Avengers Apologize! Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner apologies for insulting Black Widow

Black Widow
Black Widow demonstrates the classic three-point landing.

Avengers: Age of Ultron debuts today in the USA and two cast members got themselves in a bit of hot water while promoting the picture this week. Via International Business Times “Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans Apologize For Black Widow Comments After ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Interview”:

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans apologized after they made offensive comments about the character Black Widow. The actors were being interviewed by Digital Spy when they were asked what they thought about the comic book heroine (played by Scarlett Johansson) being with Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk). Many fans were upset with their responses.”

Please note — Jeremy (who plays the Avenger Hawkeye) and Chris (who portrays Captain America) got in trouble for offensive comments made about the entirely fictional character Black Widow.

They did not insult Scarlett Johansson, the actress who plays Black Widow (aka Natalia Romanova aka Natasha Romanoff) Who would do that? Ever?

Their comments were directed at the fictional character — and that’s what got them in trouble. This may be a first for Apology Index.

So what did our trash-talking thespians say that was so bad? Read on… (more…)

Tiger Woods Apology for Serial Adultery

With the many, many cats now out of the bag, Tiger takes his third swing at an apology for his multiple infidelities, with a statement on his website:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity
has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want
to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask
forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but
I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good
people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow
competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that
my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for
personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite
break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a
better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially
grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during
this difficult period.

AI is a little rusty, but let’s take a crack at it. Tiger admits his wrongdoing (without going into the lurid details that we can all find elsewhere) and asks forgiveness. So those are points in his favor, but this comes off weak nonetheless. For one thing, it is a statement on a website. Tiger himself has disappeared from public view since his cheating ways came to light. This apology won’t quiet the storm. He will probably have to appear and speak the words in person for an apology to take.

So, at least, say William C. Rhoden at the NY Times and John “Effective Apology” Kador.

A few random thoughts:

  • Who does he really owe an apology to? His wife and family. Presumably that happened in private and is none of our business.
  • Why is he apologizing to the world at large? I didn’t care much about Tiger before this, and don’t care much about him now, so he doesn’t owe — or probably you — an apology. But it seems to have become a given that if you’re a celebrity of any stripe, and you screw up, you owe the world an apology.
  • Ok, there are a few sets beyond his family that he owes an apology.  Tiger mentions them. Business partners, his foundation, the PGA Tour, and others who will be financially harmed by his tarnished image. By damaging the “Tiger Woods” brand he has done actual harm to the interests of people beyond himself. Fair enough.
  • Prediction: We’ll be hearing another apology from Tiger before this story ends.

David Letterman Apology to Sarah Palin for Joke About Her Daughter

David Letterman apologizes for his recent crude joke about daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Took him long enough.

It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception.
And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it’s not
a very good joke.  And I’m certainly – ” (audience applause) “– thank
you. Well, my responsibility – I take full blame for that. I told a bad
joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely
meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told,
I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having
told that joke. It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my
fault. That it was misunderstood.” (audience applauds) “Thank you. So I
would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved,
Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and
everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I’m sorry about it and
I’ll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much.” (audience
applause).

Full text of Letterman’s apology to Sarah Palin is here.

OJ Simpson Apology for Armed Robbery. (But not the other thing.)

After being convicted of kidnap and armed robbery for his role in a 2007 hotel room confrontation with a memorabilia dealer, O.J. Simpson made this apology and plea for leniency in sentencing:

The judge, alas for O.J., was unmoved, and sentenced him to up to 33 years behind bars. Said Judge Glass:

Earlier in this case, at a bail hearing, I asked — said — to Mr.
Simpson I didn’t know if he was arrogant or ignorant or both. And
during the trial and through this proceeding, I got this answer, and it
was both.

When you take a gun with you and you take men with you to show in a
show of force, that’s not just a hey, give me my stuff back. That’s
something else. And that’s what went on here. And that’s why we are all
here because this is not behavior that we can just say, oops, it’s OK,
no problem, don’t worry. No harm, no foul.

(Full transcript of the judge’s statement here)

I’m not going to waste much time commenting on Mr. Simpson or his apology. It speaks for itself.

Never mind the apology he really needs to make.

Time for O.J. to go away.

Stephen Colbert Apology to Canton, Kansas

Stephen Colbert continues the gag now apologizing to Canton, Kansas before proceeding to pick on yet another Canton — this time Canton, South Dakota.

Now we have no idea how long Colbert will run with this gag, apologizing to one town while insulting the next. It is amusing to watch some of the people in each Canton — people who clearly don’t get the joke — take offense.

