20! Think about 20! Don’t think about 17!

Highpoint Church/YouTube.

It was 20 years ago.

The Washington Post headline: “A pastor admitted a past sexual incident with a teen. His congregation gave him a standing ovation.” Others also focused on the applause. “Pastor admits to ‘sexual incident’ with teen 20 years ago, gets standing ovation” said CBS News. Newsweek also headlined the applause, calling it a “bizarre response.”

That sounded peculiar. The stories said the pastor had apologized. So SorryWatch bravely viewed the entire hour-and-17-minute YouTube video of the service in question, praise songs and all. It began to make more sense. The congregation didn’t get the whole story.

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Woody Allen sorry/not sorry roundup

In 1993, Woody Allen was publicly accused of sexually assaulting his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was seven. (At the time, a psychiatrist sided with Allen; a judge sided with Dylan, Mia, and Ronan Farrow; and a prosector said there was evidence to proceed with criminal charges but declined to file them to “spare Dylan.”)

Last month, Dylan wrote a piece for the LA Times questioning how actors who are purportedly all-in on #metoo could justify working with Allen. She specifically named Kate Winslet, who was quick to call out the “gross misconduct of one of our most important and well-regarded film producers” (that would be Harvey Weinstein) but said of Allen, “I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film [Wonder Wheel, which is now playing but I know nothing about because suck it Woody Allen and also you haven’t actually made a good movie since Hannah and Her Sisters] you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false…Woody Allen is an incredible director.” Farrow named Blake Lively, who said of Weinstein, “It’s important that we don’t stand for this…[t]his is unacceptable,” but of Allen, whom she repeatedly defended during and after the making of Cafe Society in 2016, she said, “It’s very dangerous to factor in things you don’t know anything about.” And Farrow named Greta Gerwig, who called the revelations about Weinstein “heartbreaking” and “overdue,” but when asked directly about working with Allen on To Rome With Love in 2012, said “You know…I think I’m living in that space of fear of being worried about how I talk about it and what I say.” Of course you are.

Farrow had written an earlier piece for the New York Times in 2014, detailing her story and asking, “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?” Continue reading

Posted in Celebrity Apologies, Good apologies, Non-apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments



Comedian Paul Scheer — you know his face even if you’re “buh?” on his name — is one of those Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) guys who’s guest-starred in everything: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Veep, Fresh Off the Boat, Parks and Rec, Party Down, Funny Or Die, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Ten Years Later, Drunk History (Carl Sagan!) and he was the voice of the rhino in Kung Fu Panda. Also he was in The Disaster Artist, so maybe if he has James Franco’s number he can call and give him some pointers for the (probably shitty) apology we know is coming.

This guy.

ANYHOO. Scheer’s mea culpa. On Twitter. Is superb. The thread starts here: Continue reading

Posted in Funny-on-Purpose Apologies, Good apologies, Literary Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

A two-part apology for sexual harassment, six years later

The show was way better than this ad for it would lead one to believe.

On New Year’s Eve, Dan Harmon, creator of the show Community (“Troy and Abed in the mooooorning!”) tweeted this.

Two days later, at 2:11 am, Megan Ganz, a writer on Community, tweeted this:

Hmm. That afternoon, Harmon tweeted a response to her. Six years late is better than never!

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Posted in Addiction Apologies, Bropology, Celebrity Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Career suicide

screen grab

Logan Paul in Tokyo.

Logan Paul has been successful in careers that recently didn’t exist, like “YouTube vlogger,” or that recently didn’t exist and now don’t exist again, like “Vine star.” He’s also tried perennial categories like “actor” and “just started a band!” He’s now 22.

The YouTube part of this consisted of daily videos of Paul acting goofy with various pals. Recently he decided to go to Japan with a few goofy side-kicks and post videos from there. These featured him running around Tokyo waving an octopus tentacle, mugging about how you gotta “respect the culture,” running through traffic in Pokemon costumes, teasing shopkeepers (“mucho broken”), exclaiming “Tokyo is a real live cartoon!”, and dressing in embroidered coat and conical straw hat.

The website Kotaku looked at some of these and translated remarks by people confronted by Paul: “Annoying foreigner,” “dumb American,” “You’re bothering Japanese people,” and “You should never be allowed to leave your own country” are a few.

But — maybe you heard — it got much worse.

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Hey hey! Ho ho! The NRA has got to go! Have a sweet roll!

Photo: Lance Cheung. https://www.flickr.com/photos/41284017@N08/7263258612 Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Batali in 2012. Sorry about the behavior.

