I tossed and turned all night long trying to come to terms with Reese Witherspoon’s recent arrest for disorderly conduct. As far as celebrities go, she’s pretty much perfect. Sure she’s made some horrible movie choices in the past few years, but she usually does a pretty good job when it comes to being a good person. I would go as far as to say she has morals. At least six. Maybe even seven.
That’s why the internet went bananas last night when they heard that she’d allegedly asked a police officer, “do you know who I am?” That’s not something our Reese Witherspoon would say. No, Reese Witherspoon would invite the officer into the car for some goldfish and a juice box while he processed the paperwork to arrest her husband Jim Toth. Or at the very least, some Robert Pattinson gossip she learned while on the set of Water for Elephants. But Reese Witherspoon would never be rude toward an officer of the law.
And that’s why her apology came at just the right time for me. After spending the entire night trying to mentally rerank all my female celebrities in terms of who’s going to rehab next, Reese fixed everything with her absolutely perfect statement.
“I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said. It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. The words I used that night definitely do not reflect who I am. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry for my behavior.”
What makes this apology so perfect? Let’s run through it real fast. We have an acknowledgement that she did something wrong, an explanation for why she did something wrong, a thorough understanding of why what she did was wrong and the word sorry. Take some notes Hollywood, because this is how to stop a scandal dead in its tracks. While most standard celebrities apologies include a denial, an I-did-not-do-it-but-if-I-did-I-would-not-be-wrong clause and a subtle indication that they’ll sue for slander if you write anything more on the topic, Reese Witherspoon did the right thing by just coming out and apologizing.
While I’d love to think that this will be the new norm for celebrities when they get in trouble, I fear that all they’ll take from this story is that asking, “don’t you know who I am” will get you lots of fun headlines.