Brilliant satirist that he is, Colbert is making some sort of important point about our media culture and the cheap throwaway apologies that we so often see … and which Apology Index often covers. Being less brilliant, I’m not entirely sure what his point is … but I am sure it is both funny and true.

Other commentary:

KTKA News: “Stephen Colbert delivers low blow to Canton”

Wichita Eagle blog

Athena of Writing Athena gets it … but then she IS the goddess of wisdom. She says:

Never mind that the main target of Stephen
Colbert’s satire was not Canton, Kansas (any more than it was
previously Canton, Georgia), but rather TV talk show pundits like Bill
O’Reilly, whose rare “apologies” are really elaborate attempts at
self-justification which contain more barbs than balm.


Go read the rest.

Stephen Colbert Apology to Canton, Georgia

Mock media personality Stephen Colbert apologizes for offhanded insult to Canton, Georgia. The apology is about as real as the original offense, but considering the way Colbert (who hails from South Carolina) often takes potshots at neighboring Georgia, even a fake apology is noteworthy.

And hey! Free publicity for Canton, Georgia.

The Radio + TV blog on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution site comments on the story:

Holy backtrack, Batman! Stephen Colbert has issued what he termed a
“rare” apology for last week’s “crappy Canton” comment that “puzzled”
mayor Gene Hobgood.

“Evidently, I offended some people because two days later, I saw this
in the Atlanta Journal Constitution,” Colbert said in his Wednesday
night broadcast. My colleague Jamie Gumbrecht’s print story is shown on
screen and he reads the headline “Colbert’s ‘crappy Canton’ comment
puzzles mayor.”

“Seems the mayor of Canton Georgia was none too happy with me,” he continued.

“It’s clear to me he has not been to Canton Georgia,” Hobgood says in a video clip from WXIA-TV.

“You’re absolutely right, Mayor Hobgood” Colbert said, to laughs. “I
haven’t. But I hear it’s a beautiful place. Nestled in the scenic Blue
Ridge Mountains, Canton is the fastest growing city in Georgia. It has
so much to offer like the Canton Historical Theater and the HIckory
Creek log dam. Not to mention oxygen and paved roads.”

“Yes, Canton Georgia, a wonderful place to live. So again, Mayor Hobgood. I apologize.”

“Why did I call your lovely city crappy? A simple mixup. I meant Canton, Kansas.”

Which town he goes on to insult gratuitously and in great detail.

Here is video:

Britney Spears Apology for Umbrella Incident

This just in! Britney Spears has finally apologized for the Umbrella Incident! You remember the Umbrella Incident, don’t you?

The thing with Britney Spears and the umbrella … when she did something or the other with an umbrella … ok, I don’t know what this is all about either. But it’s Britney Spears! So it must be of world-changing significance.

Britney Spears
apologized for attacking a photographer’s car with an umbrella in
February, saying at the time she was preparing to try out for a movie
part and got carried away.
(“Spears Sorry for Attacking Photog’s Car,” AJC.com).

Uh .. I sort of vaguely remember that. Seems weird though. Why would Britney do such a thing?

The incident took place during the same period
in which she shaved her head, got new tattoos and was seen partying
hard in Los Angeles clubs …
Not long after the incident, Spears checked into rehab.
  (AJC.com)

Oh. Now I get it. This was during the public meltdown. So let’s see what our favorite melted pop tart has to say:

“I apologize to the pap for a stunt that was
done 4 months ago regarding an umbrella,” Spears said in a statement
posted Wednesday on her Web site. “I was preparing my character for a
roll (sic) in a movie where the husband never plays his part so they
switch places accidentally. I take all my rolls [sic] very seriously and got
a little carried away. Unfortunately I didn’t get the part.” (AJC.com)


So, near as I can tell, Britney was … method acting?

The text on her website has been edited by someone who can spell since AP picked up the story … but it still doesn’t make any sense:

“I apologize to the pap for a stunt that was done 4 months ago regarding an umbrella. I was preparing my character for a role in a movie where  the husband never plays his part so they switch places accidentally. I take all my roles very seriously and got a little carried away.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the part.” (britneyspears.com)

“Pap” I think is celebrity slang for “paparazzi.”

The photographers in question worked for a celebrity gossip site called X17online.com. They have posted a handwritten version of Britney’s note.

I don’t even know what to say about this, but we can draw at least two lessons:

1. Sometimes, an apology is a bad idea. Like when you go on a head-shaving, umbrella-whacking, underwear-forgetting, pill-popping, baby-dropping, revolving-door-rehab attending rampage — it’s probably better not to bring that all up again six months later. Even to apologize. Especially if you are still bonkers.

