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Rejected Apology

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"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 who holds grudges, 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. On the other hand, it may not take away much, if any sympathy at all if the person who's apologizing has committed wicked deeds that were too numerous or too horrible to deserve forgiveness, and in extreme cases can even make the apologizer look like a total, selfish jerk for thinking one sorry is enough to make up for a lifetime of atrocities, especially if said "apology" was disproportionate and half-hearted. There are times when even the apologies themselves could be an even bigger insult than the original offense, especially if they believe a single apology will undo all damages.


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 rejecter is portrayed as even more jerkish and completely unreasonable, however fair that may be. In some cases, however, the fact that the apology was clearly enforced and not sincere is exactly why it was rejected. In really tearjerking occasions, the incident that led to the rejecter being angry was a complete misunderstanding, but the rejecter refuses to listen to or maybe even believe the apologizing party's explanation. In more extreme cases, the rejecter might even turn down the apology while on the rejecter’s deathbed to deliberately spite the one apologizing with Parting Words Regret.


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. Sometimes, the victim gives a Flippant Forgiveness, where the victim accepts their offender's apology in a sarcastic, insulting way. 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 the wrongdoer refuses to apologize (for this case, having their apology rejected or knowing that it will be rejected by the other party can be a reason why they refuse to apologize, especially if they know deep down they're not truly sorry for what they've done). See No Sympathy for Grudgeholders where this may or may not be a 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. Virtue Is Weakness might come to play in that the rejecter might see forgiveness is a sign of weakness. If the apologizer acts equally standoffish and recants their apology after being rejected (either due to arrogantly expecting forgiveness or hypocrisy on the refuser's end), Then Let Me Be Evil is what they may commit. Often found in many Downer Endings, and few Bittersweet Endings.


Sadly, this is Truth in Television — whether or not the offender is truly regretful or that the person who was offended has always held on to grudges.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played With to "Denied Permission to Feel Remorse" in Attack on Titan with the main character Eren and his rigid views of morality. When Reiner expressed guilt for his crimes, it only enrages Eren even further, since he sees him as a monster that isn't allowed to feel remorse.
  • 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").
  • 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. While he does say that he cannot hate Lucy, he just can't forgive that she killed his family or condone her actions as a whole.
  • My Hero Academia: Endeavor is an Abusive Parent that sees the errors of his ways and attempts to apologize to his family for what he has done. Out of them, Natsuo vocally refuses to acknowledge that apology, while Shoto is more or less neutral to it, unable to forget all that his father has done, but acknowledging that he's a great hero and that people can change.
  • In The Feud Episode of Sailor Moon Super S, Minako ruins the decorations of Chibiusa's school's cultural festival, Makoto was so hurt at that she angrily breaks off their friendship and refuses to accept her apology.
  • Monster Musume: Smith apologizes to Rachnera for her placing her with a family that didn't fully accept her, but Rachnera brushes it off while saying her negligence and inconsideration to her needs was what got her into that mess, adding that the coordinator's apology had no sincerity to it.
  • In A Place Further than the Universe, the reason Hinata had to drop out of school is because she'd been picked to run for her team over some of the third-years, apparently at her friends' urging, and when said third-years got angry, her friends betrayed her, spreading rumors about her and forcing her to leave. When her friends send a message to the Antarctic expedition acting like nothing's wrong and that they're still friends, Hinata is extremely upset, although she tries to hide it. Eventually, when pressed, Hinata admits that she doesn't want to see them act relieved if she forgives them, prompting Shirase to give them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech on her behalf.
  • In One Piece, The Straw Hat Crew's ship, Going Merry was beyond repair and Luffy came to the conclusion to discard it and buy a new ship. Usopp, who was injured by their former-enemy-later-crewmate, Franky, objects to the idea and insist on keeping it, thus an argument breaks out. Even Luffy goes as far as to kick him out of the crew, leading Sanji to object and demand him to apologize to Usopp. He does, but The damage was done, and therefore, he refuses to accept his apology and walks out on the crew.
  • Discussed in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Verge of Destruction. When Catarina comes to Mary for advice on how to properly apologize to Keith for all the things she did to him before her Past-Life Memories awoke, Mary tells her that as someone who was also bullied by older siblings her entire life, she would find it extremely difficult to even consider such an apology. She turns out to be completely right, as Keith becomes furious when Catarina tries to apologize to him and calls him "little brother" after years of treating him like dirt.
  • In Bloom Into You, Sayaka Saeki had a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship with Chie Yuzuki, her sempai from middle school, until Chie suddenly broke off their relationship one day, saying that they were getting too old for it. When the two met by chance while Sayaka was in high school, Chie apologized for getting Sayaka interested in girls, and hoped that she had gone back to normal. Sayaka then tells Chie that she shouldn't worry, since she doesn't know why she got interested in Chie in the first place, an outwardly polite remark that expresses that she has not forgiven Chie.