Usually, when people apologize twice, they do better the second time. Not always. Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Mario Batali recently stepped down from managing his businesses. He’s also not appearing on the food show The Chew, while ABC ponders whether to keep him. ABC said they only just heard the allegations about Batali committing acts of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against numerous women. (Including one who was unconscious.) After receiving a petition with thousands of signatures, Target announced they’d stop carrying his cookbooks. Nor will he be catering the SorryWatch awards fest.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Celebrity Apologies, Culinary Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You won’t have to ride the bus with THOSE PEOPLE

When a small business places an advertisement, they usually hope to attract customers. Not hate mail, boycotts, hearings, subpoenas, and people digging into their past.

So ads should be carefully worded. And if a business owner is moved to make the copy more… dynamic, maybe they should reconsider that.

Suburban Express is a bus company running 3 large buses and half a dozen smaller ones, ferrying people from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to Chicago.

Take a look at their recent email ad. We bet you can see the problem.

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Shut up and let’s heal

Helpful Dr. Larry

When Dr. Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct last week in Michigan, he was facing 7 counts. Three of the crimes were against girls under 13, the rest against girls between 13 and 15. Nassar was an osteopathic physician seeing patients – rising gymnasts – through USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and the Twistars gymnastics club. He was an Olympics team physician. He regularly and repeatedly molested girls under the guise of treatment.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced in January, and additional victims are to be allowed to speak about the impact of his actions against them. Because there are more who’ve come forward. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN of them. Even more are speaking up now that it’s all in the open. Some have been encouraged by the attention given to the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The number of his crimes and the many years during which he got away with it are horrifying. In court, he asked if he could make a statement. The word “sorry” appeared. Would that apology help?

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When the Army takes your mother’s side

In one of those “One Hundred Years Ago” columns newspapers sometimes run, SorryWatch came across an interesting 1917 account of a soldier, Thomas J. Ryan, whose mother was having a hard time letting go.

Ryan was stationed at the Presidio Army Base in San Francisco. Reportedly he “was always getting into trouble” and “his mother was always getting him out of it.” How? Maybe the Army listened to mothers more then?

Photo: Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard. “Louis Dodier as a prisoner, 1847.” Public domain.

Thanks, MOM.

Ryan got into trouble again. They tossed him in the guardhouse. His mother wrote to him, pleading with him to straighten up and fly right.

He wrote right back, “You mind your own business. I never want to hear from you again.”

Oh yeah? Sez you, Sonny. Watch this!

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Apologies are awkward

One reason so many apologies are terrible is that apologizing well is HARD. Look how excruciatingly awkward John’s apology to Karen is. Karen was right to be angry when John impugned her fishing and swimming.

Bravo to John for apologizing in person, and for giving Karen the opportunity to close the door in his face. Less good, however, is John’s failure to say up front what it is he is apologizing for. (Good for Karen, letting him squirm like that and not leaping in to fill the conversational silences. DRAG HIM, KAREN.) He eventually does get the words out, but it takes a while, and naming your sin is an important part of good apologies.

If John had thought ahead about what he planned to say, and rehearsed in front of a mirror, this could have been far less awkward. He could have demonstrated that he understood just HOW he knows that she is a good hunter and swimmer (by pointing out, say, that penguins can hold their breath for six minutes underwater, while polar bears can only do so for two minutes, or he could have noted how effectively her supraorbital gland filters saltwater from her bloodstream as she fishes, or he could have indicated that he is totally jazzed by the series of spines pointing down her throat that allow her to ingest krill without chewing). Instead he stammers out that she’s good at catching “little fishes” and says that her hunting isn’t really important to him, which is kind of condescending?

But you know what? It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what Karen thinks, and Karen is willing to forgive and go to the movies with him on Saturday, so you go girl. (It matters what other people think if John broke the law — if he was abusing Karen, or if Karen were an underage penguin —  in which case her forgiveness could be noted in criminal proceedings but is not the final word. But it sounds more like he was a boorish bearish dick, maybe trying to act like a big macher in front of the other wildlife at the bar.)

I am hopeful. I want those two crazy kids to be happy together. But KAREN, if he insults you again, you kick his vanilla ass to the curb and go clubbing like a baby seal.

Also, I hate to be a wet glacier, but I do have to say that I am unsure about the long-term prospects for this relationship, what with Karen living in the Antarctic and John living in the Arctic. But stranger things have happened! I’m a New Yorker who dated a San Francisco raver for much of the ’90s and now we have two children so I AM ROOTING FOR YOU, JOHN AND KAREN!

Hat tip to Friend of SorryWatch Aviva W. for the heads up.

Editor’s Note, 11/26: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that Karen lives in the Arctic and John lives in the Antarctic. SorryWatch regrets the error. DAMMIT.

Posted in Animals and Apologies, Funny-on-Purpose Apologies, Good apologies, TV and Movie Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments