Rat: I'm gonna start apologizing to all the people I've insulted by telling them "I'm sorry that you were offended."First, I'm sorry that you have no life and spend all day editing tropes. Second, this is a subtrope of Sarcasm Mode, when a supposed apology is actually very unapologetic, and instead makes it very clear that either the person being apologized to is the one in the wrong, or that the apologizer prefers Insane Troll Logic to admitting they are wrong. So when Alice is supposed to apologize to Bob, she instead says "I'm sorry you screwed up, Bob." Why would Alice be apologizing in the first place? Perhaps Bob demands an apology for some tiny or imagined slight, and Alice just can't resist explaining how it's all his fault, instead. Perhaps Alice's boss is a Beleaguered Bureaucrat or a Corrupt Corporate Executive who just wants to get the problem over with, and the easiest way to do that is to order Alice to apologize for something she didn't do. Or perhaps Alice really is in the wrong, but she's enough of a Jerkass to ignore this in favor of putting Bob down. Note that it's not enough for Alice to say "I'm not sorry." Her apology has to actively shift the blame to Bob. This may cause Alice to say Screw the Money, I Have Rules!, to place Honor Before Reason, or lead her to become The Last DJ. Alternatively, this is just one more spat between Alice and Bob and there are no real consequences, other than Bob now being irritated with Alice. A subtler variation of this trope is for Alice to apologise by saying something like "I'm sorry if you were offended, Bob." This is a relative of False Reassurance and an even closer relative of the Stealth Insult, since Bob has to pay attention to the wording to notice that she's putting the blame on him for being offended rather than on herself for causing offense. If it's an Ordered Apology, the character giving the order may declare that it's not acceptable. Compare with Flippant Forgiveness.
Pig: Is that a real apology?
Rat: No, that's what's so great. It allows me to retain the impact of the original insult while tacking on the implied bonus insult of, "You are an oversensitive ninny."
Pig: Is that a real apology?
Rat: No, that's what's so great. It allows me to retain the impact of the original insult while tacking on the implied bonus insult of, "You are an oversensitive ninny."
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Anime and Manga
- In the English dub of My Bride Is a Mermaid, Mawari apologizes after cockblocking two guys, saying "I'm sorry you guys thought you had a chance with them."
- In Sonic X, Knuckles tells Eggman to release Amy from his clutches or he'll be sorry. Eggman then says that he's sorry that the heroes are still alive in the other world.
- In Tintin (at least the French version), Haddock has to apologise to the Thompsons for saying that a circus (actually a Moon crater, called a circus in French) needed two clowns, and that they would suit perfectly. He then proceeds to say: "The circus does not need two clowns. Therefore you would not suit perfectly". One of the Thompsons tries to ponder on what that actually implies, but the other is perfectly happy with this "apology".
- The English version simplifies it to Haddock "explaining" that the circus isn't hiring, an apology which doesn't address the insult at all.
- In Darkness Within Tom Riddle begins torturing Harry until he gets an apology for a perceived slight. After several rounds Harry finally gives him one.
Harry: I'm sorry you're such a jerk. Not that I can do anything about it.
- In the Love Hina fic For His Own Sake, after Keitaro explains why he's leaving the Hinata Inn and calls out each of the girls on how their past behavior hurt him, Shinobu and Mutsumi are the only ones that linger long enough to apologize. Shinobu apologizes honestly, while Mutsumi instead talks more about how she's sorry how he's hurt Naru and everyone with his rejection. This foreshadows their resultant character arcs: Shinobu comes to recognize and accept how she helped drive him away by never speaking out against the abuse, while Mutsumi convinces herself that Keitaro needs her help to get back together with Naru.
- In Bound in Servitude Mrs. Weasley insists that Ron apologize for implying that most of the Order of the Phoenix members are Dumbledore-worshipping sheep.
Ron: I apologize for pointing out your shortcomings. I failed to notice that you hadn't realized your inadequacy.
- In Donnie Darko, when the independent-minded teacher complains to the head about being fired, all he says is "I'm sorry you have failed."
- Zoolander: Though it's entirely possible that in Derek's case, he was being genuine.