    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 the death ensues.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: In issue 10, Loki finally confessed and tried to apologize for what they did in Journey into Mystery (murdered and body-snatched their own child self), and Thor understandably snapped, and barely restrained himself from killing him. Tragically, Loki not only meant it, but knew that he deserved every bit of what he got, not lifting a finger to fight back.
  • 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 replies that he can go to hell in that case and walked away.
  • A pretty realistic example with Spider-Man's Aunt May was at first unwilling to forgive the Vulture when he pleaded for forgiveness for killing her boyfriend Nathan Lubinski. (He was dying, and sought to tie up loose ends.) His first attempt ended with her slapping him and ordering him to leave (he did, but not for long). When it was clear that his remorse was heavily tainted with hypocrisy (he had also committed several murders as part of tying up "the loose ends") Spidey beat him to a pulp, dragged him back to May's house, and made him apologize for everything he did. May still didn't accept it. She dealt with her inner pain eventually, and visited him in jail, where she stated that she wasn't unwilling to understand, she couldn't bring herself forgive him, simply saying it was between him and God. (Unfortunately, future stories showed it was lost on him.)

    Fan Works 
  • 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 Hetalia: Axis Powers 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".
  • Another Hetalia fanfic example and fan-written sequel to the Financial Crisis Gangbang (from the same author) is Parting Sentiments, where England tries to apologize to America years after the rape, only to be harshly rejected as America gives him a thorough "The Reason You Suck" Speech and making it clear that he will never forgive or trust England (or any of his other attackers) again for what he did.
  • In Girls und Panzer - International War Games, Hisao visits his son Kenji, the main Original Character, trying to get Kenji to stop blaming himself for a past incident (presumably when Kenji accidentally killed his sister). Hisao admits that he was too hard on Kenji, something that also applies to Kenji's older brother, but Kenji doesn't believe it. Unusually for this trope, Hisao turns far less conciliatory and calls Kenji out on not accepting his apology.
  • In Where Talent Goes To Die, when Kaori Miura, the protagonist, is being considered for admission to Talent High School (a school very similar to Hope's Peak Academy), she's pitted against Shiro Kurogane, the Ultimate Shogi Player in a shogi match and, thanks to her talent, defeats him despite never having played before. Kurogane is quite bitter about the humiliation he suffered and refuses to accept Miura's apology when they're trapped in the school together. This results in Kurogane being murdered, and his killer trying to frame Miura for his death. Averted in Kurogane's Free Time Events, though, in which he does eventually accept Miura's apology, and admit that he's been unfair to her.
  • In Light Of Hope 2 New Horizons (courtesy link), a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic and sequel, a now reformed Infinite is approached by Richard, the father of his best friend Levi, a Gambling Addict who abused his son for many years and finally molested him, all when Levi was only a child. This follows: (It turns out that Richard was just faking his reformation.)
    Richard: Look, I know I did some terrible things and I can't any of it back, but I just want to start over and try to be a better person and father. So what do you say? Will you give me a chance?
    Infinite: I'm sorry but you wasted your chance when you put your hands on Levi in a place no child should ever be touched. I appreciate that you've at least come to terms with your horrid behavior and are trying to clean up your act, but bringing you around Levi would only damage him even more. So...goodbye.
  • Old Scars, a Steven Universe fanfic where Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond is Spared by the Adaptation, has the members of the Diamond Authority trying to apologize to the gem in question. This is since they still view her as Pink Diamond, and they want to talk to her and apologize for their thousands of years of being Abusive Parents. She tells them that Pink Diamond is dead and then tells them all to Get Out!
  • After the Agni Kai and ousting Zuko from the position of Fire Lord in Towards The Sun, Iroh gets on his knees and begs for Zuko's forgiveness. Zuko doesn't remotely forgive Iroh for undermining him, undoing his efforts as Fire Lord and making him relive his worst trauma. He doesn't even think that Iroh is being sincere.
  • Commonly seen in post-"Chameleon" Salt Fics, such as this unnamed piece by ChaoticNeutral. Having had her warnings brushed off and dismissed, Marinette is unwilling to accept an apology that rings hollow — much less one that her classmates clearly expect her to accept, no questions asked, and without any of them evaluating how they behaved.
  • In Brutal Harry, Dumbledore tries to apologize to Harry for leaving him with the Dursleys and Harry won't hear any of it, as the subsequent abuse he underwent at their hands goes beyond anything that could be forgiven within reason. Moreover, Harry also calls out Dumbledore on being a hypocrite for apologizing for the abuse Harry went through, yet still enabling the exact same environment to occur in Hogwarts via turning a blind eye to the bullying problems and corrupt staff plaguing the school. The sequel, Hero Harry, reveals that Harry still hasn't forgiven the man and likely never will.
  • In God is Cruel, Oliver uses Laurel as bait for Slade without her knowledge. Slade uses the set up to stab Laurel in the stomach, nearly killing her. A horrified Oliver tries to apologize to Dean, Laurel's husband, who will have none of it.
    Oliver: I'm sorry.
    Dean: [mockingly] You're sorry? You're sorry? You think that's enough? You think that's anywhere close to being enough? Sorry isn't going to save her life. Sorry isn't going to fix everything you've broken.
  • In Echoes of the past, Oliver tries to apologize to Laurel for his terrible treatment of her. However, she cuts him off and tells him that if he needed to be told how much he hurt her and is going to continue to treat her terribly, he shouldn't bother. So he doesn't apologize, which really wasn't what she wanted to happen. Later she repeats this to him, and he does apologize. But by that point, it's too late.
  • Blackened Skies: After Kaede's plan to draw out the culprit during the first trial nearly cause the group to falsely convict Tsumugi instead, the seamstress is naturally among those who reject her apology. Kaede tries to make amends, hoping to mend fences quickly, only for Tsumugi to call her out on it, pointing out that she's not giving her time to process what happened, and the pushiness isn't helping her case any.

