I don’t know if you guys know this, but Monday, July 21st is National ‘Get Out Of The Doghouse Day’, so if you’ve done something you shouldn’t, feel free to take advantage of that holiday to get back into someone’s good graces. Or, if you’re Jason Biggs, go ahead and celebrate early by cranking out a really crappy apology for something dumb you did, and hope that does the trick.
As you may recall, Jason did some insensitive tweeting yesterday about the Malaysian Airlines flight that exploded over the Ukraine. People reacted to it accordingly, and after defending his tweets for a while, Jason bailed on that idea and just deleted them, posting the following half-assed apology:
“People were offended, and that was not my intent. Sorry to those of you that were. This is obviously a horrible tragedy, and everyone-including myself- is sad and angry about it. Sending positive thoughts to the victims and their families. P.S. No one is making me send these tweets- I simply understand that my comments might have come off as insensitive and ill-timed. For that, I apologize.”
Uh huh, sure. If you’re gonna be controversial, the least you can do is A. be funny and B. stand behind your choices! You don’t have to apologize if you don’t mean it, and I can sense the eye-rolling throughout this particular apology from here.
And unfortunately, that disingenuousness is all-too-common in the celebrity apology world. It’s true that we’re all hyper-sensitive to offense right now — which is why it’s perfectly acceptable to stand behind something you’ve said! — but if you’re really going to apologize, you might as well do it right.
So in case you’re planning on becoming a celebrity yourself, and you have a penchant for being a dumbass on occasion (don’t we all?), we ranked ten celebrity apologies so that you can learn from the best…and the worst.
1. Hugh Grant
In my whole life, I don’t know if I’ll see a better apology than the one Hugh issued after his arrest for lewd conduct with a prostitute in 1995. He went on The Tonight Show for a previously-scheduled interview promoting his movie 9 Months, and took full responsibility for his actions:
“I think you know in life what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing, and I did a bad thing. And there you have it.”
He plead no contest to the charges against him, and based on the fact that he was so honest and genuine, he was able to continue his very successful career.
2. Reese Witherspoon
After Reese was arrested for disorderly conduct and dropped the ‘Do you know my name? You’re about to find out’ line, she perfectly rescued the situation with her polished statement, in which she acknowledges that there’s no excuse for her behavior:
“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.”
And then she followed that up with a second apology on Good Morning America, the video for which is above. Anyone who can sit quietly while they’re being scolded on camera and then earnestly apologize for their poor judgement is okay in my book.
3. Jonah Hill
When Jonah used a homophobic slur against a paparazzo, I was pretty disgusted. But in his apology, he did an excellent job of acknowledging that no matter how he meant it, that word is never okay to use:
“I’m not at all defending my choice of words, but I am happy to be the poster boy for thinking about what you say, and how those words, even if you don’t intend them in how they mean, they are rooted in hate, and that’s bullshit, and I shouldn’t have said that.”
He later apologized again to Jimmy Fallon, and he continued to seem genuine.
4. John Travolta
I wasn’t particularly impressed one way or the other with John’s Frozen-themed apology to Idina Menzel for messing up her name at the Oscars. I mostly just wanted to put this in here to remind everyone that YOU DON’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR THINGS THAT ARE AMAZING.
When Pharrell appropriated Native American culture to wear a feathered headdress in a shoot for Elle, he seemed really confused that it bothered people, so his apology has no depth or content to it. It’s not offensive in its own right, but it’s one sentence long and says absolutely nothing.
6. Justin Bieber
When those videos leaked of Justin repeatedly using the n-word in extremely racist scenarios, the gist of his apology was that he was a kid then…but now he’s a man. Oh really? Cause I thought you were a nineteen-year old who still eggs houses.
“As a kid, I didn’t understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt. I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance. Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologized for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all those I have offended. I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again.”
7. Paula Deen
Oh my god this video. I love it so much, but only because it’s so terrible. When Paula got called out on racism, she took an incredibly long time to hire any kind of PR firm, instead putting out this bizarre, strangely-edited apology video with long pauses and way too much makeup, only to delete it from the channel shortly afterward. Pull it together girl.
8. Alec Baldwin
Alec has had a lot to say sorry for over the years, but I think the apology of his that fell flattest was after he got homophobic with a reporter who said his wife was tweeting during James Gandolfini‘s funeral. He said it wasn’t homophobic at all, even though it clearly was, which makes it obvious he wasn’t taking responsibility for his error.
“My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation. My anger was directed at Mr. Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend’s funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize.”
Yeah okay. That’s why you called him a queen and said he’d probably like it if you stuck your foot up his ass. I gotcha.
9. Shia LaBeouf
How could we leave the master of all apologies off this list? I hardly even know where to begin with Shia, because even if he apologized for one thing, he’d just have to apologize again for plagiarizing that apology. And on and on and on into forever.
10. Chris Brown
As Chris Brown can teach you, sometimes when you do the worst thing ever, like beat your girlfriend Rihanna‘s face in, sometimes you don’t have to apologize at all! You can give her an apology song called ‘Fuck For The Road’ if you want, but pretty much it should be fine to at some point expect the entire world to be over it, even though you’ve never truly taken responsibility.
“Being famous is amazing when it’s for ur music and talent. I’m tired of being famous for a mistake I made when i was 18. I’m cool & over it!”
Great. Glad to hear it. Facepalm.