2. Kids — don’t do drugs.

Cameron Diaz Apology to Peru

(AP)

I now find myself monitoring stories in the news, waiting for the inevitable apology. And so it is with this story. Last week actress Cameron Diaz visited Peru as part of … well, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is her culturally insensitive accessorizing. You see, on a visit to China she picked up this adorable, uh, olive green canvas shoulder bag decorated with a big red star and the slogan “Serve the People” — apparently a favorite saying of Chairman Mao — written in Chinese characters. And she thought this would be just perfect to carry along on her trip to Peru.

One small problem. I’ll let Hugo at the Miami Poetry Review explain:

Diaz thought the bag was little more than a fashionable accessory, but
what she didn’t realize is that Mao was the inspiration for the
“Shining Path” insurgency that battled with the Peruvian government
throughout the 80s and into the 90s, leaving over 70,000 dead and
severely injuring the country’s collective psyche.

Well, thank God she left the Che Guevara t-shirt at home. Communist chic is so over.

Some Peruvians took offense. The celebrity apology was, as I said, inevitable:

I sincerely apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently offended. The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China and I did not realize the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it,” Diaz said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

…”I’m sorry for any people’s pain and suffering and it was certainly
never my intention to reopen what I now know is a painful wound in this
country’s history,” she said.

Diaz also spoke of Peruvians’ beauty and warmth and said she wished “for their continued healing.” (“Cameron Diaz apologizes for Maoist bag,” Yahoo! News)

In other words, she knew jumping jack squat about Peru’s recent history, the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso in  the Spanish) or, for that matter, Chairman Mao, who’s slogan she was so proudly displaying on her shoulder bag. (Cameron, you might look up the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward, just to get started.)

But that, of course, is why world travel is such a good thing. You can learn about other cultures and expand your understanding of the world. So good for Cameron. She’s learned a valuable lesson. Or, at least her publicist who emailed her statement to the Associated Press did. This really looks like one of those “I’m sorry you were offended” apologies, which almost isn’t an apology at all. The sorry you were offended apology has a subtext of “What is your problem, anyway?”

Still, “I’m sorry for cluelessly promoting the Maoist doctrines that inspired a violent conflict in your country that caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Peruvians,” might be a bit much to ask from the star of There’s Something About Mary.

(Incidentally, my spell checker suggests replacing “Diaz” with “ditz.” I’m not making this up.)

But never mind the Maoist shoulder bag … what she really needs to apologize for is the rest of her outfit. She’s got a kind of college dorm study hall thing going there.

One last fashion tip for you, Cameron. If you ever visit Auschwitz, I’d pass on the “Arbeit macht freihandbag.

DATE OF APOLOGY: June 25, 2007
APOLOGIZER: Cameron Diaz
APOLOGIZEE: Peru
FOR: Fasion faux paus

APOLOGY DEMAND: Pakistan to UK — Unknight Salman Rushdie

It’s not quite the Punjab, but people in Pakistan are just as excitable, if not more so.

In U.S. literary circles there has been a fair bit of hand wringing lately about the decline of the column inches devoted in America’s newspapers devoted to book reviews. It seems the ubiquitous internets (UI) are eating the lunch of old time dead tree reviewers. Many are convinced this may portend the end of civilization as we know it.

Personally, I think the end of civilization, if it comes, is more likely to be triggered by book critics in Pakistan. If they don’t like your book, they don’t just give it a bad review. They encourage people to kill you. Take Salman Rusdie:


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s parliament renewed a call
on Friday for Britain to withdraw a knighthood for author
Salman Rushdie and apologize for hurting Muslim feelings.

Rushdie, whose 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” outraged
many Muslims around the world, was awarded a knighthood for
services to literature in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honors
list last week.

Pakistan and Iran have protested against the honor and the
Pakistani parliament condemned it in a resolution on Monday. (
ABC News.com)

Still no word on when Pakistan plans to apologize for propping up the Taliban regime pre-9/11; helping North Korea, Iran and God only knows who else with their nuclear programs; and, for all we know, putting up Osama bin Laden in a Peshawar bed & breakfast for the last six years.

Did mean old Queen Elizabeth hurt your feelings, Pakistan?

Apparently:


The National Assembly lower house of parliament passed
another resolution on Friday expressing dismay Britain had not
reversed its decision.


“The British government has not withdrawn the title which
has not only disappointed the entire Pakistani nation but has
also hurt it,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afghan Niazi
told the assembly.


“This august house again calls on the British government
and its Prime Minister Tony Blair to immediately withdraw the
title… and tender an apology to the Muslim world.” (ABC News)

Okay, I do see your point. And that does seem like a polite and reasonable request for  … excuse me, what’s that you say, Pakistan Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ejaz-ul-Haq?

“If someone exploded a bomb on Rushdie in
response to the British government’s decision, he will be within his
right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws
the ‘sir’ title.” 
(CBS News.com)

Never mind.

