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Rejected Apology

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"How is it possible I want to punch you more now than before you apologized?"
"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. It could even be the victim knows the person is only apologizing because they are trying to convince the victim not to punish them for their actions and the person isn't honestly sorry for what they did.

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 as 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 expresses guilt for his crimes, it only enrages Eren even further, since he sees him as a monster who isn't allowed to feel remorse. It takes Eren four years time, with him learning the truth about the world, about Marley, and the entire context behind why the Warrior trio destroyed Wall Maria in the first place within those four years, before he can finally forgive Reiner.
  • In Bloom Into You, Sayaka Saeki had a Gay Romantic Phase 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.
  • Digimon:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Before meeting Kuro, Kuroe is shown rejecting someone's texted apology twice before blocking them, although it's never explored what the other person actually did.
  • Monster Musume: Smith apologizes to Rachnera for placing her with a family that didn't fully accept her, but Rachnera brushes it off while saying her negligence and inconsideration of her needs was what got her into that mess, adding that the coordinator's apology had no sincerity to it.
  • My Hero Academia: Endeavor is an Abusive Parent who 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. Then there’s his eldest son, who became the mass-murdering villain Dabi. Endeavor attempts an apology to him but Dabi is having none of it and is basically out to destroy society as a whole along with the rest of the final villains.
  • Discussed in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!'s spinoff manga On the Verge of Doom!. 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 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 insists on keeping it, thus an argument breaks out. In a fit of anger, Luffy says that if Usopp won't accept his decision, he can just leave, leading Sanji to kick him in the face and demand that Luffy think before he speaks. Luffy comes to his senses and apologizes, but the damage was done, and therefore, Usopp refuses to accept his apology and walks out on the crew.
  • 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 the Feud Episode of Sailor Moon Super S, Minako ruins the decorations of Chibiusa's school's cultural festival, Makoto is so hurt that she angrily breaks off their friendship and refuses to accept her apology. They do make up, though.
  • The Summer You Were There: Five years before the start of the series, Shizuku bullied her classmate Ruri, making cutting remarks about the latter's frequent absences from school (which caused her to lag behind her classmates in athletics and academics) and eventually pushing her while she was carrying curry, causing Shizuku to be ostracized as a bully. During the main story, Shizuku, at the urging of her "girlfriend" and Ruri's friend Kaori, drafts an apology letter and meets with Ruri to give it to her in person. Ruri politely tells Shizuku that the trauma from Shizuku's bullying has never gone away, and she wants nothing more to do with Shizuku. Shizuku, despite having hoped Ruri would forgive her, understands that Ruri suffered more and accepts her decision. Later on, though, Ruri sees that Shizuku has changed and hopes to get to know her better- not because she's forgiven her but in the hopes that doing so can help her get over her trauma.

    Comic Books 
  • Action Comics: At the climax of The Black Ring, Lex Luthor has achieved Enlightenment Superpowers and genuinely made the universe into a better place. And all he has to do to keep them is stop hating Superman. When Superman realises this, he desperately apologises for anything he's done that ever upset Luthor, but that only makes him angrier.
  • 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 if he believes in God; when he affirms as much, she declares that means he can go to Hell and walks away.
  • 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 (Gillen) (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.
  • When things go very wrong in Lucifer as Fenris' plan to destroy everything seems like it will succeed, a dying Michael begs Lucifer to forgive him for everything that's happened between them. Lucifer refuses... because Lucifer blames his own mistakes for this. As far as he's concerned, none of this is Michael's fault.
  • 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 to forgive him, simply saying it was between him and God. (Unfortunately, future stories showed it was lost on him.)
  • Lian Harper died in Justice League: Cry for Justice during the earthquake which levelled most of Star City thanks to Prometheus's malfunctioning teleporter, as a result of being left alone by Speedy (Mia Dearden) while she went to fight the Electrocutioner. The follow-up series Rise of Arsenal shows Mia trying to apologize to Roy Harper at Lian's burial, which results in him trying to strangle her as he calls her out on leaving Lian when she did. While this is meant to be shown as Roy Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in his descent into bloody antiheroism, it's hard not to sympathize considering Mia chose the worst possible time and place to ask Roy to forgive her for the role she played, unintentional or not, in his child's very violent death.

