Public Apologies: A Crisis Of Villainy

Whenever celebrities, politicians, any kind of “public figure” says or does anything that the media (usually fueled by we the people) deems wrong, they’re forced to either tweet, blog or have a press conference to state their public apology. No matter what they’ve done wrong, if it was a wayward remark, unintentionally poor language or beating up a paparazzi while drunk, they’re pretty much forced to come forward and say “Yes, I screwed up, I apologize/it won’t happen again/etc.”

And then we throw that apology right back in their faces and call them a liar, critique the way they delivered it and forget about it in three months time.

Say what?

Recently, Jonah Hill was the subject of some scrutiny after a reporter harrassed him all day and he then lost his temper and proceeded to call the reporter a “f**got.” The reason why I’m using this as an example is pure personal bias—after reading his apology, I’ve realized that it’s the only one in recent memory that I actually believe, that I feel was delivered with real sincerity and wasn’t just a “Godd***it, they caught me, I guess I have to say something now,” or a “Let’s see if I can weasel out of this one without actually saying the word ‘sorry.’”

Apparently, however, the Internet doesn’t agree with me, as comments on various articles mainly consist of, “God, I can’t believe he used the standard ‘I have gay friends,’ what a loser, that’s so low,” and “He’s such a liar, I won’t be seeing another one of his movies,” or “He sucks.” They’re all pretty light on “Good on him for taking responsibility and apologizing.”

At the same time, I’ve seen celebrities apologize with simple, but sincere-seeming “I’m sorry, I was having a bad day, it won’t happen again,” or “My bad, I don’t have an excuse, but I’m sorry,” in countless variations. And still we throw these back in these people’s faces, claiming they’re faking it, they’re lying, they’re just terrible human beings, the list goes on.

So why do we put these people up on these enormous pedestals if we’re so determined to knock them down for the slightest indiscretion, and worse, if we’re equally determined not to listen to anything they have to say about it? Because really, after someone screws up, that’s when we should be listening the most attentively. What someone says and does when the chips are down says alot more about their character than what they loudly proclaim from the top of the pyramid.

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