10 Hours Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Rejected Apology

"I said it's too late to apologize."
—"Apologize" by OneRepublic

Bob did something terrible to Alice. He feels guilty, so he gives her a sincere apology. However, Alice won't have it. She doesn't care about the apology. Whether Bob's actions were that bad or Alice is just a plain Jerkass, she refuses to forgive him.

This results from someone holding a grudge that they refuse to let go of. Unfortunately, this can make out someone who has a rightful reason to be angry into a cruel person if the apologizing party is sincerely guilty for their actions.

The opposite of Redemption Rejection, where the one who did wrong is offered a chance to be forgiven, but he turns it down. A super trope of Reformed, but Rejected. An extreme version of this trope is Heel–Face Door-Slam, which happens if rejecting an apology also involves killing the offender. Contrast Easily Forgiven, where it's a character forgiving those who don't apologize for their actions. If the character does accept their apology, but is still upset by their actions, then it's Forgiven, but Not Forgotten. Contrast The Unapologetic, where a character refuses to apologize. See No Sympathy for Grudgeholders where this is the fitting response to the character's lack of forgiveness. This can often be part of the "The Reason You Suck" Speech if the rejection is extremely harsh. In a rare occurrence, sometimes the rejected apology was coerced by outside parties. In the event of this, the one apologizing is shown as more sympathetic due to receiving harsh treatment from both sides and the rejector is portrayed as even more jerkish and completely unreasonable.

Sadly, this is Truth in Television. Whether or not the offender is truly regretful or that the offended is always been a Jerkass that holds grudges.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dub Text in Digimon Tamers final episode. When the Juggernaut program that was used to defeat the D-Reaper forces the digimon to return to the digital world, Henry's dad, who knew it would happen, asks him if he can forgive him, and Henry sadly shakes his head. (In the original, the head shake meant "don't worry about it").
    • There's also Digimon Adventure 02, where Sam Ichouji does this to his little brother, Ken, after having caught him getting his Digivice without his permission. Eventually, this causes Ken to snap that he wishes for him to disappear, and his wish came true when he got run over by a car and that Sam died rejecting his apology.
  • Inverted in Fruits Basket. When Kyo admits to Tohru that he failed to save her mother Kyoko, she refuses to say "I don't forgive you". Strangely enough, he takes this worse than if she had rejected his apology, since he feels like she shouldn't forgive him for it because Kyoko apparently didn't. The penultimate chapter reveals that Kyoko was actually warning him to keep his promise to look after Tohru if anything happened to her, but she was only able to say she wouldn't forgive him.
  • Despite popular belief, Kouta did not accept Lucy's apology at the end of Elfen Lied. Understandable, since what she is apologizing for is basically the murder of his sister and father.

    Comic Books 
  • Variation in Legacy. Darth Wyyrlok says that he isn't going to apologize for trying to murder Darth Krayt. Krayt replied that he wouldn't accept any apologies, either. A duel to to the death ensues.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: In issue 10, Loki finally confessed and tried to apologise for what they did in Journey into Mystery (murdered and body-snatched their own child self), and Thor perfectly understandably snapped. Rejected is putting it mildly, beaten to an inch of their life more like it. Most heartbreakingly: Loki actually meant it, and didn't fight back at all.
  • In the graphic novel Kelly Green 1 The Go Between by Leonard Starr and Stan Drake, Kelly is kneeling beside the dying body of her husband's killer It was Dan Green's partner, Angie who ask her to forgive him. She asked him does he believe in God. He says yes. She reply then he can go to hell and stand up and walked away.

  • This is played with in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf novel, as after Papa Smurf saves himself, Empath, and Brainy from falling into the lava pool within the volcano, Empath apologizes to Papa Smurf for having nearly endangered Baby Smurf just to get Papa Smurf to feel sorry for leaving his only begotten son in Psychelia. At first Papa Smurf is too angry to forgive Empath, but when he sees Empath bowing down and humbling himself before the village leader as if he was the Psyche Master, Papa Smurf also bows down with Empath and forgives him, promising that he will never leave Empath like that ever again.
  • Happens twice in the Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic What a Way to Fall (itself a a fan written sequel to the infamous Financial Crisis Gangbang). First is when North Italy tries to apologize to America and Canada for his involvement in the incidentnote . Second is when England tries to kidnap the new America personification with the intention of turning the little girl into a Replacement Goldfishnote . The chapter is even titled Sorry Is Not Good Enough.

    Animated Films 
  • Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking examples was in Kung Fu Panda, where during the climatic battle between Shifu and Tai Lung, Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung for allowing him to go down his path of darkness, only for Tai Lung to reject it and demand the dragon scroll.
  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible apologizes to Syndrome for the slight that put him on the path to supervillainy. Syndrome answers "See? Now you respect me. Because I'm a threat," and continues monologuing. Mr. Incredible realizes that Syndrome can't be reasoned with, and starts throwing stuff at him.
  • From Lilo & Stitch:
    Lilo: I'm sorry I bit you... and pulled your hair... and punched you in the face.
  • After "totalling a mammoth" in Brother Bear, Rutt refuses to accept Tuke's apology and declares their brotherhood over, even going as far as to say that Koda is his new brother. But after a heartfelt talk between the two moose, they feel happy again and walk off.


    Live-Action Films 
  • In Pitch Perfect, Beca, the protagonist, goes all the way up to her love interest to apologize for being a Jerkass earlier. The love interest, curiously, doesn't accept or even appear to want one, instead pointing out her flaws in driving people away.
  • In the 2007 film Bridge to Terabithia, Jess Aarons tried to apologize to his younger sister, Mary Belle, for pushing her because he was angry about the death of Leslie Burke and told her he misses her talking to him, only for Mary Belle to ignore his apology by turning away from him.
  • From Duck Soup:
    Trentino: I'm sorry we lost our tempers. I'm willing to forget if you are.
    Firefly: Forget? You ask me to forget... Why, my ancestors would rise from their graves... and I'd only have to bury them again... A Firefly never forgets.
    Trentino: I am willing to apologize... I'm willing to do anything to prevent this war.
    Firefly: Nothing doing!! I've taken a lease on the battlefield. I'd lose my deposit, besides, I've already ordered the ammunition.
    Vera: Oh, Your Excellency, isn't there something I can do?
    Firefly: Yes, but I'll talk to you about that when we're alone.
    Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, won't you reconsider.
    Firefly: Well, maybe I am a little headstrong... But, you know, it's awfully hard to forget what he called me.
    Trentino: What I called you... Why, what did I call you?
    Firefly: I don't remember.
    Trentino: (With a little chuckle) Oh — you mean... worm?
    Firefly: No, that wasn't it...
    Trenitno: Was it — swine?
    Firefly: No... it was a seven letter word.
    Trentino: (Thinking, then with a broad smile) Oh yes! — UPSTART!
    Firefly: That's it...
    Takes gloves from Trentino's breast pocket and socks him across the face, and puts them in his own breast pocket. Trentino becomes apoplectic
    Trentino: Why - er - Mrs. Teasdale - this is an outrage! This man is impossible... My course is clear... this means war!
  • Averted in V for Vendetta, where V's last victim is actually sorry for everything she has done to him. She expects him to use this trope, but he tells her it is never too late to apologize and stays by her side until she dies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon accidentally ruins Howard's chances to work on a space laser by revealing to a security clearance woman that he messed with the Mars rover. Feeling guilty, Sheldon apologizes, only to find out that Howard isn't so willing to forgive.
  • After Frasier convinces Roz to ask someone out which ends in disaster, he asks before an ambitious broadcast for her forgiveness. Roz sarcastically complies, especially, as she adds, under the thought he was out there on air humiliating himself in front of thousands.
    Frasier: So when are you really going to forgive me?
    Roz: When I get married!
    • Also happens when Frasier is caught looking in Daphne's room, realizing she is strongly protective of her privacy, which ends with him having to bribe her with a car so she doesn't quit. After he inadvertently meddles in her belongings in a later episode, it seems the process will repeat, until a furious Daphne accidentally reveals she was snooping through Frasier's own belongings in a rant. After being called out on this, a flustered Daphne decides she'll let it go this time.
  • Used on M*A*S*H as an Establishing Character Moment for Charles.
    Potter: Up here, it's strictly meatball surgery. Patch them up and get them out.
    Charles: Rather primitive, isn't it?
    Potter: We've got a 98% survival rate, cowboy.
    Charles: Charles. No offense intended, Colonel.
    BJ: Offense accepted, Major.