    Fan Works 


  • All For Luz:
    • When girl called Natasha tries to say sorry to Luz for not defending her from her bullies out of peer pressure when they tried to be friends back in middle school, Luz rejects it saying an apology from her is not wanted or needed.
    • When her cousin Riley tries to apologise for trying to kill her on the Wittebanes' orders as she was about to surrender to the cops peacefully and explain why she did, Luz is having none of it. She blames Riley for the carnage that transpire today that arose from that betrayal, including her mother's murder, steals her Quirk and proceeds to kill her with it.
      Riley: Luz... I... I know y-you're probably very, very mad at me... but you have to understand that I w-wasn’t given a choice...
      Luz: Shut up. This is your fault... all of this. Everything that happened today... It was all on you. So do me a favour, and die.
  • Bring Me to Life: Following a rather vicious argument, Buffy tries apologizing to Faith. Part of the reason why Faith rejects it is because Buffy herself admits that part of her didn't even want to apologize and that Angel talked her into trying.
  • In God is Cruel, Oliver uses Laurel as bait for Slade without her knowledge. Slade uses the setup 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.
  • Charles Manson Vs The Teletubbies:
    Shin Charles Manson was breathing heavily now, the fight had clearly taken a lot out of him so the Teletubbies decided to end this now.
    "Wait, please don't kill me" pleaded Shin Charles Manson.
    He then reached into his pocket and pulled out the tubby custard that he stole.
    "You can have this back, just please let me go"
    Tinky Winky then stepped forward and said "you forfeited your right to live the very second you disrespected the sacred tubby custard." The other 3 Teletubbies nodded their heads in agreement.
    The Teletubbies then took their weapons and combined them into one mega weapon. They aimed it at Shin Charles Manson's stupid face.
    "TELETUBBY LAZER STRIKE" yelled the Teletubbies before a pink and blue beam exited from their weapon and set its sights on Shin Charles Manson.
    The laser hit Charles in the chest and created a huge fiery explosion with him at the very center of it all. Charles screamed in terror as his body was burned to a crisp and he turned to ashes.
    The tubby custard was still fine because tubby custard is the purest substance in Teletubby land and cannot be destroyed, only consumed.
    The Teletubbies then walked over to Charles burnt corpse and picked up their tubby custard from the flames.
    They then resumed eating their tasty snack knowing that all was right in Teletubby land once again.
  • Infinity Train: Branching Paths:
    • In Parker II, Parker refuses to accept that Yeardley's apology for how he bullied Chloe is sincere; after all, if he was capable of remorse, why would he have bullied her in the first place? UnChloe gets him to reconsider by asking Parker whether he'd regret it if his attempt to get revenge accidentally killed Yeardley, helping him recognize that it's fully possible for somebody to regret causing others unintended harm.
    • Downplayed during Ash V: While Ash never outright rejects Parker's apologies, he realizes that his volatile temper and the toxic environment that Vermillion has become convince him to leave the city.
  • A rather common occurrence in The Night Unfurls.
    • During the Feoh/Ur Arc, Alicia surrendered to the Black Dogs and their army, allowing them to take over the fortresses. Among the victims are a number of nuns, including Lily. When the two meet in Chapter 9 and Alicia apologises for her actions, she receives a slap in the face from Lily, saying that she will never forgive Alicia for leaving her sisters to their fates.
    • Before that, she also apologised to Prim for the same thing, because those nuns were Prim's friends. This leads to a downplayed example where Prim patiently states that there is nothing to forgive, though she acknowledges that the Black Dogs have pressured her cousin to surrender.
    • Prior to the story, Olga sacrificed a city to the orcs to recruit them and augment her forces to fight Celestine, leading to Grace losing her home and husband. While Olga tries to make amends with Grace at the end of Chapter 20, Grace explicitly states that if she were Sir Kyril, she would not hesitate to kill her, and hopes that he would do the same if he knew what happened.
  • Raise Your Voice Against Liars:
    • When Lila publicly apologizes to Marinette, she calls her out on trying to ruin her life out of pettiness and spite, declaring that she will never forgive her.
    • She then rejects her classmates, asking whether they actually mean it or just want everything to go back to how it was. She points out how easily they could have debunked Lila's claims by simply looking into them; instead, they turned against her. If they want to be friends again, they'll have to rebuild their relationships over time, rather than expecting a few hollow words to magically fix everything.
    • She similarly rejects Adrien's apology, calling him out for claiming he was going to support her, only to turn a blind eye to everything that was happening.
  • Spiders and Magic: Rise of Spider-Mane: Princess Celestia attempts to offer an olive branch to The Dazzlings; however, as she's apologizing for attempting a genocidal purge of their entire race, they reject her efforts.