    Films — Animation 
  • Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking examples was in Kung Fu Panda, where during the climactic 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.
    Tai Lung: I don't want your apology. I WANT MY 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.
    Mertle: Apology NOT accepted. Now get out of my way before I run you over!
    [Stitch then pushes Mertle off of her trike]
  • After "totaling 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.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: During the climax, when Ariel tries to apologize to Melody for lying to her about her mermaid heritage her whole life, Melody tells her point-blank that it's "too late" and spitefully hands the trident over to Morgana. Immediately afterward, Morgana reveals her true colors to Melody and why Ariel did what she did. In the end, Melody does accept the apology.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Laurel and Hardy film, The Bullfighters A secretary told them that they can't apologize to Richard K. Muldoon. Instead, he will skin them alive for revenge.
  • 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 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, May 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 May 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...
    Trentino: 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 gives her a painless death.
  • In Tell No One, Anne tearfully apologizes to her brother Alexandre for not telling him Margot - his dead wife, or so everyone thinks - was beat up by Phillipe (whom Marie worked for) before her death. While he lets Marie hug him, all Alexandre says is, "Thanks for telling me", and his total manner is non-forgiving.
  • At the conclusion of Gone with the Wind, having finally realized that she loves Rhett, Scarlett repeatedly apologizes for her ill-treatment of him. But the worn-out (and probably disbelieving) Rhett dismisses her, saying, "My darling, you're such a child. You think that by saying 'I'm sorry', all the past can be corrected."
  • Star Wars: At the climax of The Last Jedi, Luke apologizes to Ben Solo/Kylo Ren for failing him as a teacher, leading to Ben's fall to The Dark Side. Ben doesn't even care anymore and says as much, making clear that nothing Luke has to say can dissuade him destroying the Resistance.
  • In Crazy Heart, Bad Blake tries to call his son after being absent for all of his life, only to find he wants absolutely nothing to do with him, and that during the time he had been gone, his ex-wife had died. Blake doesn't take it well.

  • In Divergent, Al is bawling when he attempts to apologize to Tris for assisting in an attempt on her life, after she ranked first. She says that if he ever comes near her again, she'll kill him.
  • In Left Behind, Leon Fortunato, when he is brought before Jesus along with Nicolae Carpathia, tries to repent, but Jesus considers him long since sold out to Satan and throws him and Nicolae to Hell along with those who have not chosen to follow Him.
  • After being bullied by Clear Sky in Warrior Cats: Dawn Of The Clans, Jagged Peak refuses to accept Clear Sky's apology after Gray Wing tells him off.
  • In Harry Potter, a young Snape tried to apologize to Harry's future mother Lily, who back then was his Only Friend, for having insulted her gravely with racist slurs. She refused to accept it, and it's implied that she had tried to be patient with him as he fell in worse and worse company, but this last offense was her absolute last straw and she decided to cut ties with him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family: The Season 1 episode "Success Story" sees one a visiting friend of Archie, Eddie Frazier, trying to reconnect with his estranged son via phone. Viewers hear only Eddie's side of the conversation, as he is desperately trying to plead for forgiveness for some unknown offense, but apparently to no avail as the person on the other end of the line hangs up. Mike has overheard part of the conversation; Eddie tries to put up his bravado but realizes Mike is on to him, forcing him to admit, "He (his son) told me to stay the hell away from him!" In the end, Frazier is clearly trying to keep check of his emotions while others toast him for being such a success and inspiration.
  • Angel: In the episode "Sanctuary," Buffy does this to Faith, who is genuinely remorseful for her crimes, going so far as to openly threaten to beat Faith to death if she tries to apologize to her for her actions. To be fair, Faith had recently used a device left to her by Mayor Wilkins to swap bodies with Buffy and used it to her advantage to sleep with Buffy's new boyfriend, and Faith had rejected Buffy's other offers of redemption beforehand:
    Faith: Angel told me there was no way you were gonna give me a chance.
    Buffy: I gave you every chance! I tried so hard to help you, and you spat on me!
  • The Brady Bunch: "Goodbye Alice, Hello," has Carol refusing to accept Greg and Marcia's "I'm sorry" after they and the other siblings cause a rift between them and beloved housemaid Alice that caused the latter to resign her job unannounced and without saying goodbye. Essentially, a pissed-off Carol tells them that if they want to apologize, it needs to be to the one they hurt. Fortunately for the kids, the trope is averted in the end.
  • Coronation Street: Sunita came to visit the Peacocks to apologize for accusing Claire of hurting Aadi, but since Claire was still rightfully angry towards Sunita and her neighbors for being too quick to assume that she would hurt a child due to her history of mental illness, she refused to accept her apology and she wants a fresh start away from Weatherfield.
  • The Cosby Show: A memorable Season 6 episode of the long-running sitcom, "Off To See the Wretched," has perhaps the series most famous one, and perhaps one of the trope codifiers. Here, daughter Vanessa has snuck off to an out-of-state concert with her friends; all the parents, including series protagonists Cliff and Clair, think they're at that concert at a much more nearby venue. A series of situations unravel their planned evening of fun, the first tip-off being the word of a major fire at a nearby plant that makes everyone scared that Vanessa and everyone had burned to death (except not only were they not there nor never there, everyone was safe). In the end, Clair is outraged that Vanessa lied to her about everything and told her outright that it will be a long time before she will be trusted again. Vanessa tearfully pleads with her mother, saying she's sorry for what happened, but sensing that she doesn't get it, Clair tells her, "For all we know you're lying to us right now! GO TO BED!!!!"
  • The Electric Company: In a latter-season skit "Lettuce and Cabbage," a chef (Luis Avalos) forever confuses said two vegetables, to the point where the restaurant owner (Skip Hinnant) has received multiple complaints from customers. (He had served lettuce in an Austrian soup while serving cabbage on BLT sandwiches). This is an apparent final straw incident in a series of major mistakes, as the chef tries to apologize but the owner tells him he's fired... leading into Avalos' song lamenting about how, despite being a talented chef, neither he nor any reasonable person can tell a cabbage and lettuce head apart.
  • The Hogan Family: A Season 2 episode, "Leave It To Willie," has Willie desperately trying to apologize to his mother for an incident where he stole his father's car to go on a joyride, crashed it, and then allows David to take the blame. Valerie rejects his pleas for "I'm sorry" and tells him he will need to face possibly severe consequences.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • In one episode, 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.
    • In another episode, after talking to Amy and Bernadette about her experiences in high school, Penny starts to realize that she was a bully. She actually tries to call up the girls she picked on and apologize, but they hang up on her.
  • Frasier:
    • 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.
  • 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?
      BJ: No offense intended.
      Charles: Offense accepted.
    • In a Christmas episode, Father Mulcahy tries to assist a nurse dealing with an unruly patient who ends up punching him. Mulcahy, being a former boxer, instinctively punches him back, but is horrified by his actions. He later tries to apologize to the patient, only to be turned away. The patient, in this case, refuses to admit his own fault in the matter and comes off as a Jerkass, but Mulcahy is left questioning his own significance within the M*A*S*H unit.
  • In Mindhunter, when Holden berates Bill for putting in a lackluster work performance, Bill finally tells him the real reason he's been so preoccupied lately: that his son, Brian, was involved in the gruesome murder of another child. Holden is shocked and tries to apologize for his former harshness, but Bill rebuffs him and launches into an insult-laden rant instead, which Holden has to just stand there and take.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In the 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:
      G'Kar: Perhaps, but not today.
    • Not an outright rejection of her apology, as G'Kar does admit that as angry as he is about it, she was right to do so. More than anything, he needs more time to come to terms with it all.
  • Drake & Josh: In "Josh Is Done", Drake tries to (rather insincerely) apologize to Josh after making the latter miss out on an important chemistry exam. However, Josh is still unwilling to forgive Drake and decides to cut him out of his life and now just considers him a roommate and nothing else. After a Trauma Conga Line, culminating in messing up a chemistry experiment, Drake actually apologizes to Josh again (this time sincerely) for being so inconsiderate towards him in the past, and while Josh at first wanted some time to think about it, he does eventually accept Drake's apology and reconciles with him.
  • 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!"
  • Friends:
    • In "The One With The Lists", Rachel takes it very personally when Ross writes out lists comparing her and another woman, gets the wrong idea about a typo, refuses to let Ross explain himself, and even goes so far as to kill his radio apology gesture to her.
    • Rachel likewise is not impressed with Ross' groveling after it's revealed he didn't annul their marriage in "The One With Joey's Porsche". When it seems like she's relented, he discovers she wrote a tirade of false insults as reasons for their divorce, he refuses to confirm it, failing their annulment. When Rachel is left fuming over this, Ross angrily reminds her of all the crap he forgave her over, leading her to admit it was a two-way disaster.
    • In the 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. By the end of it, Monica loses her patience and lambasts her for holding a grudge over a simple mistake....before quickly turning back to beg for forgiveness again.
  • 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 is "way, way past sorry." (He does earn her forgiveness for helping them fight off the Dominion and a long conversation some episodes later.)
  • Supernatural:
    • This happens quite a lot for some reason, particularly to Castiel, who spends half his time doing catastrophically awful things (e.g. his Season 6 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.
  • Seinfeld:
    • In the 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 sack, Mister".
    • In "The Parking Space", Kramer feels slighted that George and Elaine went to a flea market and didn't invite him. They apologize to him for the unintended offense, but he rejects it, saying it wasn't good enough.
  • In an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a couple sues their dead daughter's lesbian partner for custody of their granddaughter because they think she sexually abused her. When she's proven innocent, and it's found out they were pawns in the homophobic prosecutor's scheme to discredit homosexuals, they apologize for misjudging her. However, she refuses to forgive them, and she forbids them from seeing their granddaughter ever again. On the partner's side, she's not willing to forgive them because she knows the grandparents never accepted their daughter was gay and partially believed the partner was responsible for "changing" her. She knew they were eager to believe the prosecutor's lies because it gave them a valid excuse to get rid of her. It helps that she's also upset they allowed their granddaughter, whom she loves like a daughter, to be manipulated into thinking she was sexually abused by the partner.
  • In the series finale of The Shield, this is Ronnie's response to Vic when Dutch informs him of the charges being laid against him ("the last three years," a reference to the Strike Team's many dirty deeds). And he is not the least bit subdued about it.
  • In the Riverdale episode "Anatomy of a Murder" Jughead attempts to apologize to Cheryl after his father is arrested for the murder of her brother (wrongfully, as it later turns out). She responds by slapping and hitting him until the other characters pull her off. (Though she herself later apologizes to Jughead for this, which he seems to accept).
  • In an episode of the short-lived Aliens In America, the protagonist, an unpopular teenaged boy, tries to do something nice for his sister who had been recently dumped by her boyfriend, only for her to humiliate him in front of the whole school by asking if he had a crush her. When they get home, she half-heartedly apologizes for her outburst, only for him to reject her apology, stating that since she became part of the popular clique, she either ignored him or pushed him around, with this incident being the last straw, and spends most of the rest of the episode ignoring her. They finally make up after her ex-boyfriend threatened to beat him up for vandalizing his locker, in retaliation for dumping her, and she blames the vandalism on a shifty looking kid, who was seen doing shifty things earlier in the episode.
  • In season 5 of The Flash (2014) Barry and Iris' time traveling daughter Nora reveals that she is cold and distant with Iris because future Iris implanted a power dampening chip into her at an early age and only 6 months prior did Nora learn about the chip, or that she had powers at all, and not from Iris. When Iris learns about this she tries to apologize but Nora refuses to accept.
  • Law & Order: At the end of the season 16 episode, "Ghosts", Det. Fontana tries to offer an apology to the father of the Victim Of The Week (A Cold Case in which Fontana had pursued the father as THE suspect, years earlier). The father shuts the door in his face without a word.
  • In Good Luck Charlie season 1, Teddy discover that her boyfriend Spencer was cheating on her as she and the other girlfriend get angry with him then break up with him. Although they were able to get over their heartbreak, Teddy thought about getting back at Spencer. Before getting her payback with him, Teddy was surprised that Spencer came to her house as he attempted to apologizes to her for cheating and hurting her then asked to get back together with him. However, Teddy tells Spencer that she can't forgive him and doesn't trust him but does apologize to him before he left. Through his visit, Teddy realized that getting back at Spencer would't solve anything. In the season 1 final and during the most of season 2, Teddy tried to friends with Spencer but hold a grudge against him for awhile. However, after they starting working together in a theme park, Teddy forgives Spencer as she rediscover her feelings for him and hearing him say that cheating on her was the biggest mistake he ever made.