    Potter: Let's not get off on the wrong foot.
    Radar:(enters) Doctor Berman is going into heart failure. He can hardly breathe.
    Hawkeye:to Charles Ventricular aneurysm.
    Charles: Why the panic?
    Hawkeye: Can you do anything about it?
    Charles: I've done at least a dozen.
    Hawkeye: Successfully?
    Charles: Offense accepted.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Comes the Inquisitor", Vir ends up on an elevator with G'Kar, and tries to apologize for the Orbital Bombardment on the Narn homeworld by the Centauri, which occurred in the previous episode.
    Vir: "I'm sorry. I wish... there was something that I could do. I tried telling them, but they wouldn't listen. They never listen... I'm sorry."
    G'Kar (pulls out a knife and cuts his own hand, and as drops of blood drip to the floor, says): "Dead... dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead... How do you apologize to them?"
    Vir: "I can't."
    G'Kar: "Then I cannot forgive."
    • One wonders what G'Kar would have to say about Vir's subsequent actions, as revealed in "Sic Transit Vir"...where Vir saves the lives of thousands of Narns by faking their deaths.
    • In the episode "Ship of Tears", when Delenn finally brings G'Kar into the Conspiracy of Light and discloses that she knew all along about the Shadows and their aid to races like the Centauri—but explained to him that consequences and casualties would have been much worse than what befell his homeworld had they took action and shown their hand against them too early—G'Kar did understand but was still angry that millions on his homeworld were sacrificed. Delenn asks if he'll ever find it in his heart to forgive her, and tearfully he replies:
    "Perhaps, but not today."
  • In Fringe, Walter's halting attempt at apologizing to Astrid for injecting her and knocking her out is met by her completely ignoring him.
    • In a later episode, Peter apologizes for selling Walter's book collection while Walter was at St Clare's, and Walter gives him a brusque "Apology not accepted!"
  • In the Friends episode "The One With The Baby Shower", Monica forgets to invite Rachel's mother to Rachel's baby shower, and spends the whole episode desperately trying to have her apology accepted.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo tries making a verbal apology to Kira after he breaks with the Female Changeling, under whose influence he abandoned their resistance, leading to Rom's arrest, impending execution, and looming disaster for the Alpha Quadrant. Not surprisingly, she tells him that are "way, way past sorry." (He does earn her forgiveness for helping them fight off the Dominion and a long conversation some episodes later.)
  • This happens quite a lot on Supernatural for some reason, particularly to Castiel, who spends half his time doing catastrophically awful things (e.g. his Season 7 arc sees him swallowing all the souls in purgatory, becoming drunk on power, declaring himself God, and committing genocide), and the other half desperately trying to atone for said awful things. Needless to say, he can't always fix things by just saying sorry, and although the Winchesters always forgive him eventually he still gets a fair amount of apologies thrown back in his face. For instance in this scene from the Season 8 finale:
    Castiel: Dean...I'm sorry.
    Dean: For what?
    Castiel: For everything.
    Dean: Everything? Like uh...like ignoring us?
    Castiel: Yes.
    Dean: Like bolting off with the Angel Tablet and then losing it? Because you didn't trust me. You didn't trust me.
    Castiel: Yes.
    Dean: Nah, that's not gonna cut it. Not this time. So you can take your little apology and cram it up your ass.
    • This happens to Sam various times when he tries to make amends for starting the apocalypse, and other people (understandably) aren't particularly forgiving. It also finally happens to Dean in Season 9 when he apologizes for letting a friend die, only to be reprimanded by the aforementioned friend (in ghost form) for being self-pitying and selfish, and is told that he's going to have to actually do something to make it right, instead of just sitting around crying about it.
    • Also occurs between Bobby and Rufus. Due to a mistake Bobby made when they were on a hunt in Omaha, Rufus broke up their partnership and the two had a strained relationship for years. When Bobby finally tries to apologize for what happened, Rufus turned him down instantly, despite the fact that they've been rekindling their friendship.
  • In Seinfeld episode, "The Betrayal", when Jerry continuously apologies to George for ruining his chances with a girl he had just met, George responds by saying "Stick your sorries in a sorry sack, Mister".

