Extending a public apology is not very different from delivering a private one—the ingredients of any effective apology remain the same. The only real difference is that some of these apologies can become famous in their own right, or make others infamous for screwing up.
A public apology delivered by celebrities and other well-known figures in the news and popular culture has an uncanny way of reminding us that 'to err' really is human. It really doesn't matter who you are, at some point anyone can find themselves in the doghouse for something they said or did.
This section of the site will explore, comment on, and review some of the best and worst public apologies ever delivered so that we may all gain a better understand of what to do and more importantly what NOT to do.
Public apologies know no boundaries. They extend from the Vatican, to the US Senate, to sports icons, corporations, Hollywood, and beyond.
Whether these apologies succeed or fail, a great deal can be learned from them, because they often provide great insight into the art of delivering the perfect apology.
By examining cases of how public figures succeed and/or fail to apologize we can better understand our own chances of being forgiven.
Given the sorry state of public apologies, even the media is sometimes interested in figuring out what's going on. Read a Q & A session we had a few years back with a reporter from the Sacramento Bee on apologies in the media.
As apologies continue to get media coverage, we are getting more requests for our take on things and why the American public in particular is so interested in these mea culpas—and given the amount of breaches and CEO dismissals these days, corporate apologies in particular.
The fact that people in the public eye have well paid publicists supported by huge public relations firms makes their apologies so fascinating to witness and study. If these people can't deliver a proper apology (or public apology) then what hope is there for the rest of us?
What we've learned through all of this is that even large Public Relations firms can screw up by missing the point, making excuses, and by overlooking the straightforward strategies outlined on this site.
The #MeToo movement offers further insight into what works and what doesn't, with many prominent men and public figures apologizing for their sexual misconduct in an annotated article titled Mea Culpa. Kinda Sorta. from the New York Times.
While on the topic, we've compiled a complete listing of quotes for Bill Clinton's public apologies following the Monica Lewinsky affair back in the late 90's.
It will be interesting to see if we, or anyone else, will ever need to compile a list of Donald Trump apologies.
Check back often for new reviews of the most interesting famous apologies. By seeing what they did right and what they did wrong, these types of unique or crisis driven apologies teach us how we can apologize more effectively.