Derek: I'm sorry that good-looking people like us made you throw up and feel bad about yourself....and...Mugatu: Oh, I'm sorry, did my pin get in the way of your ass? Do me a favor and lose five pounds immediately or get out of my building like now!
- Mean Girls has a scene where each girl is supposed to apologize and do a trust fall. One of the Girl Posse members makes this excuse for an apology, which leaves few willing to stand behind her to catch her when she falls:
Gretchen: I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular.
Girl in Wheelchair: Laura, I don't hate you because you're fat. You're fat, because I hate you.
- In the same scene, there's also the girl in the wheelchair:
Girl from Michigan: Alyssa, I'm sorry I called you a gap-toothed bitch. It's not your fault you're so gap-toothed.
- And this gem:
- Janis also does this with Regina when she "apologizes" for helping Cady in sabotaging her and says she did it because "I guess I've got a BIG, LESBIAN CRUSH ON YOU!"
- Really, save for Karen's apology and the over-emotional girl, it seems like most of the trust fall scene is this trope.
- The title character's apology in Patton for slapping a soldier under his charge, which is based off something Patton did in real life.
- Paths of Glory. Colonel Dax's epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his commanding officer.
"I apologize for not being entirely honest with you. I apologize for not revealing my true feelings. I apologize, sir, for not telling you sooner that you're a degenerate, sadistic old man. AND YOU CAN GO TO HELL BEFORE I APOLOGIZE TO YOU NOW OR EVER AGAIN!"
- Some guy just has been finally convicted. A reporter asks him what he thinks the reason is. The convict snarls: "Because half of the jury are assholes, that's why!" The judge interferes: "You will take this back immediately, or I'll take measures!" The convict: "OK, I take it back. Half of the jury ain't assholes!"
- A similar one with headlines: "HALF OUR NATION'S POLITICIANS ARE CROOKS". Outraged phone calls and Strongly Worded Letters ensue. The next day, the paper prints this correction as a headline: "HALF OUR NATION'S POLITICIANS ARE NOT CROOKS".
- A man tells his neighbor that hanging would be too good for him. The neighbor sues, and the man is forced to apologize by the court. So he says: "I take back what I said. Hanging is not too good for you!"
- The Carpet People:
Owlglass: He was sentenced to death for telling the Emperor that he was a blithering idiot who didn't have the brains of a meat pie.Pismire: Actually, I got sentenced to death for apologising.Snibril: How can you be sentenced to death for apologising?Pismire: I said I was sorry, and that, on reflection, he did have the brains of a meat pie.
- Plato's Apology of Socrates appears to be one of these, considering that Socrates spends most of his speech lamenting how stupid everybody is. But the definition of "apology" at the time also meant "a reasoned argument in justification of something". So Socrates's "apology" was him explaining to the people of Athens his beliefs and methods.
- This meaning is the basis for the term "apologetics".
- In Kai Lung's story about the discovery of tea, the Emperor is advised to confess his sins in order to bring an end to a drought:
“No complete record of Ming Wang’s confession now exists, all those who accompanied him having entered into a deep compact to preserve a stubborn silence. It is admitted, however, that it was of inordinate length, very explicit in its details, and that it implicated practically every courtier and official of any standing. In a final access of self-reproach the Emperor penitently admitted that he was the guilty head of a thoroughly decayed and criminal autocracy, that he weakly surrounded himself with greedy and incompetent officials, and that he had thoughtlessly permitted sycophancy, bribery and peculation to abound.”—pp. 39-40 of Ernest Bramah, Kai Lung unrolls his Mat (1928; repr. Penguin, 1937).
- After the girls of The Baby-Sitters Club get into a huge fight, Mary Anne writes her friends "apology" notes. While she manages one sincere apology to Claudia, the other notes fall under this trope:
Dear Kristy, I'm sorry you're the biggest, bossiest know-it-all in the world, but what can I do about it? Perhaps you should consider professional help.
Live Action TV
- House is forced to apologize to Cuddy's mother: "I'm sorry...that we saved your life", he starts, and then steers it back to a straight apology: "...in the way that we did". Wilson gives the apology a B+.
- Bewitched: Maurice and Endora are not known to fully admit they're in the wrong.