  • 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.
  • moral of the story (Nyame): After being resurrected, Laurel rejects Oliver's attempts to make amends, as he not only caused her to commit suicide but also caused her to lose her sister again, as her death caused Sara to self herself back to the League of Assassins just for the opportunity to use the Lazarus Pit to bring Laurel back to life. Instead, she opts to throw him out of her life permanently and leave Starling altogether to start afresh in Gotham.
  • What It Takes:
    • At the end of the story, Quentin tries to apologize for his actions to Laurel. Seeing as these actions include outing her as the Black Canary, hunting her down with his officers, and issuing a shoot-on-sight order on her in order to please an international terrorist (whom Laurel, Oliver, and even Sara told him not to trust), in addition to the years of emotional abuse and heartbreak he's already put her through, she understandably does not accept his apology, and cuts him out of her life for good.
    • Subverted with Oliver and Laurel. While Laurel does accept his apology for his previous bad treatment of her, she doesn't accept his apology for leaving, because she doesn't begrudge him for taking his chance at a relationship with Felicity (who everyone, even him, thought he was in love with at the time) and because he probably did need the break after everything that happened the past year.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

  • 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.


  • Blackened Skies: After Kaede's plan to draw out the culprit during the first trial nearly causes 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.
  • Danganronpa 2/3 Redux: Return Unto Death: One of the motives Monokuma reveals in Chapter 3 involves a False Rape Accusation against Kazuichi's father. When the participant involved in this incident attempts to apologize to the other student involved, they reject it entirely.
  • 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.

Fire Emblem

  • In Corrin in Peril, Corrin ends up being captured and enslaved by her Nohrian siblings and their retainers, who have become cartoonishly evil in this fic. When Corrin talks back to Charlotte, she summons Leo, Odin and Laslow, who proceed to beat Corrin up after she tries to apologize, with Leo saying "SORRY DOESN'T CUT IT!" At the end of the fic, when Corrin's Hoshidan siblings come to her rescue, Laslow, who is at Ryoma's mercy, tries to apologize, only for Ryoma to tell him, "Sorry doesn't cut it, scum!" Ryoma stabs Laslow with Raijinto and Takumi finishes him off.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Girls und Panzer

  • 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.

Harry Potter

  • 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.
  • A Cadmean Victory: Harry does this twice, rejecting Ron's attempt to apologize for turning his back on him when he mistakenly believed that Harry had put his name in the Goblet of Fire, and Hermoine's apology for accidentally breaking his wand.
  • The Peace Not Promised: After Snape proves his loyalty and commitment to the cause, James and Remus attempt to reconcile their differences, only to find that Snape's not interested. The only reason he treats them with anything resembling civility is due to Lily's influence.

Hetalia: Axis Powers

  • Happens twice in 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 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.

