, none of my business.

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Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus has made a lot of questionable decisions in her life, and has also made the decision to make those decisions in front of questionable people who then sell photos and videos of said decisions to TMZ. So, that’s fun for her. And after the above photo was released, she released a heartfelt, contrite apology. Oh, wait, not that. The other thing. She said this: “I’ve also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, I’m sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!” Shockingly, that wasn’t taken well. So she tried again. By then people pretty much lost interest so it stuck a bit better.

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The “my wealthy famous life is just like rape” brigade

Sometimes celebrities say hateful things that offend whole ethnicities. And sometimes they say stupid things that prove that they’re moronic as shit. And, often, because they exist in a world of sunshine and kittens and cocaine, that comes out as them making an attempt to compare their lives to abhorrent acts forced upon innocent victims. You know. Fun stuff like that. Famous people are great like that (it’s one of the reasons they’re so much better than you). Anyway, usually after they do that, they’re pretty sorry, or at least they say they are so that people continue to buy tickets to their movies, attributing said statement to a “poor choice of words”. They always do.

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Hugh Grant

Maybe they have simply become too commonplace, but there ain’t no sex scandal like a ’90s sex scandal. And, until Clinton took his love to town, Hugh Grant and Divine Brown was the blowjob heard ‘round the decade. When he appeared on Leno to voice his apology, the outraged and scandalized public (we’re so puritanical as soon as an actor with neat hair does something with his penis, aren’t we?) responded with an “aw, shucks, we can’t stay mad at you” and a head ruffle and everything was okay again.

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Chris Brown

He was super sorry. Devastated by his actions. See? Look how sorry he was. What a mensch.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • turdfaced

    Damn you internet ! Why am i reading some cunt's rant about celebrities. All i care about is their performances, not their personal life. So fuck you Courtney Enlow ! Get yourself a fucking life. Don't stir the mud and shit of other people's life.

  • it always annoyed me about the Shat having to apologize for the saturday night live skit that made fun of obsessive geeky people for being obsessively geeky. heaven help there should be any jocular perspective checking on fanatical fans

  • LL

    We could stop caring what celebrities say and do altogether, since they're not really more important than we are. Clearly, most of them aren't even particularly smart, similar to the proportion of smart people among the general public. 

    When their behavior reaches the level of criminal charges, sure, some PR blowback has to be expected, but I'm long past giving a shit what any celebrity thinks about anything. 

  • Chrispeare

    People should just stop apologizing all together.

    I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel.

  • Pookie

    So Alexander apologizes and motherfuckers from all over the internets are praising his ass for a wonderful apology letter, which I think is a bunch of bullshit. The motherfucker got caught and had somebody write some shit about his come to Jesus moment and sells it to you people. And now the motherfucker gets the ” Friend of the Gays “ award. The guy must be laughing his as off.

  • Serpentlord

    It's wonderful that Pookie is proving my point that you don't have to be a woman, or gay, to be a bitch and a cocksucker.

  • Pookie

    says the guy with the handle
    ”Serpentlord.”

  • Serpentlord

    I can't help that I was born with the kind of dick most people only get after centuries of kharmatically clean reincarnation.

  • googergieger

     Think it has more to do with him not being a dick about it. I mean, you know...

    Well, I guess you wouldn't.

  • lowercase_ryan

    cup half empty -1

  • googergieger

     Well golf clap for Mr. Alexander.  But Cricket along with almost everything British is pretty effin gay. And that's why I love em.

  • competitivenonfiction

    The thing that kills me is that an apology is the beginning of earning forgiveness. You do not get to be forgiven just because there was an apology (or, often, a non-apology). 

    Some of these folks owe an apology to someone, but for the most part, not to me. Though apologizing to the wrong person could be a fun and easy path to absolution. I would like to apologize to my neighbour for that one time I was rude to a bank teller in a different city (she had it coming!), I bet she'd forgive me right away. And to the lovely people of pajiba, I'd like to apologize for that time I broke my brother's finger by slamming it in the car door. I know I said it was an accident, and it kind of was. I really didn't mean to break it, just to make him hurry up and stop whining.

    That said, David Letterman is one classy adulterer. 

  • Caro

    no Christian Bale? his excuse on KROQ's "Kevin&Bean" morning show 

  • BierceAmbrose

    I love when snarky wordsmith Courtney shows up, with that barely-restrained undercurrent of "Oh, no you didn't." This one rates three grins and an "Oh, snap!"

    Stolen from a book I can't recall right now, a real, effective apology includes what you've learned, what you are going to do to make it right, and what you are going to do differently to ensure you don't make the same error again. How many pass that test?

