5 of the Most Half-Assed Celebrity Apologies in History

Sorry I did something bad to all you inconsequential little worms
5 of the Most Half-Assed Celebrity Apologies in History

Self-accountability is a powerful thing. It’s surprising how even the gravest offense can be smoothed over with thoughtful, genuine ownership of wrongdoing. All you have to do is be honest and human in your response, which might explain why celebrities have such an unimaginably hard time with it. Between the brain worms necessary to pursue a life of fame and the grubby fingers of highly paid PR firms, celebrity apologies tend to come off like a press release about a tragic accident at Willy Wonka’s factory.

Even with that relatively low bar, some celebrities still manage to earnestly present a pile of meaningless word salad that would bring a tear to a politician’s eye. After all, no one’s really mad at me, right? I’m Captain Jack Sparrow! My transgressions will surely fade away like lines in the sand, given another hit movie or two. It would be even more ill-informed if, sadly, it didn’t sometimes work because they’ve played a superhero that’s intensely connected to a bunch of nerds’ self-image.

Anyway, here are five absolutely quarter-assed apologies from celebrities…

Ellen DeGeneres

Humor is a great coping mechanism. It’s present, as long as done smartly, at all sorts of emotional turning points in human life. The right joke can even lighten the mood of something as serious as a funeral. An apology might be one of the only things that remains pretty much an impenetrable steel curtain when it comes to joking around, mainly because any joke made in this context is, by definition, going to be at the expense of the recipient.

That’s exactly what Ellen DeGeneres did during an on-air apology after the poorly-kept secret of her abusive workplace habits finally creaked out to the public. For people who hadn’t heard the rumors, it was even more shocking that the funny dancing dork from daytime TV was hurling all sorts of unpleasant invective at her employees behind the scenes. Not only did she decide to joke about it ruining her summer, but she also shouldered the accusations by saying basically, “Well, I guess you guys don’t think I’m such a nice lady anymore, huh?” 

The fact that she did it to applause, in front of a live audience of superfans that clearly had already judged it not worth skipping the recording, didn’t help.

Papa John

Public Domain

“Dont say it, dont say it…”

On some level, you kind of do want your pizza moguls to be big-time weirdos who live in basically a castle. On the other hand, you don’t want any of their idiosyncrasies to be “saying the n-word a whole lot.” If you’re dropping the n-bomb on a conference call, it’s pretty safe to assume that’s not your first time seeing how it felt leaving your mouth. 

You’d think Papa John’s would be familiar with apologies, since their whole business is apologizing for how shitty their pizza is with little tubs of garlic sauce and wet peppers. But the titular Papa, John Schnatter, didn’t exactly spackle things over seamlessly when his apology included that he had spent “20 months” trying to remove the slur from his vocabulary. It takes six weeks to recover from having your gallbladder out, but it’s taking you close to two years to cope with your slur-ectomy? 

Just in case someone with a brain that’s the texture of whale blubber believed him, he later released the audio to show that he used it in “context.” Shockingly, this proved an ineffective trump card.

Mario Batali

Lance Cheung

Beard making a really convincing argument for where your chin ends, bud.

We all could have guessed that Mario Batali’s decision-making was suspect when he decided that matching his crocs to his hair was a good style decision. Still, he achieved huge success for a long period of time as a Food Network and foodie darling. Romance-starved moms across the country snarfed up his Italian recipes like airport paperbacks of Eat Pray Love. So, it was a blow to amateur pasta artists everywhere when accusations of sexual misconduct by Batali reared their head. 

Cornered, what was a man who looks like the Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz if he was manning a Comic-Con booth 20 years past his prime, to do? Well, to apologize in a newsletter to his true believers. The apology wasn’t exactly poignant, but it wasn’t objectionable either. What more people took offense to was the fact that he tacked on a recipe for cinnamon rolls at the end of it. Pastry instructions aren’t a tornado warning, buddy. You can probably put that off for a day or two. Maybe take a hint from the last step of your own recipe and let things cool off a little first.

Logan Paul

Logan Paul’s life has been a limbo-like bar-lowering contest that has resulted in the mere mention of his name triggering sharp pains in the back of most average people’s skull. After becoming famous on Vine for, I assume pranks, that involve tripping mailmen or doing lots of pull-ups or whatever, his intolerable legacy has forever trudged on like an obnoxious Mars rover. Luckily, most of his bullshit sits comfortably in the realm of annoying, but ignorable. That changed with one ill-advised vlog. The vlog in question was filmed in Aokihagara in Japan, a forest also known as the “Sea of Trees,” and, more relevantly, the “Suicide Forest.”

It’s named this for the large number of people who travel to the forest to end their life. So when Paul decided to go there, wearing, of course, a stupid fucking hat, it’s not overly surprising that he came across the hanging corpse of a victim of mental illness. For most people, this might be a moment of clarity that this isn’t a content hotspot. Paul instead uploaded footage of the swinging remains to the internet, doing the departed only the insufficient honor of blurring out his face. He then tried to claim this was done to “raise awareness.” Wow, thanks. You might as well have somberly said, “Suicide is a bummer, dude” while spinning a lacrosse racket.

Colleen Ballinger

The most recent cringe-worthy apology is the one orchestrated by Colleen Ballinger, also known as “Miranda Sings.” This one, though, doesn’t suffer from lack of effort. In fact, it’s clear she put real time into crafting it. The problem is that it was delivered, inexplicably, in the form of a song performed on that most somber of instruments, the ukelele. At least break out the full-sized guitar for the mea culpa, lady, especially when the accusations are as serious as child grooming. What, was your kazoo in the shop?

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