  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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.)
    • Judaism includes a set of rules about the correct way to apologize. Included in those rules is that if you have wronged someone, then you have to apologize to them. You have to try sincerely to apologize up to three times; if they reject all three, you have fulfilled your obligation to your fellow man. Then you have the right to beg final forgiveness from God on Yom Kippur, the annual day of atonement.
    • The Bible also repeatedly warns that one day, there will be a final judgment, and by then, it'll be too late to repent.
    • According to almost 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In the WWE, John Laurinaitis demanded an apology from the The Big Show for making fun of his voice, even going as far as forcing him to kneel down and beg for his job. As The Big Show tearfully apologizes, Laurinaitis smugly rejects the apology and fires him anyways.
  • In 1998, to help build heat for Vince McMahon's then still-relatively-new persona as "evil boss" Mr. McMahon, gives Mick Foley a severe dressing down the day after Foley (wrestling as Dude Love) failed to defeat his nemesis "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at a pay-per-view event. Near the end of the scathing promo, Foley offers a tearful "I'm sorry," but McMahon angrily rejects it, berates him some more and then tells him his services "are no longer required."
    • Vince McMahon has been on the receiving end of this as well. He once was held at gunpoint in the ring by an angry "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ... only for Austin to reveal he had a pop gun that revealed a white "Austin 3:16" flag (the infamous promo where McMahon shit his pants in the ring), before dropping him with a Stone Cold Stunner. Several years later, Trish Stratus and others set McMahon up to have his philandering ways exposed (literally) to his wife, Linda; Vince tried to backpedal and apologize, but Linda demanded a divorce.
  • Bobby Heenan has had many of his apologies flatly if not angrily rejected by others, knowing he was trying to weasel his way out of the responsibility of a major attack or a miscarriage of justice.
    • With Gorilla Monsoon, a classic example came on the January 23, 1989 episode of Prime Time Wrestling, a week after Heenan initiated a sneak attack of the Red Rooster by the Brooklyn Brawler, and when Monsoon got pulled into the middle of the fracas got knocked out. On the January 16 issue, Heenan smugly "apologized," but a week later when he tried to say he was sorry and that he never meant for Monsoon to be hurt, Monsoon scoffed at him and warned him that the USA Network and the WWF had put him on a short leash. A later example came with the September 11, 1989 edition, when Heenan pleaded for forgiveness, this time after he helped initiate a verbal and near-physical confrontation between his protege Rick Rude and Arch-Enemy Roddy Piper.
    • Multiple times, when former proteges of his were making face turns, Heenan would berate them and slap them in the face, before the guy he tried to attack stalked him, prompting Heenan to do an Oh, Crap! and try to back off, only to get a massive beating (sometimes with Heenan trying to beg for mercy.
At least one time, during his AWA days, it (kayfabe) ended with a beating so severe he wound up with a severe concussion and his being placed in a body cast.