  • coveredinbees

    If y'all haven't read Alexander's apology in full, I highly recommend it.  It's the most thoughtful response of this kind I have ever read.  

  • supafly

    Because he referred to cricket as gay he has to apologise? FUCK ME PEOPLE ARE HYPER-SENSITIVE ASSHOLES. Ok, cricket is just boring as fuck and not gay. The uniforms are sort of gay though. So there is that. And any sport that stops for an afternoon tea break sounds like it might be popular with the gays!

  • PaddyDog

    No, you'd probably offend women who don't like being compared to dogs.

    Except that on a site where a sizeable number of females voluntarily refer to themselves as "Cumberbitches", I would argue that many women who might claim to be offended by said comment might want to do some mirror-gazing before hurling the vitriol.

  • 'Alexander referred to cricket as a gay sport'

    What an idiot.

    As if cricket is a sport.

  • anikitty

    (American) football is the gayest sport there is. That's one reason I love it. It's all about big beefy men touching balls and grabbing asses.  I can't wait for the preseason.

  • Phaedre

    I still don`t understand what Hugh Grant had to apologize to the public for. Sure you should apologize to your significant other in these cases and not be surprised to get kicked to the curb....but the public?

    Was he apologizing to the public for having hair this great, dating Elizabeth Hurley and still getting caught in his car being serviced by a woman he paid for it?
     

  • John

    Apologizing for dating one of the hottest women in the world at the time and then having that interesting looking character, maybe?

  • PaddyDog

    I must have read Jason Alexander's apology about five times, wondering each time why people weren't also upset that he was referring to "real men" versus "gentiles" when I suddenly realized he meant to use the word "genteel" and instead used the French spelling.

  • Pookie

    Oh here we go with the monthly Chris Brown bash fest.

  •  Just some harmless girlfriend beating, right Pookie?  Why do people make such a big deal about it?  Since when are guys not allowed to beat their women and apologize about it?  People are so unfair to poor Chris Brown.

  • Pookie

    don't be silly John, brown fucked up and did his time. he's now an outcast. if that isn't enough for you, who gives a shit

  • Serpentlord

    I don't see you complaining when Chris Brown celebrates bashfest.

  • Jezzer

    Chris Brown is a woman-beater and a petulant bitch.  He deserves every bit of bashing he gets.

  • lowercase_ryan

    what he deserves is an irl-bashing, these internet ones just aren't cutting it.

  • maureenc

    So Jason Alexander's comment re cricket as a gay sport led me to assigning sexualities, genders, and personalities to various sports a la Axis Powers Hetalia. I'm totally shipping Cricket (a wealthy Englishman who dresses like a dandy and is firmly heterosexual - trust me, he tried it at Eton during his A-levels and it did nothing for him) with Hockey (an outspoken American tomboy who goes high femme once in awhile but can't be bothered most of the time).

    Rugby is gay, though, and relaxed about his sexuality. He suspects American Football is in the closet but won't press him on it.

  • Serpentlord

    Can you issue a letter of apology for liking, or even just bringing up Hetalia? My ethnic group finds that manga's existence offensive.

  • John

    I think of the Chappelle showing having races pick mixed race people for their team. Gay people could take cricket . . . repressed homosexuals could take football . . .

  • AngelenoEwok

    Where on earth is that picture of Mel from?  I'm going to have nightmares about it. 

    When I think back to the worst things I've done, the things that really demanded a contrite apology, I think the most difficult part was  this childish mindset of, "I _____ed and people who _____ are bad, and so If admit it and plead for forgiveness I'm going to be that _____ing a-hole in peoples' minds forever and ever, amen. " 

    When I finally made one of those (long overdue and completely inadequate) apologies, the wronged party simply said something to the effect of , "Yeah. That was pretty messed up on your part. But, live and learn. Don't do that again.  We're okay."  They were completely casual and matter of fact, but my mind was blown.  It was like, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS WON'T HAUNT ME AND HANG OVER ME UNTIL I'M DEAD IN THE COLD GROUND? WE'RE OKAY?! OKAY?! WHY AREN'T YOU CLAMORING FOR ME TO SWEETEN YOUR MORNING COFFEE WITH THE SWEET SWEET TEARS OF MY REGRET UNTIL I DIE OF DEHYDRATION?"

    It's a very immature mindset, to try to avoid consequences and
    responsibility for one's actions, but I've also got to wonder if living
    in this brave new world where everything seems so public and permanent
    has made people more cynical about the concept of forgiveness and making
    amends. 

  • DarthCorleone

    I like when people say "I would like to apologize" or "I want to apologize" rather than just "I apologize."  Maybe it's just a normal part of our language, but taken literally it sort of robs it of its sincerity.  Or at least that's what I thought ever since I saw Paul Newman take Daniel Craig to task for it in Road To Perdition.

