Even for celebrities, not all press is always good press. Taking a break from hearing about the antics of Miley Cyrus’s European Tour, Justin Bieber has come back to grab the negative media spot light. Fans were shocked after a video of him was leaked, making racist jokes and using the n-word over and over again. Understandably, Bieber and his team have released an apology that is less than stellar.
This lackluster apology is unfortunately only one in a line of apologies that have fallen short of their intended audience or sincerity. With all the forms of social media and power at the finger tips of celebrities, it should be easy to make a sincere, thoughtful apology to their fans, and those they have wronged. Here is a list of the most lackluster celebrity apologies. Apologies that either missed the mark, weren’t sincere, or were clearly done by a team of managers, all show that saying sorry is in fact, not that easy.
10) Shia LaBeouf 2014
Earlier this year, it came to light that the premise for LaBeouf’s short film was blatantly plagiarized from comic artist, Daniel Clowes. Comic fans were outraged after seeing LaBeouf’s HowardCantour.com which stole the plot, dialogue and visual from Clowes’ 2007 piece, Justin M. Damiano. To apologize to the artist who was unaware of the theft, LaBeouf hired a skywriting company to spell out “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” over LA on New Years Day. Not only was the apology short and tacky, but Clowes lives in the Bay Area, making it impossible to have seen the “apology”.
9) Mel Gibson 2006
Who can forget the great racist and anti-Semitic rant of drunk actor Mel Gibson? After his DUI arrest, a four page police report documented the rantings of the drunk actor and his anti-Semitic remarks, aimed at the arresting officers and Jewish Community. In one remark, Gibson exclaimed; “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”. It was comments like this one, and some much worse, that led Gibson to publicly make an apology about his rantings and behavior towards the arresting officers. While the apology focuses far too much on only the incident around his arrest, Gibson turns on the cringe factor, adding insult to injury by asking members of the Jewish faith to help him deal with his drinking issues.
8) David Letterman 2009
David Letterman is an American late-night staple. In 2009, it came out that Letterman was being extorted after having sex with a women who worked on his show. He decided to come clean on his own talk show, apologizing to his fans, wife and crew members who had been harassed by the media. The apology was met with mixed feelings. While the extortion was very real, many wondered why he apologized on his own show. On the same note, many crew members and insiders were surprised his affair(s) didn’t come out sooner.
7) Alec Baldwin 2007
Alec Baldwin made headlines when the angry and humiliating voice-mail that he left his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, was leaked to the press. In the middle of a custody battle with Ireland’s mother, Baldwin in NYC, was calling his daughter in LA at a set time when she knew he would be calling. When the phone call went to voice-mail, Baldwin vented his frustrations calling his daughter “rude, a little pig and a worthless human being.” When the voice-mail got out, Baldwin went on The View to apologize for his actions. While he seemed to convince the ladies on The View of his sincerity, it was to his fans he was reaching, not his young daughter.
6) Lance Armstrong 2013
Lance Armstrong single-handedly got Americans excited about the Tour-De-France. After his incredible seven wins, Armstrong was a hero to those of his sport and cancer survivors. After his retirement and incredible success, it came out that the vocally-opposed to steroid-use biker had cheated his way to winning his multiple Championships. In his interview with Oprah, Armstrong played the sore looser. Oprah herself said the cyclist did not come clean in the manner she expected. Instead, Armstrong claimed the Tour-De-France was impossible to win without doping, and that most cyclists in the race were doping as well.
5) John Mayer 2012
In a interview with Playboy magazine, singer John Mayer dropped the n-word. When published, the article presented a very nonintellectual and racist side of Mayer. To apologize for the bad press from the article, Mayer broke down after his song “Gravity” and apologized for his use of the n-word and trying to be something he was not. He cited his African-American band members who were still on stage with him, as seeing who he truly was. He continued to ramble on for a few more minutes, but ultimately treated his Nashville fans to a pity party.
4) Tiger Woods 2010
For a long time, Tiger Woods had been one of Golf’s greatest players. Additionally, he made the most headlines when the price of his lavish wedding was released. He was considered a wholesome athlete, until it came out that he was cheating on his wife with not one, but upwards of 14 mistresses. What followed was a very staged and rehearsed apology where Woods’ words were chosen very carefully and he outlined plans to work through his problems. Reportedly, a handpicked group of 40 interviewers were there to listen and ask questions. To top it off, the apology ended with an appearance from his mother, claiming how proud she was of her son.
3) Paula Deen 2014
The famous Southern cook and Butter advocate came under duress when it came out that she had publicly used the n-word in the past. After being subsequently dropped from the Food Network, and all of her endorsement deals, Paula Deen went on an apology mission. What may have started off as a sincere apology became too much, as Deen used every venue possible to make amends for her past mistakes. Most notably, Deen stopped the South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami to make one last apology, where food Star Robert Irvine told her to be done with apologizing.
2) Kanye West 2009
Who can ever forget that fateful moment when Kanye West jumped on stage to grab the mic before Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Swift, who was collecting her award for Best Female Music Video, was interrupted by the rapper. Mic in hand, West ignored Swift and exclaimed that Beyonce had one of the best music videos of all time and deserved the award. Needless to say, West was not only disrespectful, but hurt Swift and her fans. Kanye went on Jay Leno to apologize for all the negativity by claiming “I’m not crazy y’all, I’m just real. Sorry for that! I really feel bad for Taylor and I’m sincerely sorry! Much respect!” He also apologized to Swift’s mother.
1) Justin Bieber 2014
As if Justin Bieber wasn’t facing enough problems with the law, a video surfaced this week of the singer making racist jokes and profusely using the n-word. Bieber’s team, not the Bieber himself, released a missive today, apologizing for the use of the n-word. What makes this apology so lackluster is the point that this video was made when Bieber was a boy and as he is now a man, he understands the problem with what he said. The ‘man’ who is facing charges for drag racing drunk, egging someone’s house and disrespecting Anne Frank, doesn’t seem to be more mature than when those jokes were said.