  • As quoted above, OneRepublic's song "Apologize" is based entirely on this trope.
  • Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam's "All Cried Out".
    Both: Don't you know the hurt will cause an inferno?
    Romance up in flames, why should I take the blame?
    You were the one who left me neglected.
    Male: I'm so sorry.
    Female: Apology not accepted, led me to the broken heart you collected.
  • Despite her memories with him, Katy Perry burns up an (admittedly half-hearted) apology letter from her former boyfriend for something he did with another woman at the beginning of her Part of Me video.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The Bible: God is generally presented as extremely patient and forgiving, but there is a point where even He will draw the line:
    • Samuel rebukes King Saul for disobeying God's commands in destroying every single Amalekite (he only spared the king and their sheep and cattle). Saul sincerely repents, but Samuel tells him that God won't accept it and He has rejected him as king of Israel. (Depending on the interpreter, the reason for the lack of forgiveness varies.)
    • The Bible also repeatedly warns that one day, there will be a final judgement, and by then, it'll be too late to repent.
    • According to every form of Christianity and Islam, there is no ministry in hell. It's too late to repent your sins and accept the love of Jesus or God into your heart once you're dead.

    Video Games 
  • In the BioShock Infinite DLC game Burial At Sea: Part 1, an alternate version of Booker DeWitt, who turns out to be an alternate version of Zachary Comstock who ends up killing Anna as he struggles to take him from her actual father, another Booker DeWitt, tells Elizabeth that he is sorry for what happened. Elizabeth tells him that he's not sorry, but he soon will be... just before he is impaled to death by a Big Daddy.
  • In Devil May Cry, Trish is working for Mundus, so when she reveals it to Dante and started attacking him with Nightmare, it failed. She doesn't fight back after this and tried to apologize, only for a furious Dante to point his gun at her and give her "The Reason You Suck" Speech before leaving her behind, much to her sadness.
  • Heavy Rain would have this if Ethan chooses to reject Madison for not telling him that she's a journalist all along.
    Ethan: You lied to me. I trusted you and you used me. Now I'll never be able to trust you again.
  • In the second season of The Walking Dead, Clementine can choose to forgive or chastise Nick for mistaking her for a walker.
  • Near the end of Assassin's Creed, Altair apologizes to Malik for his arrogance at the beginning of the game, which got Malik's arm cut off and his brother killed. Malik rejects the apology, but not out of spite or anger. He explains that he believes Altair is no longer the same man he was before, so the "new" Altair owes him no apology.
  • Saints Row 2: At Aisha's funeral, Johnny lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown onto the one responsible, and when they try to apologise, he punches them through a tombstone. Nothing says "Apology not accepted" like a concussion. And then Johnny buries him alive.
    • It helps the other guy came to the funeral to trash it, not apologize. He only started apologizing once he realized things weren't going his way.
  • In Tomodachi Life, when a Mii apologizes to a Mii that they had a fight with, there is a chance this will happen. When it does, the apologizing Mii falls into Sadness state, preventing them from doing anything or having their Happiness level increase. If the two Miis were best friends, sweethearts, or married, that's gone. If you're lucky, the apology-rejecting Mii may come around and ask to be friends again.
    Apologizing Mii: Life is so unexpectedly tough right now. We didn't patch things up. AT ALL.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of South Park, Cartman infects Kyle with AIDS for laughing at him, leaving the latter obviously enraged. The principal finds out about this and demands Cartman give an apology (which he does half heartedly), while Kyle should also apologize for tattling on Cartman. Cartman seems sincerely appalled that Kyle is still livid.
    Cartman: I apologized, Kyle!!!
  • The plot of the episode "Arnold Betrays Iggy", from Hey Arnold!, Arnold learns that his friend Iggy wears bunny pajamas and promises not to tell. However, Stinky and Sid find out by guessing what Arnold learned and, despite Arnold asking them to, they tell everyone at school about it, resulting in Iggy blaming Arnold. Despite Arnold bending over backwards to make it up to him, Iggy still refuses to forgive him afterwards (he never said he would if he did) and forces him to humiliate himself in public in the same bunny pajamas as the only chance of redemption. During the public spectacle, Iggy overhears that Stinky and Sid were responsible for his secret getting out and, realizing he's punishing an innocent Arnold, tries to stop the event, but is too late to save Arnold from humiliation. In the end, a guilty Iggy begs a not speaking Arnold for forgiveness, reversing the roles.
