This Week in Apologies

best buy serial

Today we’d like to do something just a little bit different: a roundup of the week that was…in public apologies.

Since the world still turned and businesses still had to make money over the past seven days, plenty of public figures and brands needed to say “I’m sorry.”

Let’s run through them in a completely arbitrary order…

Sony Executives Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal:

Two of the top names at Sony finally felt the need to tell the world that they’re sorry for messages unearthed in what is turning out to be the biggest entertainment story of the year.

The main reason Rudin and Pascal apologized was for making racist jokes about President Obama’s perceived taste in movies before a fundraiser with DreamWorks CEO and political donor Jeffrey Katzenberg. Pascal thought Rudin should ask Obama whether he liked Django Unchained or 12 Years a Slave, and Rudin theorized, “I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”

We’re pretty sure Obama doesn’t have the time to watch Kevin Hart movies, but Rudin knew he had to apologize: “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all.”

Unfortunately, no one at Sony felt the need to apologize for Adam Sandler. But in a message published by Gawker last week, one did ask: “will we still be paying for Adam Sandler? Why?”

Best Buy:

Are you addicted to Serial? So are we. And some people are taking their obsession to the extreme by “flocking to the Best Buy” in Baltimore where the victim in the story was allegedly murdered to determine whether its parking lot has ever included a pay phone. (You kind of have to be a fan.)

Best Buy played on the podcast’s popularity by tweeting the joke atop this post, and many thought it insensitive because, after all, the story does revolve around the murder of an innocent 17-year-old.


We didn’t really think it was the worst joke in the world, but in retrospect it was probably not a great idea.

Mark Wahlberg:

Mark “Don’t Call Me Marky” Wahlberg was convicted of assault for attacking two Vietnamese men as a teenager in the 80s, and now he’s petitioned for a pardon. After promoting his new movie on TODAY, he told Matt Lauer why at 3:25:

The Daily Mail managed to track down one of his victims, who is amazingly on his side.

But is this interview really “the last thing a PR person would want [him] to do?”

Roger Goodell:

The embattled NFL leader announced the league’s new policy for punishing bad behavior, and while the move was something of a media coverage coup, many were less than impressed!

Deadspin mocked Goodell’s perceived stupidity, and we note that the decision to bring in a “discipline czar” looks a lot like passing the ball and the blame (badly).

And no, he never actually said “I’m sorry.”

Korean Air:


(Pic via AFP/Getty Images)

An executive at Korean Air stepped down after a controversy we still can’t quite understand, and in an amazing coincidence, the airline’s spokesman happens to be her father.

As The New York Post reports, the father “made a deep bow before journalists” before his daughter made her own apology, blaming his poor parenting skills and saying “It’s my fault. As chairman and father, I ask for the public’s generous forgiveness.”

Can you imagine any executive you know going to such great lengths?


The environmental group went against its own principles by fouling up the very “sacred” space it wanted to help protect. The Nazca Lines site, which can only be seen properly from the air and has led many a stoner to speculate about aliens, is carefully guarded:

“[Peruvian deputy culture minister Jaime] Castillo said no one, not even presidents and Cabinet ministers, was allowed where the activists had gone without authorisation and anyone who received permission must wear special shoes. …”

But Greenpeace members didn’t do that, and they left footprints at the site. On Wednesday the org said they were sorry, writing: “We fully understand that this looks bad…We have now met with the Peruvian Culture Ministry responsible for the site to offer an apology.”

It was a thorough and well-worded message. We do not, however, expect the organization to apologize for leaking those Edelman strategy docs.

Nancy Grace:

nancy grace

(Pic via People)

In what has to be our favorite “I’m sorry” of the week, Nancy Grace apologized to…Ben Affleck’s penis. Yes, you read that right.

You may have noticed that Grace bears a striking resemblance to Gone Girl’s Missi Pyle, and in a fake Hollywood Reporter interview she told her doppelganger:

“I’m sorry, I was too focused on the blood to notice Ben Affleck’s penis, so I apologize to the penis because I did not notice it. Has everyone in this country seen his penis but me? Am I the only one?”

No, Nancy, you weren’t the only one. We didn’t see a damn thing (not that we were looking).

Now who did it best?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: December 12, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT