Making public apologies is a consequence of
being in the public eye and making mistakes is a part of being human. So
when that mistake is broadcast across the media, so must be the apologyand
the last few months and years are a testament to being human and apologizing.
Just ask the
Pope, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Mark Foley, Michael Richards, Miss America
. and the list goes on and on...
There have been so many
masterfully crafted public apologies by various personalities in the last
several months that before we even finished discussing Tom Cruise's apology
to Brooke Shields over her use of anti-depressants to control postpartum
depression, Mark Foley came along with an 'apology' delivered by his lawyers
for his sexual antics over email.
The statement claimed that he was gay,
abused by a clergyman as a teenager, and had problems with alcoholit remains a mystery to most intelligent observers how any of
this is even remotely relevant to engaging underage congressional pages in
sexually explicit computer messages.
Some major mistakes, such as
Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks to the California police officers, are
apparently not that difficult to correcthis new movie Apocalypto is doing
very well despite the public backlash against his remarks.
however, can be extremely difficult to correctsuch as Pope Benedict XVI's
obscure quotation from a 14th-Century Christian emperor in a speech at a
German university in September, 2006.
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and
there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to
spread by the sword the faith he preached."
The Pope was accused of insulting followers of the Islamic faith and,
more importantly, the Prophet Mohammed himself for violent elements within
Keep in mind that almost all of these celebrities and public
figures have spin doctors and well-paid publicists backed by huge public
relations firms. That is why their public apologies are so fascinating to
witness. If these people and their experts miss the mark sometimes then what
hope is there for us? Even the largest public relations firms will mess up
occasionally and overlook the
straightforward strategies outlined in this web site.
Not all of the public apologies we witnessed in the last few years were ineffective, some
did seem sincere and genuinely heartfelt, but most illustrated the fine art
of avoiding an apologythey failed to include
many of the ingredients reviewed in
other sections of this website.
The most notable "non-apology" in 2006 goes to Rush
Limbaugh and his efforts to backtrack after confronting Michael J. Fox for
"exaggerating the effects of Parkinson's disease."
I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I
will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his
behavior on this commercial as an act."
In other words, IF I am wrong I will apologize. Of course, there
is really no obvious and easy way to confirm or refute the thesis, so the
issue died. Rush Limbaugh lost very few supporters as a result of this
mistake, and even less sleep.
As far as we're concerned, we couldn't have
asked for better times as far as public apologies go. We were able to
learn so much from how these public figures handled their situations and
were reminded that to err is human AND frequent.
Or, read an interesting article on...
John Kerry and Political Apologies.
Or, return from...
Public Apologies to Famous Apologies