The Loud House

  • In Losing Him, Lincoln rejects his family's attempt to apologize for kicking him out of the house and selling his things, as their casual cruelty wound up getting him shot.
  • A Night To Forget: After Luna, Luan, Lynn, and Lucy all arrange four different dates for their brother to take to the Sadie Hawkins dance, they guilt-trip him into trying to juggle all four without anyone finding out. When this completely ruins the night and his reputation, with all of the girls and Ronnie Anne convinced he was stringing them all along, Lincoln angrily rejects Luna's attempt to apologize. It doesn't help that Lynn pushed him past his Rage Breaking Point by accusing him of bailing when he first got home, failing to notice that he'd been beaten to heck and back.
  • No Such Luck, No Such Love:
    • When Luna first attempts to apologize to Lincoln, he's still too angry to acknowledge her remorse, let alone accept her apology.
    • When Lynn finally apologizes to Lincoln about blaming him for her loss, she unintentionally makes clear that she doesn't really get what the problem was. Lincoln slaps her face in order to make a point about how saying "I'm sorry" doesn't magically erase the hurt.
    • Discussed when Luna gets a drawing tablet for Lincoln, as she's worried that he'll see the gift as an attempt to bribe him into forgiving her. To this end, she tries to figure out a way to give it to him without triggering an automatic rejection.
  • Syngenesophobia: Considering the severity of the sisters' crimes, this trope comes about.
    • Played With; when the sisters visited Lincoln in Chapter 8 to apologize, Lincoln reacted with fear than actual anger. Earlier, this was Discussed earlier about what if Lincoln refuses to forgive them.
    • This is Downplayed in Chapter 38, despite Becky and Mandee acknowledging Leni's remorse. Leni still sent Lincoln to the hospital, and neither of the two wishes to hang out with her. They would only forgive Leni if Lincoln forgives her, however, Leni doesn't know if Lincoln wants to forgive.
  • What is a Person Worth?:
    • Downplayed, Lincoln points out to Lucy that considering everything she and the rest of the family put him through since the whole bad luck fiasco started, a mere "sorry" isn't good enough. To specify, he refuses to just hand over his family forgiveness on a silver platter and wants to have them earn his forgiveness, and must be to his satisfaction, not theirs. Chapter 10 reveals he's forgiving Lana and in Chapter 16, he finally forgives Leni, Luna, and Luan. Chapter 19 sees Lori making progress and as of Chapter 20, both the Loud parents have made big strides, though Rita's first steps were in chapter 18.
    • Lynn's nightmare in Chapter 15 plays this to an extreme where she's the only person Lincoln will never forgive. She takes it badly, even after she realizes it was just a bad dream. And despite standing up for Lincoln in Chapter 22 when Ronnie believes Lincoln's cheating on her, Lynn seems to fully believe Lincoln's never going to forgive her.

Love Hina

  • Entering The Love Hina World: After Tsuruko forces Motoko to have a Jerkass Realization about how she treated Keitaro and Anthony, Motoko attempts to apologize, only for them to assume that she was ordered to do so by her sister. Once they learn she's sincere, the boys make clear that while they might forgive her for how she hurt them, they can't forgive the way she's treated others, while Faye simply rejects her efforts outright and declares that everything she's done is completely unforgivable.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • 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.
    • Lila expects a few Crocodile Tears and a flimsy excuse will be enough to sway the soft-hearted Rose, even after she was akumatized into Witch Hunter.
    • Downplayed with Adrien, who during the course of the story has a Jerkass Realization about how badly he let his friends down by failing to warn anyone about Lila. Unlike Lila, he accepts that a simple apology won't be enough and he'll have to put in work to make amends. His classmates decide this is acceptable and leave the exact conditions up to Rose, since she suffered the most from Lila's manipulations.
  • Burning Bridges, Building Confidence: After Nino approaches Marinette and her Girl Posse to apologize, they hear him out, even offering advice on how to handle breaking up with Alya; however, they also make clear that he hasn't been fully forgiven, and that they're watching and waiting to see whether or not he's actually learned anything and is going to make any effort to change before they start truly forgiving him.
  • Couturiere: After recovering from being transformed into the titular akuma, Marinette takes a box of éclairs to Lila's place as an attempt to apologize for what she put her through. Lila stomps the box flat before slamming the door in her face.
  • I See What You Do Behind Closed Doors: After Lila's true nature is revealed, Mylene is the first to try apologizing to Marinette, claiming that there was no way she could've known the truth. Marinette blandly reminds her and everyone else that she warned them. When the class then doubles down on insisting they're not to blame, Marinette decides that they're not worth forgiving — not while they're not only refusing to admit what they did wrong but are trying to convince her that it's her fault they dismissed her warnings as being fueled by petty jealousy.
  • The Karma of Lies has this happen left and right when Marinette finally realizes that the way her classmates are treating her is not okay and puts her foot down. When her classmates try to apologize, she rejects their apologies and calls them out for obviously just wanting to get back on her good side now that everyone knows she's Ladybug rather than really being sorry for how they acted. Notably, Marinette is willing to work with those who actually understand and admit what they were doing wrong and are putting in the work to change their behavior, even if she doesn't fully trust them yet. She only rejects apologies from people who obviously haven't learned anything and expect to be Easily Forgiven.
  • The One to Make It Stay: During All the Laughs We Had in the Past, Chloé gets akumatized and is responsible for the Black Cat Ring falling into Hawkmoth's hands. When she gets restored and learns what she's done, it's enough to spur the usually unapologetic girl into expressing remorse. However, Ladybug and the other heroes aren't in the mood to hear her out:
    Chloé: Ladybug, I'm—
    Ladybug: It's a bit too late for your apologies, Chloé. Maybe you should have given them out sooner.
  • Your Wish is my Command has a variation: when Lila apologizes to Felix for badgering him about his Backstory and causing his akumatization, he accepts it, but makes clear that he's not actually forgiving her. Lila then tries Playing the Victim Card and accusing him of being "unfair", only to get called out on how she's not helping her case.