  • comma

    Here's how you do it:

    “I made an error in judgment. We all make mistakes, however this is
    about accountability. Under no circumstances should anyone consume
    alcohol while driving. I could have jeopardized the lives of others and I
    am grateful there was no accident or harm done to anyone. This was my
    wake-up call. I also want to apologize to my fans, ABC Television and my
    design team for my lapse in judgment and the embarrassment I have
    caused.”

    -- Ty Pennington, following DUI arrest

  • e jerry powell

     Ty who?

  • comma

     Sorry, should have been: Here's another guy who did it right. Didn't mean to make it sound like this was better than Jason's. Jason clearly put some thought and time into it, and the sincerity seemed genuine. Nicely done.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I have three general categories of apologies: The first are those that they don't really mean. These include the "I'm sorry you were offended," and "I'm totally not a --ist, I swear, and I'm sorry my words were misinterpreted," etc.

    The second are those that seem to come from a place of contrition, but they didn't quite grovel enough. They seem like they are sorry, and they accept that they fucked up, which is good, but they don't quite understand the entire gravity of what they did and how it affects the other person.

    The last is the best kind, and you can usually tell these because they don't make it about them. This apology is the complete recognition and understanding of the others' pain, and it offers the respect and acknowledgement that the other person(s) may need to heal on their own terms. It's completely removed of feeling sorry for themselves that the other person doesn't like them right now.

  • Fi

    I don't know, I might be betraying my fellow homos, but I genuinely do not give a flying fuck about Jason Alexander saying that cricket is a gay sport. I mean, really, aren't there bigger fish to fry? So some dude from some old show said that cricket is gay. Whatever. Who cares. There are so many more important things omg.

  • John

    I also took it as a joke, unlike the others on this list. I don't think he said anything that bad in the first place, he was joking, and he was not saying anything bad about gay people. It was not a homophobic rant. The others on the list are either racist, anti-Semitic, women beaters, or just assholes- ie Johnny Depp.

  • the chaplain

    Chris Brown is a huge asshole and obviously had/has a lot to apologize for. But as far as I am concerned, he and others like Hugh Grant don't owe ME an apology at all, it's for somebody else and I don't really need to hear it.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Wait, can I use the word bitch or does that offend females of the canis family.

  • pissant

    Dustin, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this move to Disqus supposed to reduce the number of trolls?

    Wait, can I use the word bitch or does that offend females of the canis family.

    No, you'd probably offend women who don't like being compared to dogs.  And now people people just use it as a catch all for all kinds of things.  This implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with being female.  I suspect this is the same reason some people don't like other people throwing around gay as an insult for anything and everything.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Or there are some people that will be offended by any god damned thing no matter how you say it.

  • pissant

    Or there are some people that will be offended by any god damned thing no matter how you say it.

    There are definitely some people who get offended much too easily.  However, referencing the "gay fags" episode of South Park as if we should all act like those words do zero harm is ridiculous.  "Gay" originally meant happy and "fag" was a bundle of sticks.  Those are also insulting words which have been hurled at homosexuals for decades and continue to be used in that way.  Did you even read Alexander's apology?  Do you think it is appropriate to use those words in this current climate where people are discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and it's simultaneously  totally cool in some places for a young child to get up in church and proudly proclaim "ain't no homos going to heaven"?

    Ya know, "the n-word"* used to simply refer to someone's skin color.  It wasn't derogatory at all.  Would anyone care to advocate for me calling someone that when the display something I perceive as bad?  "Hey, I wasn't calling that guy black.  I would never call a black person that.  It's just a word that I use as a catch-all for 'any bad quality'.  Some people are just too sensitive."

    * - I'd just type it out, but Pajiba blocked some words in the old comment system

  • Matchetes

    There's a good chance Chris Brown beat the puppy after the photo was taken.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I feel like everybody needs to see the South Park episode with the kids vs. the annoying Harley Davidson riders. Except Chris Brown because fuck that pussy little bitch!

  • There'll Be Pancakes

    Classiest apology ever - Guy Pearce. AND his wasn't even bad (seriously even people IN Canberra didn't care), AND he finished by calling himself a dickhead.

    Sold.

  • lowercase_ryan

    oooooohhh man Chris Brown is the worst.  But GD Mel is bad too. Do I have to pick just one?

  • InternetMagpie

     The great thing about hate, ryan, is that it's limitless. They're ALL the worst.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Good point, but mixing hate and violence (like Mel and Chris) and you deserve to have your boys snipped.

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