  • In Lizzie, the title character does a variant of this. In her first solo song, "This is Not Love," she comments that her sexually abusive father sometimes apologizes for his actions, but always ends up repeating them later. Lizzie understandably rejects these apologies, as well as his claims of loving her, albeit not to his face.

    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 her 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 in a rare, positive example.
  • Saints Row 2: At Aisha's funeral, Johnny lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown onto the one responsible, and when they try to apologize, 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. Though with luck, 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.
  • Towards the end of a pacifist run in Undertale, Asgore apologizes to Toriel for causing the whole mess that kickstarted the plot and wants to make amends for what he had done. She rejects his apology and refuses to get back together with him, not even as a friend. However, the ending implies the two of them might be working things out.
  • The Sims 2 has a bug that goes like this: Sim A wrongs Sim B in some fashion, causing them to become enemies; Sim A attempts to apologize; Sim B appears to accept the apology, but then attacks Sim A.
  • In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, when Lisa and Eikichi remember what they had done to their friend Maya (they had trapped her in a burning shrine many years ago, nearly killing her), they attempt to apologize to her. Maya roughly dismisses them, saying that "I'm sorry" is nothing more than a "convenient phrase" used to transfer guilt onto others, then outright attacks them. Subverted when "Maya" turns out to be Maya's Shadow self. The real Maya helps defeat the Shadow and fully forgives Lisa and Eikichi.
    Shadow Maya: A thing can be unforgivable, but oh, if they apologize... I say there’s no reason to accept that suffering.
  • Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasma: Ragna tries to apologize to Rachel for their earlier encounter, but Rachel doesn't accept it, saying that it's "hard to be angry at a worm". He then resorts to begging and kneeling, but that only makes Rachel pretend he's not even speaking to her.
  • The protagonists in Persona 5 can inflict a form of Heel–Face Brainwashing on people, convincing them to repent and confess to their crimes. Unfortunately for the major targets, they have all passed the Moral Event Horizon, and are doomed to suffer from this. One exception, though, is Hanae Oda, mother of Shinya Oda, the Tower Confidant- after her heart is stolen, causing her to regret being a jerkass who uses intimidation and bad behavior to get her way while advising her son to do the same, Shinya notes that he's gradually reconciling with her.
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, this happens with Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu, whose actions caused the second murder. Hiyoko Saionji refuses to forgive Fuyuhiko, partly because she's a jerkass and partly because the victim was her best friend, Mahiru Koizumi. Hiyoko refuses to forgive Fuyuhiko even after he goes into a Pose of Supplication, but is horrified when he attempts Seppuku. Sometime later, she becomes a little more tolerant him, but then she's murdered a few days after that.

  • Zebra Girl: Sandra tries to apologize to Crystal for her actions, but Crystal, who had her faith in Sandra shattered only a few hours before, is not willing to listen.:
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night: Minerva Westenra does this to the hunters, specifically Van Helsing when Helsing apologizes for her being turned into a vampire and offers her "peace" (i.e staking). She shoots back that not only did he fail to protect Lucy from Dracula, but likewise kept what was really going on from her when she was under the impression Lucy's sickness was something standard. Minerva only found out otherwise after she was kidnapped by Dracula's brides, met Dracula himself, was bitten by her now vampirized daughter and became Dracula's most recent bride, and willingly joins Dracula's fight against the hunters stating that while Dracula may be a bloodsucking monster, at least he's honest in his intentions.
    Minerva: You assume that this is the corruption speaking for me. I assure it is not, doctor. However good your intention was, the fact that you failed to follow through after not even giving me the courtesy of the true dilemma stings more than becoming one of these creatures. Even if he is a monster, Lord Dracul is at least true to his words. So keep your so-called "peace" (Eyes glow as she levitates) but for my daughter, I will obey his wishes...and you all must die.
  • In General Protection Fault, after Sam tries to rape his fiancée Ki in a fit of rage, he goes up to the next day to try to apologize. Ki notes that while he seems sincere, she recognizes that he's crossed a line, and immediately breaks off the engagement with him.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Melissa attempted to apologize to Justin for outing him multiple times.
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, warring sister goddesses Ranna and Ch'Thier are told by their aunt that they weren't the goddesses of Good and Evil but of Chaos and Order, respectively. They were warped into their current Black-and-White Morality roles by their followers. Ch'Thier offers her hand in forgiveness and reconciliation to Ranna, vowing that they can start again in the roles they were meant to have. Ranna's response is to turn into a giant dragon and swallow Ch'Thier whole. It had been established that this isn't the first time they've had to be reminded of who they really are. From the reactions of the other immortals present, this also isn't the first time Ranna said "Screw That."