My Hero Academia

  • Apotheosis: All Might repeatedly attempts to apologize to Midoriya for telling him that he couldn't be a hero. Izuku rejects these efforts, believing that he's only apologizing because he became such a dangerous villain; if he hadn't done so, he doubts All Might would have spared him any further.
  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: Almost everyone Inko meets hates her for being Mastermind's mother. When she visits the families of Izuku's victims to apologize for what he did, most refuse to even open their doors, and the ones that do cuss her out or throw things at her. The only person who actually hears her out is Rei, who doesn't think Inko should be apologizing at all.
  • Mean Rabbit: After they both survive the League's assault on the USJ, Jirou approaches Izuku and apologizes for how she nearly left him to die and treating him like shit. Izuku cynically questions if she sincerely regrets it, or if she's only apologizing because she knows the matter is being investigated and hopes he'll cover for her. Jirou's response hardly helps; while she insists that she does regret it, she also snaps that he's hard to apologize to because he's just so hateable.
  • Pro Hero Metal Bat: By the time All Might finally has a chance to apologize to Izuku for crushing his dreams, Izuku can't bring himself to accept it, as he's been hurt too much by others' words and has been telling himself that nobody else's opinions matter — especially not All Might. All Might resolves to prove himself through his actions by being the best teacher possible for Izuku.
  • Sleeper Hit AU:
    • Ochako's first attempt to reconnect with Midoriya goes poorly, as he assumes that she's only 'apologizing' since he performed so well in the Hero Rankings.
    • Once he learns the full truth of why Aizawa expelled him, as well as how he secretly vouched for him to get into another school, Izuku admits that he's not ready to forgive him yet and needs more time to process everything.
    • When Imari gets a chance to try and apologize to Midoriya after a chance meeting, he immediately rejects him, assuming that he's only apologizing because of Midoriya's newfound status as Sleeper Hit.
  • Venality: During their final battle, Endeavor attempts to apologize to Touya and Shouto for all his years of abuse, only to find that neither one will accept his words or back down.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Bitter Tears: An Anon-A-Miss Fic: After the CMC are outed as the ones behind Anon-A-Miss, Apple Bloom attempts to apologize to Sunset for the Frame-Up. Sunset turns her down flat:
    Sunset: Save it. I don't know why you did this, and frankly, I don't really care. All I know is, I certainly hope it was worth it.
  • Bitterness revolves around Twilight deciding that she doesn't actually accept Applejack's causal, off-handed apology about how she and the others rejected her Cassandra Truth during the Canterlot wedding. The more she thinks about it, the angrier she gets, accusing Princess Celestia, Shining Armor, and her friends of being All Take and No Give and questioning whether they would've let her attend the wedding if she had been wrong.
  • Project Sunflower: After finding out Erin's secret, Meadowlark rejects her apology, mostly out of shock at realizing she allowed an alien to look after her daughter. Rainbow Dash also takes a bit longer than the rest of her friends to forgive Erin, only doing so after learning that Velchiek stopped her from coming clean earlier by using drugs and the Override.
  • Through the Eyes of Anon-a-Miss: While Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle back up Apple Bloom when she confronts the students hounding Sunset, they still haven't forgiven her for their confrontation at the playground.