- Maurice: I apologize that your abominable behavior had so exhausted my patience that I was goaded into a slight transgression.
- The Closer: Assistant Chief Pope has received numerous complaints about friction between Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson and other legal departments, and so has ordered her to apologize to the offended parties.
Brenda: I'd like to start with you, Ms. Powell. I'd like to say how sorry I am that I was unable to ignore your general level of incompetence in the wrongly obtained conviction in the case of Bill Croelick. And I'm sorry if you felt hurt and defensive about putting a man on death row for the wrong crime, and I certainly hope that that will never, ever happen again. Agent Jackson, I deeply regret that the FBI handed over two million dollars to a man on a terrorist watch list without the capacity to trace it, or managed to follow him for months without knowing his wife was having an affair with a doctor, and I hope you do much better in the future. Captain Taylor, I suppose I should apologize to you for not having been born in Los Angeles, but having seen you work up close now for several months, I can honestly say that try as I might, I can't think of any fair and reasonable system on earth where I wouldn't outrank you. There. I hope that clears everything up.
Chief Pope: On behalf of the entire LAPD, allow me to say how sorry I am that you lied to us so much and that you knocked your wife around to such an extent that we considered you a suspect in her murder.
- Pope himself delivers a nice one in season 4 to a man accused of killing his wife due to past domestic abuse:
- On Babylon 5, Sheridan was ordered to apologize to the Centauri for something that was the Centauri's fault. Sheridan is shown practicing an epic backhand apology to a mirror in his quarters. It's just too bad he never got the chance to actually deliver it.
Sheridan: I apologize. I'm... sorry. I'm sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I'm sorry that your crew was stupid enough to fire on a station filled with a quarter million civilians, including your own people. And I'm sorry I waited as long as I did before I blew them all straight to hell! (beat) "As with everything else, it's the thought that counts."
- In The Big Bang Theory after the guys act like Jerkasses to Penny's boyfriend Zack Leonard asks how they should apologize, Sheldon suggests "Zack, I'm sorry you're stupid. Have a Milk Dud".
Sheldon: I was not myself, I had lost a lot of thumb blood.Amy: That's not an apology.Sheldon: That is your opinion.Amy: I want a real apology!Sheldon: I'm sorry that you weren't able to...Amy: No!Sheldon: That my genius...Amy: No!Sheldon: That the soap was so...Amy: Sheldon!Sheldon: Fine... sorry
- Sheldon tries to do this to Amy but she doesn't accept it
- From Scrubs, after Carla tried to interfere in Perry and Jordan's relationship, Turk persuades her to apologise to Jordan:
Carla: I didn't mean to upset you. Even though everything I said was true, and you know it.Turk: Baby, that is a God-awful apology. Just God-awful.Jordan: Yeah, that's 'cause she's not really sorry.
- Elliot within the first three episodes gets off on the wrong foot with Carla, JD makes her apologize and then she always adds "you know I'm right" or "But (excuse)". There is added dream sequences of her digging her own grave to prove the point!
- Glee: Santana is the absolute queen of this.
Santana: Hey Tubs! Can I talk to you for a second?Rory: Hey, listen here. You can't make fun of Finn anymore.Santana: Shut your potato hole, I'm here to apologize. [to Finn] Rachel's right, I haven't been fair to you. You're not fat. I should know, I slept with you. I mean, at some point I must have liked that you look like a taco addict who's had one too many back alley liposuctions.Rory: Whoa.Santana: Please stick a sock in it or ship yourself back to Scotland. I'm trying to apologize to Lumps The Clown. [back to Finn] I am sorry, Finn. I mean, really, I'm sorry that the New Directions are gonna get crushed by the Troubletones. And also sorry that you have no talent. Sorry that you sing like you're getting your prostate checked, and you dance like you've been asleep for years and someone just woke you up. Have fun riding on Rachel's coattails for the rest of your life, although, you know what, I would just watch out for her come holiday time if I were him, because if I were her, I'd stick a stent in one of those boobs and let the Finn blubber light the Hanukkah lamp for eight magical nights.
- The Colbert Report: Stephen likes to invert this by proclaiming "I accept your apology" to someone who has not, in fact, apologized in any way. And of course, given that he's playing a satirical character, almost every apology to people he offends comes off as this.