  • One episode of American Dad! has Stan taking his family to his half brother Rusty's place for Thanksgiving, believing it'll make his family be thankful for what they have, only to discover his brother's fabulously wealthy. Becoming jealous, Stan and his family attempt to take Rusty's place, only for them to be forcibly sent off with Rusty threatening Stan that he'll kill him if he ever sets foot on his land again. The helicopter they're in then crashes and they're stranded in the desert. After going through hell and realizing that family is more important than material possessions, Stan attempts to make amends with Rusty, who found them in the desert, only for his half brother to attempt to carry out his threat of killing Stan for still being on his land (he owned a lot apparently).
  • Transformers Animated
    "Wasp forgive Bumblebot. But Waspinator NEVER forgive!"
  • In a rare hero-to-villain case, Danny tried to apologize to Vlad for pranks he pulled on him after Vlad began making life miserable for him and his friends. Unfortunately, Vlad wouldn't have it, made a big speech that Danny deserves what he's getting, and sics the Guys In White on him.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", Brian wants to apologize to Jillian when Stewie revealed that he was paying half of the rent of the apartment, which prompts Brian to admit that he never wanted to move in with Jillian at all. She still rejects his apology and remains broken-hearted.
  • A most vicious example appeared in an episode of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy. Eddy inadvertently disgraces Rolf by throwing one of his cucumber balls at a fence. When Double D forces Eddy to give Rolf a potted plant as a sign of being sorry, it turns out to be an even greater insult in Rolf's country and Rolf challenges Eddy to a duel. In the end, Eddy finally says sorry, but since he didn't have the traditional "Cupcakes of Sorriness" (which had been earlier suggested as something to give to Rolf as an apology), Rolf still gave him a Curb Stomp No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. At which point everything is cheerfully forgiven and Rolf invites the Eds to partake in the celebratory Eels Of Forgiveness. Which involves pouring live eels down your pants.
  • An episode of VeggieTales has Larry's actions accidentally leave the cast stranded on an island. Larry tries to apologize, but the others aren't willing to accept it. Then we all learn a lesson about forgiveness.
  • An episode of The Boondocks has the family going back to their old hometown of Chicago for a funeral. Huey sees his old best friend Cairo, who took it badly when Huey moved. At the funeral, Cairo snaps at him and calls him a "fake nigga", causing a fight to break out. Huey later goes to his house and apologizes for the fight. He offers his hand to Cairo, who takes it... and yanks him forward, headbutting him so hard that he flies off the porch. Well, that's one way to reject an apology.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara meets the man who murdered her mother, and sees what a sad, pathetic wretch he's become since then, to the point that he's even begging her to kill his own mother in exchange. She would have none of it and gives him "The Reason You Suck" Speech, letting him live with the fact that she will never forgive him for what he did to her and her family and that he's already living out a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Norman Osborn in The Spectacular Spider-Man has this as his catchphrase. "Don't apologize. I never do."
  • In Bojack Horseman, Bojack tries to settle things with his former friend Herb (who he was forced to sell out in order to keep his job as an actor) before the latter dies of cancer. At the end of the episode, Herb makes it clear that he will never forgive Bojack, not so much for getting him fired, (Herb managed to do all right afterwards) but because Bojack was never there when Herb needed him most. As a result Herb refuses to give Bojack the satisfaction of burying the hatchet before he dies.
    Bojack: Hey, I wanted to talk to you about... you know. I feel bad about what happened.
    Herb: So, you're apologizing.
    Bojack: Yes. I'm sorry.
    Herb: Okay. I don't forgive you.
    Bojack: [Clearly surprised] Herb, I said I'm sorry.
    Herb: Yeah. And I do not forgive you.
    Bojack: Uhhh, not sure you get what's happening here? This could be the last time that-
    Herb: No. I'm not gonna give you closure. You don't get that. You have to live with the shitty thing you did for the rest of your life. You have to know that it's never, ever going to be okay!
    Herb: I did fine, I had a good life, but what I needed then was... a friend. And you abandoned me. And I will never forgive you for that. Now get the fuck out of my house!