Taking responsibility, owning up to one’s shortcomings, and expressing remorse — no matter how you look at it, apologizing is never easy. Nonetheless, an “I’m sorry” has to be handled with some finesse, or it can come off badly — very badly — and these absolute worst apologies of all time are proof of that. Part of the reason these apologies that went wrong are so, well, wrong, is that instead of offering a simple, contrite statement of regret and ownership, the remorseful parties have tried to explain away their awful behavior. And awfulness tends to defy logic, so in trying to apply logic to awfulness, the contrite have instead been left flailing by their own inability to a say a simple “I’m sorry” and to then shut up.

From sexual harassment to suicide and from human rights abuses to criminal infractions, the worst apologies ever involve some of the biggest scandals of modern time. And, unfortunately, the memory of these scandals and their lingering effects continue. When no one takes adequate responsibility, wounds remain open, and recrimination and backlash fester. Read on for some terrible celebrity apologies that don’t cut it, no matter what way you slice it.

Logan Paul Said He Wanted To Raise Suicide Awareness

Photo: Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Few apologies have blown up social media like YouTube star Logan Paul’s attempts to salvage his career and dignity after posting an appallingly tone-deaf video after an equally tone-deaf and completely harmful one. In early 2018, Paul documented his trip into a Japanese “suicide forest”, an outdoor space known for being a hotspot for suicides. When he came upon a body dangling from a tree, he and his cohorts made jokes about the situation. The backlash was swift, and fierce. And Paul’s initial apology didn’t help matters in the least:

“I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

So, you didn’t do this for views? You did this “to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention”? If that’s the case, then the world is waiting to hear how much money you made off that video and the subsequent apology so that you can can donate it to a suicide prevention organization.

Kevin Spacey Came Out

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Kevin Spacey’s apology for allegations that he sexually molested actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was a teenager could very well be considered The Worst Apology of All Time. Not only was it insulting to Rapp, but it was insulting to LGBTQ people the world over, the struggles they’ve faced, and the progress society has (slowly) made.

“I owe [Rapp] the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,”

Spacey’s statement read.

This displays a galling lack of insight or ownership; molestation is not just “inappropriate drunken behavior” — it goes far beyond that. But Spacey wasn’t done screwing up his “I’m-sorry.” He continued: “I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”

Lumping your coming-out into a sexual assault apology is the height of deflection, and it’s also dangerous. Enemies of the LGBTQ community have long tried to paint them all as child molesters, and Spacey fed directly into that damaging narrative. Way to fail spectacularly at Apologizing 101, Spacey.

The American Government Apologized To Native Americans By Giving The Worst Imaginable Peace Offerings

Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

When it comes to human rights abuses, one of the most egregious in American history was the treatment of Native Americans during the early years of the United States. Recognizing that genocide wasn’t exactly good PR, the government “apologized” to the native community by giving them pox-infested blankets and tiny slivers of land known as reservations.

In 2010, a more official apology was included in an unlikely source: tucked into a massive spending bill that few people ever even saw. And while that apology sounded nice, it included this: nothing in the apology “authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.” So…it was an apology without an acknowledgement of wrongdoing? That’s not an apology at all. America, do better

Equifax Continued To Create A Bigger Mess

Photo: Got Credit/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

After a 2017 data breach that may have compromised up to 143 million social security numbers, you’d think Equifax would be on their knees asking for forgiveness while simultaneously doing anything they could to salvage the wreckage and save their clients’ personal information. Instead, they set up a site for members to easily punch in their SSN’s and access their information… which was immediately duplicated by phishers who then doubled down on their robbery. While the company at first denied the extent of the breach, they eventually were formed to cop to it, but even then the solutions offered were sparse. As USA Today reported, the breach “…may put victims at risk of identity theft for the rest of their lives.”

Mario Batali Shared A Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Photo: Lance Cheung/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

As the gates opened and more and more sexual assault and harassment victims felt safe to come forward, many men with questionable past behavior were thrust into the spotlight in ways they’ve never been. One of the first to be accused was the Croc-wearing, man-bunned celebrity chef Mario Batali. This wasn’t Batali’s first time at the “gross & unethical” rodeo; he’s been accused of icky things in the past, like stealing tips from his own employees. But the sexual harassment allegations were among the most serious claims he’d had to address.

Unfortunately, he didn’t really address them in any meaningful way. Batali sent out a newsletter to his subscribers, offering a half-assed apology along with a — wait for it — recipe for cinnamon rolls. Delicious cinnamon rolls can probably right a lot of wrongs, but sexual harassment definitely isn’t one of them. One enraged baker/writer decided to take it on herself to make the cinnamon rolls just to see if she could make them count for something, but in the end she concluded that sweet sugar and cinnamon can’t erase the taste of abuse. Batali owed his purported victims — and the world — a real, thoughtful apology.