- Sex and the City: Carrie apologizes to Big's trophy-wife for having an affair with Big, to which she reples "I'm sorry too: I'm sorry you cheated with my husband, ran around behind my back, and caused me to fall and break my tooth, requiring 27 stitches and hours of painful surgery."
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
- One episode has this impressive demonstration of the rhetorical device of paralipsis:
WE WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAY IN WHICH POLITICIANS ARE REPRESENTED IN THIS PROGRAMME. IT WAS NEVER OUR INTENTION TO IMPLY THAT POLITICIANS ARE WEAK-KNEED, POLITICAL TIME-SERVERS WHO ARE CONCERNED MORE WITH THEIR PERSONAL VENDETTAS AND PRIVATE POWER STRUGGLES THAN THE PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENT, NOR TO SUGGEST AT ANY POINT THAT THEY SACRIFICE THEIR CREDIBILITY BY DENYING FREE DEBATE ON VITAL MATTERS IN THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT PARTY UNITY COMES BEFORE THE WELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE THEY SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENT NOR TO IMPLY AT ANY STAGE THAT THEY ARE SQUABBLING LITTLE TOADIES WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF CONCERN FOR THE VITAL SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF TODAY. NOR INDEED DO WE INTEND THAT VIEWERS SHOULD CONSIDER THEM AS CRABBY ULCEROUS LITTLE SELF-SEEKING VERMIN WITH FURRY LEGS AND AN EXCESSIVE ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL AND CERTAIN EXPLICIT SEXUAL PRACTICES WHICH SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE.
- In the architects sketch, after Mr Wiggin's tirade of insults towards the city gents, they simply reply "Well we're sorry you feel like that."
- One episode has this impressive demonstration of the rhetorical device of paralipsis:
- In one episode of Wonders of the Solar System, Brian Cox made an offhand remark that "astrology is a load of rubbish". After the show received complaints, he made a statement which sadly was not chosen as the BBC's official response on the issue:
"I apologise to the astrology community for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation."
- The "Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld spawned one of these. Apparently, Jerry Seinfeld and several writers went to the restaurant of the man (Al Yeganeh) that the character had been based on. He recognized them and launched into a rant about how the episode had "ruined his life" and demanded an apology. Seinfeld stood up and gave, to quote, "the most sarcastic, insincere apology" he'd ever heard. Yeganeh then yelled "No soup for you!" and threw them out of the restaurant.
- In Frasier, Niles bears some animosity towards Frasier's ex-wife Lilith after she sniggered during Maris' wedding vows. When Frasier tries to get the two to reconcile, Lilith responds along the lines of "If Niles is so insecure that he needs an apology for something so minor, then fine, I apologise." Niles joyfully accepts.
- The Playhouse Disney puppet show The Book of Pooh had a song called "If We Were Talkin'," which pretty much consisted of Rabbit and Tigger doing this to each other after an argument, at least until Piglet suggests that they could work things out. "If we were talking, which were aren't since that nasty somersault / I'd say I'm sorry that our accident was totally his fault." ... "If we were talking, I'd say sorry his world record was a bust."
- A rare accidental example in Doctor Who, when the Doctor attempts to apologise to Barbara for kidnapping her and accusing her of trying to kill him. Due to the fact that he has No Social Skills it comes out as self-aggrandisement and blaming her for everything and he never actually says the word 'sorry'. Barbara's facial expression suggests she notices this, but at the same time she sees that it's meant sincerely and he's just communicating it badly, and accepts it.
- Ally McBeal: In episode 5 of season 1, during Ally's hearing, with her lawyer license being at stake, her representative colleague heatedly argues to what he calls unfair process. Interrupting, their law firm boss (present, as he says earlier in the episode, as backup) declares to be in agreement with the board on this one, cheerfully continuing to elaborate that their hothead is being constantly reminded of the need for civility and yet keeps getting these reactions to witch-hunts, especially this blatant.
- In Roseanne, DJ and his Mom are fighting, so while at the diner he leaves a note on one of the tables saying "The big scary one spits in the food." Annoyed, Roseanne demands he apologize.
DJ: I'm sorry my mom spits in your food.
