The John Mayer apology was issued during a concert in Nashville (February
2010), a few days after the following statement was made during a Playboy
"Someone asked me the other day, 'What does it feel like now to
have a hood pass?' And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in
terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n****r
pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you
really have a hood pass? But I said, I can't really have a hood pass.
I've never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told,
Mayer was also forced to apologize to actress Holly Robinson Peete for
statements he made about her in the very same Playboy interview.
John Mayer Apology #1
"Re: using the 'N word' in an interview: I am sorry that I used
the word. And its such a shame that I did because the point I was
trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It
was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it, because I
realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally
Later that month on a stage in Nashville, the John Mayer apology continued:
"In the quest to be clever I completely forgot about the people I
love and the people that love me," he said from the stage. "I decided I
would be as clever as possible all the time and I did that at the
expense of people I love and that feels absolutely terrible."
You can see/hear his Nashville apology in the video below:
And then, in subsequent posts on the internet, Mayer added to his apology:
"I should have never said the word and I will never say it again."
Finally, in a Rolling Stone interview (in January), the multi-layered John Mayer apology acknowledged how difficult it is for him to avoid making similar mistakes:
"I will continue to make these worldwide dignity mistakes as often as it
takes to not make them anymore."
John Mayer Apology #2
During the very same playboy interview, Mayer went on to
offer personal opinions (generalizations?) about how beautiful African American
women are, and then complimented Holly Robinson Peete for being so gorgeous.
Robinson Peete was initially flattered by the compliment,
until she read the entire racially charged interview.
As she explains,
"I was disgusted and offended....I foolishly and impulsively commented (to
E!) on a sound bite from an interview that was sent to me by a girlfriend and I
didn't know the context at all. Clearly, after I understood how John Mayer's
comments were bookended by racial insensitivities and this racially charged,
rambling diatribe that denigrated black women, it became a whole other
animal....I feel disgusted by it. I went from flattered to flat-out pissed."
When Robinson Peete was asked
whether the John Mayer apology was directed
at her personally, she offered the following admission:
"...He was very remorseful about the fact that I was inadvertently
tangled up into this mess. He reached out to me via email.... He did not
apologize for his comments.... At this point, it doesn't feel right for
me to totally accept his apology. It's time for him to really just drop
the frat boy act and take responsibility for everything that he said, no
matter how painful it's going to be for him."
It is tough to separate the two mistakes (and many believe he made more
than two in this particular interview).
With respect to his apology for using the "n" word, and his
subsequent statements/actions in public and on stage, it appears to the PA
team that Mayer did understand the magnitude of his mistake, accepted
responsibility for them, and followed up with genuine efforts to convey his
sorrow and a commitment to change.
However, with respect to the John Mayer
apology to Robinson Peete and African American women more generally, if
Peete hasn't accepted the apology who are we to question her assessment?