James Toback Called His Accusers Horrible Slurs

Photo: Bobak Ha’Eri/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

There’s a pretty surefire way to make yourself look even guiltier, and it involves attacking your accusers as part of your “apology.” A number of women came forward in 2017 to accuse director James Toback of sexual assault. When he addressed the allegations, he used the opportunity less as a chance for redemption and more as a means of calling names and hurling vengeance. “The idea that I would offer a part to anyone for any other reason than that he or she was gonna be the best of anyone I could find is so disgusting to me,” Toback said. “And anyone who says it is a lying c*cksucker or c*nt or both. Can I be any clearer than that?” This statement seems to demonstrate that the only lying you-know-what here is Toback.

Japan Offered Reparations To South Korea For ‘Comfort Women’ — But Didn’t Apologize

Photo: Voice of America /Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In World War II, Japan forced thousands of Korean women into sexual slavery. These victims, known as “comfort women,” were kidnapped from their homes and forced to work in Japanese military brothels. For decades, Japan issued no formal apology for this barbaric practice. Then, in 2015, Japan gave $8.8 million to a South Korean organization that helps and supports the now-aged Korean victims of the “comfort women” practice. Left out of that massive check they cut? An actual apology.

“Japan should accept the truth, apologize with a sincere heart and take [the comfort women issue] as a lesson and work with the international community in such a way that [such things] could not occur again,”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said about the half-hearted attempt at an apology to the comfort women.

Lena Dunham Blamed Bad Timing

Photo: Supernino /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Lena Dunham regularly gets attacked by both the left and the right, and she’s had to become a sort of professional apologizer in recent years. She’s had varying degrees of success with her “I’m-sorries,” as is evidenced by her handling of a sexual assault allegation against one of her show’s writers, Murray Miller. A loud-and-proud feminist, Dunham was all about standing behind the women coming forward in the #MeToo movement… until one of those women accused her pal Miller. In Dunham’s apology, Lena walked back her initial claims that the allegations against Miller were “one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year.” She went on to say: “I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry,” she said. No, Lena, your statement wasn’t mistimed; it was misinformed.

Alec Baldwin Attacked Kim Basinger After He Called His Daughter A Pig

Photo: Cotton/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

You’d think Alec Baldwin would be a pro at publicly apologizing; he’s had to do it numerous times, usually because his infamous temper got him into trouble. But in 2007, he took things to a whole new level of horrible after tapes were released in which he called his then-11-year-old daughter Ireland “a thoughtless little pig.” Alec’s apology to his daughter was contrite enough, but he managed to throw Ireland’s mom (Kim Basinger) under the bus in the process. “I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand,” he said. A word of advice: skewering your child’s mother is probably not the best way to get back into your kid’s good graces.

Shia LaBeouf Plagiarized His Apology For Plagiarizing

Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Shia LaBeouf has gone from child star to performance-art sideshow, and for the most part, it’s an entertaining road to watch him tread. But he’s made some shockingly ill-conceived moves along the way that have forced him to apologize more than once. In 2013, LaBeouf was accused of stealing dialogue and plotlines from a comic book for a short film he made. Then, when he went to apologize, he plagiarized his statement from a Yahoo! Answers entry. He’s also plagiarized apologies from Shepard Fairey and Mark Zuckerberg. Shia, here’s a thought. Maybe try apologizing for your plagiarism without plagiarizing further. You’ll look a whole lot better.

Pete Rose Issued An Apology… On Merchandise For Sale

Photo: Kjunstorm/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

File this apology under: “Whaaa?” Disgraced former professional baseball player Pete Rose found a way to both apologize AND profit from it. And to be honest, the profiting aspect turned out to be arguably more successful than the apologizing aspect. Way back in 1989, Rose was banned from pro ball for gambling, but he didn’t let the humiliation keep him out of the limelight. He started signing autographed merchandise at a Las Vegas mall, and one of the most popular items is a baseball that he often signs with the message, “I’m sorry I bet on baseball.” He’s also included messages like “I’m sorry I broke up the Beatles” or “I’m sorry I shot JFK.” They sell for — no joke — hundreds of dollars.

Justin Timberlake Tacked On The Famous Cop-Out: ‘If You Were Offended’

Photo: Caroline Bonarde Ucci /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

The whole 2004 Nipplegate saga is proof of the galling double standard present in show business and in the larger world. Janet Jackson has been banned from performing at the Super Bowl and had to go on a public apology tour after Timberlake exposed her breast during a halftime performance. Timberlake, however, has faced a grand total of zero repercussions for his part in the fiasco. Though he did offer up a lame apology in the immediate aftermath. “What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys were offended.” If you guys were offended. The non-apology apology favored by cowards the world over.

Eminem Apologized To His Ex In A Song

Photo: DoD News Features/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

It could be argued that Eminem built his career on the back of his ex-girlfriend, the (in)famous Kim about whom he wrote so many bitter songs. Just one gem: “Now shut the f*ck up and get what’s comin’ to you!/You were supposed to love me!!!/Now bleed, b*tch, bleed!!!” But to his credit, Em has matured, and on his 2017 album Revival, he sent an entirely different message to his ex. “I’m sorry, Kim…more than you could ever comprehend/Leaving you was f*ckin’ harder than sawing off a f*cking body limb.” Umm…thanks?

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