(The customer leaves in disgust.)
Roseanne: Ha! Joke's on you, DJ; I really do spit in the food!
- After a reader with the surname Dork complained about a Dilbert strip using 'Dork' as an insult, Scott Adams printed a reply in which Dogbert apologised 'To all the Dorks who were offended'.
- Danae loves this concept.
Danae: Sorry if you mistook something I said as somehow being offensive. Now everyone should stop dwelling on the past and just get over it.
- Used in a The Wizard of Id Sunday strip, where a peasant is loudly claiming that the king is a fink, for which he is brought before the king to apologise.
Peasant: I'm sorry you're a fink.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, when Calvin is (unusually) trying to apologize to Susie she just tells him to get lost, and he screams at her as she walks away: "I'm trying to apologize, you dumb noodleloaf!" He then Face Palms realizing what he's just said.
- In a For Better or for Worse comic, Micheal is showing off all of his new back-to-school supplies and then teases Elizabeth because she didn't get anything, causing her to cry. John then tells Michael to apologize, and say it like he means it, so Micheal says "sorry" in a goofy voice, which causes him to get sent to his room.
- This is a stock part of Trash Talk in professional wrestling, with Heath Slater's "apology" to Chris Jericho being one of the more recent ones.
- The most recent one is when The Miz speaks to CM Punk after the latter forces him to apologize to Paul Heyman for calling him a human walrus. So he replies with this:
- In the night before Money In The Bank 2011, CM Punk demands Vince McMahon to apologize to him and the fans for not giving them what they wanted. He finally relents and gives CM Punk a rather furious apology:
Vince McMahon: I apologize, you son of a bitch!
- In Super Paper Mario, after Luvbi trash-talks the Mario brothers, Jaydes (her mother) forces her to apologize. So she replies. "I am sorry... that thou art so hairy." (The last part said very quickly and apparently unnoticed by Jaydes, though Mario reacts.)
- In Sonic: Lost World, Zeena gripes to Sonic that she has to reapply her nail polish because of him. Sonic says he's sorry, which Zeena takes at face value until Sonic explains that he's sorry that she "has nothing more important to do in life."
- During her BlazBlue: Continuum Shift bad ending, after listing off everything that bores her, Terumi demands Rachel explain how "his existence" is on that list. She does apologize that "You can't help being so dull" in response.
- In a banter between Anomen and Jan Jansen in Baldur's Gate II, Jan 'apologizes' to Anomen for having been impolite by pointing out Anomen's many unflattering characteristics in public. He then proceeds to list every one of them, pointing out that it was rude of him to bring attention to it before and apologising for it.
- Sinfest 1242.
- Bob and George Oh, I'm sorry. Were you done?
- Basic Instructions provides instructions on How to Apologize Without Accepting Any Blame.
- Questionable Content: I'm Sorry. Sorry you suck so bad.
- In a flashback in Harpy Gee, queen Argema ordered Gigi and Lily to apologize to each other:
Lily: I'm sorry... you're a little waste of space.
Gigi: I'm SORRY- I didn't punch HARDER.
- A closing gag on The Simpsons has Homer being chased by the mob. He then screams that he's sorry, causing them to stop and decide to leave him be. He then invokes this trope and the chase resumes.
- In The Boondocks episode "The Itis", during a Sunday dinner at the Freeman house, Riley rudely complains about Sarah Dubois' food. Robert orders him to apologize, to which Riley responds:
Riley: Mrs. Dubois, I'm sorry your cobbler look like throw-up with peas in it.(This is followed by more arguing between Robert and Riley, until the former beats up the latter.)
- Family Guy: Mel Gibson's "apology" to the Jews, and also:
Peter: Hey, hey, hey. Easy, fella. That's my kid. Now apologize.Douchebagnote : Okay. I'm sorry your kid's a brain-dead stinking blue cheese fat-ass.
- There was also the episode where Brian writes a best selling book and Stewie becomes his agent. But soon, all the fame goes to Brian's head and starts acting really mean towards Stewie and even going as far as to firing him. At the end of the episode, Brian tries to apologize to Stewie, but claims that Stewie was the reason he acted like that.
