Top 5 Worst Celebrity Apology Strategies

February 20, 2010

So, Tiger Woods came out of hiding today and apologized for cheating on his wife, and snatching back the hope he once gave to millions of ill-fated kids and, most importantly, made sure to completely denounce the claim made by media (is that me?) that he took performance-enhancing drugs…because nothing, he tells us, nothing contributed more to his sick addiction than he, himself. Good job, Tiger? And then he cried, but no tears came out. Having said that, his “I’m Sorry” didn’t suck. Too much. And in honor of that, I’ve decided not to write anything original – after all, Tiger’s done inspiring us children! – and instead, will repost an article I wrote way back in July when Chris Brown was who we hated the most. Here ’tis:

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On Monday, Chris Brown issued the long-awaited, yet completely anti-climactic, apology to ex-girlfriend Rihanna. The two-minute video did nothing if not prove that a mock neck looks good on no one but a man of God (Coincidence? I think not!) and that the boy can read from a cue-card like no other singer-turned-actor. In lieu of his botched attempt at exuding sincerity and regret, GIANT gives you the guide to Celebrities and the Art of the Public Apology.

Rule No. 1: Sing a Song
Like Akon. In April 2007, during a performance in Trinidad, Akon told the audience that he was going to have a dance off, and the winning young woman would receive a trip to Africa. The problem? “Africa” is the pet name for his junk, and the recipient of all the simulated sex (see: dry-humping) was a 14-year-old.

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So, he did what any self-respecting singer would do. He released a song entitled “Blame It On Me,” but instead, pointed the finger at everyone else.

“Just a little young girl trying to have fun / Her daddy should never let her out that young / I’m sorry for Club Zen getting shut down / I hope they manage better next time around / How was I to know she was underage / In a 21 and older club they say”

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Rule No. 2: Recruit Back-Up
In November 2006, during a performance at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood, comedian Michael Richards (better known as Kramer from Seinfeld) addressed a pair of hecklers by stopping his act, alienating them in front of the audience, and subsequently calling them “niggers” repeatedly, amidst some references to lynching.

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He then appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, with Jerry Seinfeld acting as a buffer (and serving up some grade-A playground support: “Don’t laugh! It’s not funny!”) and delivered an apology full of awkward silences. Or was that comedic timing?

2a. In this case: Ironically use a questionably racist term while apologizing for unquestionably racist behavior. “Afro-Americans?”

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Rule No. 3: Always Call Al Sharpton
Michael Richards did! Well, actually, an apology was demanded out of him, but still, not even Mexican Presidents are immune from confronting Al Sharpton. He’s like the People’s Choice, but involuntarily. In April 2007, while discussing the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, radio personality Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University team as “some nappy-headed ho’s.” He then appeared on Al Sharpton’s syndicated radio talk show to express his regret, to which the host asked that he be fired. Less then two weeks later, Imus’ show was cancelled. Bad news initially, yes, but when it comes to Sharpton, it can be expected that in the forthcoming months, he will use every media outlet necessary to broadcast his take on the subject at hand. So much so that the real culprit fades into the background.

3a. If Sharpton’s outta town, there’s always Jesse Jackson.

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Rule No. 4: Throw Your Friends Under the Bus
Take note of celebrity pseudo-friendships. When Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson performed together during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in February 2004, he tore open her top, exposing her right breast (and her affinity for odd nipple jewelry). Though the two claimed it to be a “wardrobe malfunction,” no one could ignore the fact that it was done while Timberlake sang the lyric, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” As a result, CBS would only allow Jackson and Timberlake to appear during the 46th Grammy Awards ceremony if they each made a public apology to the network. Though Jackson refused, Timberlake obliged and went on to win two awards that night. Jackson stayed home and her boyfriend Jermaine Dupri resigned from his position on the Grammy Awards committee.

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When Jennifer Lopez caught flack for her not-so-tasteful language in the 2001 remix of “I’m Real,” in which she sang: “People be screamin’ ‘What’s the deal with you and so-and-so?’ / I tell them niggas mind their biz but they don’t hear me, though,” she deflected the attention (and blame) off of her and onto rapper Ja Rule, claiming he had written all the lyrics.

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Rule No. 5: Diagnose Yourself
In 2001, Mariah Carey invaded MTV’s TRL, pushing an ice cream cart, wearing high heels and a pajama shirt, and looking all sorts of cracky. Immediately after, the press was all over her, questioning the odd behavior. What did she claim to be the reason? Exhaustion. The same excuse Lindsay Lohan used after being admitted to the hospital while filming Georgia Rule – a movie set she often failed to arrive to on time (or at all). And it served as the same creative response Amy Winehouse’s PR people gave us when canceling her performances mid-tour, but only after the surfacing of a few of her slurred-singing videos, a severe weight loss, and a sudden collapse. That’s right, folks. As a last resort, cite severe, crippling (convenient) exhaustion for all your immoral, inexcusable actions.

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