  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison:
    • After Sakura accidentally overhears Hiashi's discussion with Neji, she advises him against forgiving his uncle; while it's true that Neji didn't know the whole story about what happened to his father, that doesn't change all the other ways that Hiashi mistreated Neji and everyone else in the Branch House. Shortly afterwards, Hiashi's treatment of Neji during the Konoha Crush attempt leaves Neji convinced that his uncle's apology wasn't sincere.
    • When Naruto finally learns about Sakura's body count, he berates her for the Crime of Self-Defense. Later, he attempts to apologize before leaving Konoha for a training trip with Jiraiya; Sakura flatly tells him he has sixty seconds, counting down as he fumbles through his words before finally cutting him off and walking away.

The Odd Squad

  • If You're Alone Onstage: While most of those involved regret blaming Otis for his father breaking into Headquarters, Otis himself doesn't believe that they're being sincere.
    Otis: I- I guess I never thought Odd Squad was really sorry for what they did. I just thought they only wanted me back because I was the only one who could find my father. So, when Ms. O tried to apologize, I shut her out, because I thought she didn't mean it.


  • Failure Hero: Ash refuses to forgive Cilan for bombing the Pewter City Gym and sending his mom into a coma.
  • A nonverbal one appears in Pokémon Strangled Red. Steven never says this outright, but his actions make it clear that he doesn't forgive his brother, Mike, for the death of his Charizard, Miki.

The Smurfs

  • 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.

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • In storm surge, Lucerys genuinely wants to apologise to Aemond for slashing his eye out and to make things right, but Aemond isn't having it at first. It takes Luke saving his life for things to get better between them.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Spec Ops: The Line

  • Afterglow (Unfaithful): When Walker tries to apologize for causing Lugo's death, along with running their mission into the ground, Lugo brushes it if off, bluntly telling Walker to kill himself.
    Lugo: Just saying, you already killed off most of the city. Might as well pick up the spare.

Static Shock

  • Jimmy's Visit With Dr. Franklin: Subverted; while Nick Connor initially refuses to forgive Jimmy for trying to show him his dad's gun, he accepts his later apology while waiting to see Dr. Franklin, admitting that while Jimmy had made him uncomfortable, he still recognized that he was a good person deep down.

'Steven Universe

  • Old Scars, a work 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!.
  • Rose Redemption AU: When White Diamond attempts to apologize to Rose, Rose acknowledges that she is genuinely sorry, but also makes it clear that she has no intention of forgiving her.

'Thomas the Tank Engine

  • In The Brother's Grimm, David and Bernard initially refuse to forgive the Grumpy Passenger for the horrible things he did throughout the story. They only do so after he reveals just how badly he's suffered since becoming homeless and penniless, and that he's realised just how awful he is.
  • In A Cracked Ruby, Emily laughs at Molly for pulling empty trucks, only to regret it. Following Thomas's failed attempt to make Molly's truck seem special, Emily seeks Molly out to apologise to her, but Molly refuses to forgive her (of course, the fact that James lied about Emily's personality doesn't help matters).