- From the Adventure Time episode "Mystery Dungeon:"
Lemongrab: You will make pies FAST, servile!Tree Trunks: If you wanna taste of my apple pie, you'd better be nice!Lemongrab: ... I am sorry. Make pies, slave.
- Squirt and Shimmer do this to each other in "Stumped" on Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends after having a fight over a hollyberry. Holley demands that they stop fighting and apologize to each other. "Sorry your ugly scarecrow won't have a head," shouts Squirt and Shimmer retorts "And I'm sorry that you're the world's worst berry thief!" Later, the two apologize to each other for real after they cool off and realize the pettiness of their earlier behavior.
- An Abbott and Costello cartoon had the duo as lumberjacks, and Costello inadvertantly insults the foreman. When Abbott tells him to apologize, Costello confronts the foreman and says "You're the boss, and am I sorry!"
- The Arthur episode "So Funny, I Forgot to Laugh" centers around the title character making fun of Sue Ellen because of a fur sweater she wore to school; claiming that she looks like a sheepdog. Sue Ellen then tells Mr. Ratburn about this and he tells Arthur to write Sue Ellen an apology letter. Arthur does apologize in the letter, but also points out that he thinks that Sue Ellen is just overreacting.
- Steven Universe: Peridot is such an asocial freak that even when she is heartfelt in apology, it comes off as insincere.
Sorry I interrogated you. You were just full of such useful information. That's a sincere compliment. —Peridot.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Vegeta gets one in at the end of the first season, due to Goku's insistence that if Vegeta says he's sorry, he can leave Earth unmolested. The result?
Vegeta: I'm sorry. Yep. Totally sorry. I just feel terrible. Yes, I'm very, very, "very" sorry...(capsule door shuts) THAT YOU'RE ALL STILL ALIVE! SUCKERS!
- Happens in Video Game High School. The Law is such a jerk.
- This video combines the trope with a well earned Armor-Piercing Question from today's youth to a previous generation.
- During a televised awards show, reasonably popular stand-up comedian and breakfast radio host Dave Hughes refers to 'shock-jock' Kyle Sandilands as a "massive dickhead". Everyone laughs. Except Kyle Sandilands, who proceeds to underscore the statement by proclaiming on his show the following day: "I don't care if I go to jail for three months, that guy needs a punch in the throat. Simple." Hughes responded with a press release. In its entirety:
"Mr Dave Hughes has issued a public apology to Mr Kyle Sandilands, who has made comments in the past days in reference to remarks made by Mr Hughes at the 2007 TV Week Logie Awards. Mr Hughes said : 'I am sincerely and deeply sorry that Kyle Sandilands is a massive dickhead.' Mr Hughes hopes that this sincere and unreserved apology will put this ugliness to rest and stop Mr Sandilands from going to jail. Mr Hughes further remarked: 'No one deserves to go to jail just for being a massive dickhead. Massive dickheads have the same rights as normal people.' Mr Hughes is not available for further comment on this matter."
- On Fandom Wank, this is known as a Heidipology.
- There is a rule in the British Parliament that forbids personal insults. Benjamin Disraeli said "Half the Cabinetnote are asses.", He was ordered to apologize and he said "Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that remark, half the Cabinet are NOT asses." in a tone of voice that implied that the other half are asses.
- Of course it's helpful that he never specified which half of the cabinet EITHER statement was talking about.
- When Winston Churchill broke the same rule, his apology was simply "I called my honourable friend a liar it is true and I am sorry for it. Punctuate however you like."
- Trenchant Labour MP Dennis Skinner took a leaf out of Disraeli's book when ordered to retract the statement "Half the Tories opposite are crooks."
- Dave Barry once wrote a column about telemarketers which included the phone number of a major telemarketing company. Over the course of the following week, that company got swamped with so many calls from people complaining about being harassed by telemarketers that they couldn't get any work done. Dave Barry's next column covered this reaction, and ended with a highly sarcastic apology to the telemarketing company for the trouble he caused them, which included the phrase "I probably should not say that your new phone number is..."
- Following a tweet by Chris Brown, Andy Levy made a comment about domestic abuse. Here is his apology to said comment.