Oh, and in case you thought I was kidding about bin Laden:


A group of hardline Muslim clerics said on Thursday it had
bestowed a religious title “Saifullah” (Sword of Islam) on
Osama bin Laden in response to the knighthood for Rushdie. (ABC News.com)

So just to recap the Pakistani position: Honoring a guy who wrote a book you don’t like? Grounds for death threats. Honoring a terrorist mastermind responsible for plotting and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people? That’s a great idea.

This one goes beyond the apology demand as political leverage to an apology demand as intimidation, extortion and, dare I say, terroristic threats. Implicit … well, explicit really … in the Pakistani national assembly’s resolution and their Religious Affairs Minister’s remarks is the threat that if the British government doesn’t do what they say, then there’s gonna be trouble.

Granted, much of the trouble will be deranged Pakistanis burning, looting and tearing down their own neighborhoods. Have you ever noticed that? Yeah! Burn down Islamabad! That’ll show the infidel dogs of the West who’s boss!

Or at least save them the trouble of doing themselves later.

But, I digress. There has been a troubling trend in recent years of angry Muslim mobs — or mobs of angry Muslims, take your pick — backed by their governments demanding all kinds of ridiculous things. They riot over cartoons. They riot over books they don’t like. They riot over the Miss Universe pageant. Any excuse for a riot.

And that’s fine. It’s their town. Let’s call it Crazytown. They want to keep burning it down and rebuilding it, I don’t care. What frightens me is not these paroxysms of rage but the fact that, to some extent, the intimidation seems to work.

Recall the recent apology demand by the Church of England directed at Sony over their video game. Remember the Bishop of Manchester saying that, had Sony set their fictional gun battle inside a mosque rather than a cathedral, there would have been questions raised in Parliament, an official investigation and the game would have been  withdrawn?

The sad thing is, he’s probably right.

Remember the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad? Riots and death threats ensued … and many media outlets, in reporting on the story, refused to reproduce the cartoons.

Gosh, we wouldn’t want to offend the Muslim world.

Or, rather, the more excitable elements thereof. I haven’t conducted a survey, but my guess is that the vast majority of Muslims around the world have too much sense and better things to do than riot over cartoons and books. They may well take offense at such things but are grown up enough to realize that it’s a big world and, you know, sometimes things will offend you.

In our present media culture it is trendy, chic even, to print, say and do things offensive to Christians. Because no one is terribly scared of Presbyterians. Or Catholics for that matter. Salman Rushdie wrote a novel called The Satanic Verses that many Muslims found offensive, even blasphemous. I forget exactly why, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa urging Muslims to kill Rushdie, who spent nine years in hiding.

Dan Brown wrote a novel called The DaVinci Code that many Christians found offensive, even blasphemous. The Pope did not declare a fatwa against Dan Brown. Brown is not, to the best of my knowledge, in hiding. There have been protests and complaints but no riots that I’m aware of. No one has burned down Cleveland over Brown’s book. For the most part, Christian religious leaders have been content to refute those elements of The DaVinci Code that they consider erroneous.

Which is as it should be. That is how civilized people respond to being offended. Turn the other cheek, as it were.

So what happens? Offending Christians is cool. Offending Muslims is a no-no. Bad behavior is rewarded. Which only encourages the mobs of Crazytown to become even more demanding. It takes less and less to offend them. As the Minister of Religious Affairs reminds us, we wouldn’t want any trouble, now, would we?

So now comes this latest demand for an apology.

The British government, to their credit, has diplomatically told Pakistan to get stuffed.

Reacting to the reported passage of the resolution by Pakistan’s
parliament on Monday, demanding the withdrawal of the title, a
spokesman for the British Foreign Office said, “The honour was ‘richly
deserved’ and the reasons for it were ‘self-explanatory’.”
(TheNews.com)

Translation:  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will knight any of her subjects she damn well pleases.

Which is precisely the response this demand for an apology deserves.

Mick Jagger Apology to Spain

This is a brief item:


MADRID, Spain – Mick Jagger used the Catalan language to apologize to fans for last year’s cancellation of several shows in Barcelona and three other Spanish cities.

In
a TV broadcast Thursday as the Rolling Stones prepared a new tour of
Spain, Jagger told fans, “We are very sorry we canceled our concert
last year, but now we are ready.” The apology lasted a few seconds and
was prolonged by laughter and clowning from drummer Charlie Watts and
guitarist Keith Richards.
(Yahoo! News)

Classy on Mick’s part to apologize for canceling the dates last year … extra style points for apologizing in the local language:

Canal 3, the television station that broadcast the apology, described Jagger’s Catalan diction as “better than average.”