"I said it's too late to apologize
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
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 of 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 of the character's lack of forgiveness. This can often be part of the "The Reason You Suck" Speech
if the rejection is extremely harsh.
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.
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Anime & Manga
- Dub Text in Digimon Tamers final episode. When the 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.
- 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.
- 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 apologize either. A duel to death ensues.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard: In issue 10 Loki finally confessed and tried apologise for what he did in Journey into Mystery (murdered and body snatched his own child self) and Thor perfectly understandably snapped. Rejected is putting it mildly, beaten to an inch of his life more like it. Most heartbreakingly: Loki actually meant it, and didn't fight back at all.
- 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.
- 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 appears to want one, instead pointing out her flaws in driving people away.
- In the 2007 film Bridge to Terabithia, Jess Aarons tried to apologize with 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 is done to him. She expects him to use this trope but tells her it is never too late to apologize and stays by her side until she dies.
- 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 will 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.
- 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?
Dean: Like bolting off with the Angel Tablet and then losing it? Because you didn't trust me. You didn't trust me.
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.
- 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.
- 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.