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Subverted in the Season 2 episode "Bart vs. Thanksgiving," in which Bart runs away from home after he's punished for causing a huge fight earlier in the day that caused Lisa's meticulously-crafted centerpiece to be destroyed and ruined Thanksgiving dinner. Even though it was technically an accident, Bart stubbornly refuses to believe that he did anything wrong and insists that Lisa is to blame. He's convinced by some hobos to return home, but when he does, he has an Imagine Spot where he apologizes to Lisa only for her to reject Bart's apology and everyone to begin mocking Bart by blaming him for everything. As Bart grovels for forgiveness, everyone — even Uncle Sam who accuses Bart of causing America to lose its way — continues to chant "It's all your fault!". Thinking that's what will happen, Bart doesn't go in and tries to sneak into his room... only to end up on the roof after over-climbing. Lisa overhears him and, after some talking, Bart realizes he does indeed feel guilt for his actions and finally apologizes to Lisa to which she accepts, happy that her older brother is safe and back home.
  • South Park:
    • In "Tonsil Trouble," 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!!!
    • In "Breast Cancer Show Ever," Cartman repeatedly makes tasteless jokes about breast cancer in the midst of Wendy trying to promote breast cancer awareness, leading to a furious Wendy challenging him to a fight. Afterwards, Cartman tries to quietly apologize to Wendy for his actions, but Wendy refuses to accept it unless he apologizes openly, which Cartman refuses to do in order to keep up his "brave and hardcore" act. Also, it's made clear Cartman isn't actually sorry in the slightest, and is just trying to get out of the fight.
  • 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 not 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 Arnold (who refuses to speak to him) 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: Bumblebee was an unknowing accessory to Wasp being framed for espionage. After Wasp spends 50 years in prison and turns into Waspinator, Bumblebee tries to apologize.
    Wasp forgive Bumblebot. But Waspinator NEVER forgive!
  • Danny Phantom: In a rare hero-to-villain case, Danny tries 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, makes 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 Brian remains broken-hearted.
  • A most vicious Lost in Translation 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. A beaten down Eddy decides to just go with it this time.
  • 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 a variation of this as his catchphrase: "Don't apologize. I never do." It's not him rejecting it, but rather saying no one should have any need to apologize in the first place.
  • 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: (completely calm) Okay. I don't forgive you.
    BoJack: (clearly surprised) Herb, I said I'm sorry.
    Herb: (as calmly as before) 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: (getting angry) 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!
    BoJack: I really think that we'd both feel better if we...
    Herb: I'm dying! I'm not gonna feel better! And I'm not gonna be your prop so you can feel better.
    BoJack: You have to believe me, I did everything I could!
    Herb: Yeah? Then why didn't you call me? Huh? Twenty years, you didn't call me.
    BoJack: Look, I-I-I wanted to, but I didn't think—
    Herb: You know what it was like for me? I had nobody, everybody left. I knew all those showbiz phonies would turn on me, sure, but you?
    BoJack: It's not my fault you got fired!
    Herb: I don't care about the job! 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!
  • In Steven Universe, after Lapis Lazuli is finally freed from her fusion with Jasper, she finds herself competing with Peridot for a place to stay (their first meeting since Lapis was taken to Earth and interrogated as part of Peridot's mission). Peridot wants to share the living space and make amends with Lapis, but Lapis firmly denies all of Peridot's efforts, up to and including destroying a gift Peridot gave her right in front of her. Peridot finally agrees to leave, but returns fleeing when a Homeworld ship appears. Lapis never formally forgives Peridot for what happened, but some words from Steven and the urgency of the situation are at least enough for Lapis to save Peridot's life and let her stay, with the two eventually becoming close friends.
  • In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Heavenly Puss", after accidentally getting crushed by a piano and going to Heaven, Tom learns that due to his record of tormenting Jerry, he's not allowed in and his only chance is getting Jerry's signature on a 'Certificate of Forgiveness' within an hour. Unfortunately, Jerry doesn't buy Tom's pandering, to the point that he outright tears the certificate apart. After Tom begs and attempts to elaborate his predicament, a bewildered Jerry submits and signs, just too late and Tom ends up being banished to Hell. Fortunately for Tom, it's All Just a Dream.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "All That Glitters", SpongeBob accidentally breaks his Spatula and buys a technologically advanced one, which turns out to be a Jerkass. So SpongeBob goes to see his old Spatula (who is named Spat) at the hospital. Spat, who is on a wheelchair, is suddenly angry with SpongeBob for replacing him. SpongeBob tearfully apologizes to Spat, but Spat initially doesn't forgive him. In the ending, Spat returns to SpongeBob with no problems at all, thus restoring their friendship.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Danger Island Survivor", Kaeloo sets up an incredibly lame game show and forces her friends to participate. When Mr. Cat makes a few changes to the show to make it more interesting and fun, Kaeloo gets mad and beats him up severely. After the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, she apologizes. Unlike most episodes, Mr. Cat coldly refuses to accept her apology, tells her to leave, and walks away without even looking at her.
  • PJ Masks: In "Owlette's Terrible Pterodactyl Trouble," Connor scares Amaya as a joke in a school trip, and Amaya spends most of the episode giving him the cold shoulder. Though Connor apologizes, Amaya refuses to accept it because it wasn't a "very big sorry," and ends up jeopardizing their mission to retrieve a pterodactyl model Romeo stole from the museum by refusing to follow his orders as a result. It's only when Connor loses control of the pterodactyl, which he was using to look for her, to Romeo and ends up in danger that Amaya finally accepts his apology, acknowledging that all of their problems could have been avoided had she just made up with him in the first place.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the season 2 premiere, when her father got turned into a mutant bat, April gets upset with the Turtles and cuts all ties with the them. In "Target: April O'Neil," Donnie approaches her and tried to make amends with by giving her an apology but she refuses to accept it. However, April begins to reconsider her decision, after Casey informs her of a similar incident that cost him his own friendship with a former friend of his, remarking that some things just can't be controlled, which both he and Donnie said to her. Finally, April officially forgives the Turtles when they save her from the Foot Clan and gave them her own apology for being harsh towards them, especially to Donnie.
  • In the second season episode "Timephoon!" of DuckTales (2017), Louie steals a time machine to pilfer treasures from past eras in order to boost his "Louie Incorporated" idea and quickly become a billionaire. The act of stealing those artifacts causes the timestream to act chaotic as people from those same eras manifest in the present. Things steadily grow worse as the rest of the main cast are zapped into the timestream, leaving a horrified Louie left to fix things. When everyone's restored, Louie tries to apologize for his actions and almost everyone forgives him. Almost. His mother Della, in her first act of true parenting since she returned from the moon, does not forgive Louie by pointing out how his recklessness almost destroyed the lives of everyone around them. Even when Louie makes a scathing but accurate point that Della did something similar when she stole the experimental rocket that left her stranded on the moon, and left everyone thinking she was dead for ten years while causing a rift between Donald and Uncle Scrooge, but Della holds firm and grounds Louie for what he did, although she did settled down and hoped she wasn't too rough on him. However, in the next episode, Della does forgive Louie when she sees that he helped Scrooge beat Flintheart Glomgold and that he put the ones he loves over his own selfish gain.
  • Elena of Avalor: In Season 3, when Esteban's alliance with Shuriki is revealed, he attempts to apologize to everyone, but Elena and their grandmother tell him to screw off with his apologies and excuses since his actions led to the deaths of Elena's parents and Avalor suffering under Shuriki's tyrannical regime for over four decades. In "Dreamcatcher", when Esteban desperately begs for a chance to make things right between them, Elena tells him point-blank that there's nothing he can do to fix this and he's no longer her family; this is what pushes Esteban into a full Face–Heel Turn.
  • It happens a lot in Total Drama:
    • In "Sundae Muddy Sundae", Courtney reveals a chart with all contestants of her choice, having already decided which one would be eliminated next and which one would she take to the finale: she choose her boyfriend, Scott to take to the finale, over her bestie, Gwen, who she promise to take her to the finale. When the chart was exposed (just blame Mal.), Most contestants were disappointed on her for her attempt of betrayal, especially Gwen. During the challenge, Courtney approached and tried to apologize to her for it, but she refused to accept it, of course, unless Courtney agreed to vote for herself.
  • A heart-breaking verison in Netflix's Carmen Sandiego as Shadow-san, who spent his youth angry at the brother who raised who raised him for being content being poor and joined the yukuza and a thief-ring when he stole a priceless sword from his brothers academic work, returns it. He attempts to apologize to his brother, bowing deeply. Though he also says his brother doesn't have to forgive him. He just wants to make things right. The brother silently walks away without even a word.

    Real Life 
  • Reverend William Aitcheson confessed to burning a cross on a black couple's yard when he was a KKK member, and his apology was rejected by said couple. It didn't help that he waited forty years to offer his apology.
  • Marty Stroud, an attorney in Louisiana, tried to apologize to Glenn Ford, a man he had helped convict who spent 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit when he learned Ford was dying of terminal cancer. Ford refused to forgive him, understandable since he was near death when the attempt was made and had only been free from prison for less than a year by that time.


Video Example(s):


Callaghan's Apology

Robert Callaghan apologizes to Hiro for indirectly killing his brother. Despite the sentiment, Hiro is unable to forgive him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.74 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / RejectedApology

Media sources:

Main / RejectedApology