- Orson Welles's apology for the The War of the Worlds radio theatre incidentnote essentially amounted to, "I'm sorry, I just didn't know so many people were stupid."
- First rule of PR. Don't apologize for making a mistake, hurting someone's feelings, offending a social group. Instead apologize, but accuse them taking your words out of context and being offended on purpose/being sensitive. Too many examples to list. "Sorry If This Thing Offended You" is not an apology in most circles.
- Late 2011 presented an archetypal example from Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing who, in the course of publicly abusing some customers, did not believe that one of the people he was talking to ran Penny Arcade. Hilarity ensued. The series of non-apologies was summarized as "Sorry, I wouldn't have done that if I had known I couldn't get away with it."
- When Keith Olbermann was removed from Current in March 2012, he released a statement on Twitter which began with this:
I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
- The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch recently released a press statement, responding to an earlier statement he had made in which he basically said that the company has no problem only selling to "cool" people, and that you can't be cool unless you're thin. In his new statement, he "apologizes" for that remark, stating: "I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense".
- The British newspaper The Sun published a story "Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ". Their response to the resulting complaints:
Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.
- Their left-wing rivals The Mirror had another example: after American film producer Steve Bing ordered them to apologize for calling him "Bing Laden", he sent them an extremely grovelling and abject text of his apology which was to be run or they would face legal action. They ran it on the front page under the headline "A SINCERE AND HEARTFELT APOLOGY TO STEVE BING, PHILANTHROPIST AND HUMANITARIAN"...along with a feature inside the paper on "why Americans don't understand irony or sarcasm". Of course, their British readers did understand that they were obviously not serious...and, true to stereotype, Bing did not.
- To be fair to Bing, many American's would have found that pun to be in poor taste (and probably still do).
- Any and all apologies which are: "sorry I offended you" or have a "but" justifier in the middle of it!
- After the Liberal Democrats broke their campaign pledge not to raise tuition fees, Nick Clegg made a public apology (which quickly became a Stupid Statement Dance Mix) in which he said "We shouldn't have made promises we weren't absolutely sure we could deliver". Many people pointed out Clegg wasn't apologising for breaking the pledge, but for making it in the first place.
- Commenting on Secretary of War Simon Cameron's reputation for corruption, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens once told President Lincoln, "I don't think that he would steal a red hot stove." When Cameron demanded that he retract the statement, he told Lincoln, "I believe I told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I will now take that back."
- In June 2014, Ashton Wood raised $18,000 online so he and 300 people could destroy his car after Jeep refused to pay a full refund for the car or replace the vehicle which he claimed had suffered 21 separate mechanical problems. During a failed settlement between the manufacturer, Jeep, and Mr. Wood, one of the requests made by the car company was for the disgruntled buyer to publish an 'apology' in a national publication. However, because no one would publish the apology, he instead read it out on The ABC's The Checkout:
MY PERSONAL APOLOGY TO JEEPDear Jeep,I'm sorry.I'm sorry my Jeep broke down before it even left the dealership.I'm sorry it had 21 problems.I'm sorry it had to be towed 4 times.I'm sorry I wasn't more grateful for your offer of a replacement battery.I'm sorry you wouldn't offer me a replacement or refund.But most of all I'm sorry...I BOUGHT A JEEP
- In Australia the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, got in trouble for chartering a helicopter to take her to a Liberal Party fundraiser and charging the taxpayer for it. In her response after paying the money back she said "I'm very sorry it's taken the heat off Mr Shortennote and his triple-whammy carbon tax bill". The Prime Minister later mentioned that she had apologised but this was the only time she said sorry in the interview. She later offered another apology three weeks later after sustained criticism but made sure to point out it was technically within the rules.note
- General George S. Patton famously slapped two soldiers suffering from shell-shock (even brandishing his pistol threateningly at one) and was ordered to apologize in lieu of a formal reprimand. His private apologies to the two men were reported as "no apology at all, an attempt to justify what he'd done." When apologizing to his soldiers at large, Patton only made vague references to being "too hard" on the men serving under him, and later wrote in his diary that he felt no shame at all at what he'd done and greatly resented having to apologize at all. For the record, the two men who were slapped seemed satisfied with their private apologies, one even remarking that Patton was under stress himself when the incident occurred.