  • Earning Her Stripes: While Taylor recognizes that Emma and Madison are sincerely remorseful for how horrifically they treated her, having had a Heel Realization about their actions, she also makes it expressly clear that she is far from forgiving them for any of it.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking examples was in Kung Fu Panda, when 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!
  • 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)
  • The Lion King (1994): Scar, when being confronted and stalked by the hyenas after they reveal they know that he tried to blame them for the plot to murder Mufasa and the attempted murder of a then-child Simba. As he tries to beg for mercy, one of the last things he cried out is “I’m sorry,” but all it does is make the hyenas jump him moments later and maul him to death.
  • 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.
  • In Turning Red, Miriam initially rejects Mei's apology for betraying her, Abby, and Priya. However, after returning Robaire Jr to Mei, she accepts the apology.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beast (2017): Late in the film, Moll approaches and tries to apologise to her high school bully for stabbing her. Though shocked, the woman seems willing to accept it, saying it happened over a decade ago...until Moll says she was only "defending [herself] ". The woman doesn't take this well, becoming distraught and furiously ordering Moll to leave.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!
  • Halloween Ends: Played with. When Laurie Strode is grocery shopping, she meets a woman who starts yelling at her. Confused, she asks, "I'm sorry?" as in, "Who are you and what are you talking about?" The woman gets even angrier and yells that sorry isn't good enough before revealing she is one of the many people who blame Laurie for Michael Myers' previous attacks.
  • 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."
  • Kruel: Some time after Elliot goes missing, Jo goes to his mom to once more apologize for losing him (since he vanished while she was babysitting him). However, Elliott's mom bluntly tells her that her apology is meaningless because she's too hurt by Elliott's disappearance.
  • 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.
  • Perfect Addiction: Jax tries to apologize for cheating on Sienna, but she angrily rejects this.
  • 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 from destroying the Resistance.
  • 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.
  • Unforgiven: The film's trouble begins with Mike, a cowboy, savagely carving up a prostitute's face because the girl giggled at his pecker. Mike's partner Davey (who tried to stop the attack when it happened) tries to smooth things over by offering Delilah a prize pony in recompense. Before Delilah can accept or reject the apology, the other prostitutes drive Davey away in a rage. They then put a $1000 bounty on him as well as Mike. This bounty results in Davey being killed, even though he never actually did anything to hurt the girl.
  • Subverted 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The School for Good Mothers: At an evaluation on a lesson about diversity, Frida is partnered with a father. She and her doll outperform Colin and his "son", as she is better informed on issues affecting African-American communities than he is about Asian American communities, and he forgets to address sexism. Afterwards he accuses "Miss Ivy League" of messing things up for him. When she tries to apologize, he tells her to save it.
  • In the Star Wars Legends book Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Exile, Ben Skywalker is called out by an elderly woman for holding up a line. "Sorry," he tells her, but she replies that it doesn't mean anything, that if he were sorry, he wouldn't have done it in the first place. "Sorry," he replies again, and she tells him that he's now just being insolent. "Sorry," he says again, and being a great admirer of Jacen Solo, thinks to himself that he wouldn't be treated this way if he were him. He wonders what he would do. The woman comes up behind him, telling him that he's a very nasty little boy, and he lands on this...
    Ben: I take it back. ... My apology. I apologized, but you didn't accept it. You just used it as an excuse to keep being rude. You have the manners of a bantha with digestion problems. If you had children, I hope they were raised by piranha beetles so they'd be nicer than you. (The woman lunges as if to slap him, Ben glares and uses the Force to infuse the suggestion "Try it. See what I become.")
  • In Villains Are Destined to Die, Penelope spent years being verbally abused by Reynald, who rejected her as an adopted sister. He even framed her for stealing a valuable necklace early on, which turned the rest of the household against her. Eventually she manages to face him and uses a combination of "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Armor-Piercing Question, and Did You Think I Can't Feel? to make him realize their "rivalry" was entirely one-sided, and she'd done nothing to earn his Irrational Hatred. It works, and instead of killing her as she feared, later on he offers an honest apology for all the harm he did. She calmly replies "I don't want it." The reason why is complicated, but it boils down to the fact that "Penelope" is actually Chia Seiyon, a Korean girl who has reincarnated into Penelope's similarly aged body. She thus considers that the apology should be given to the real or previous Penelope, and even though she herself suffered some amount of abuse by Reynold, she doesn't really care about fixing their relationship or even having one. This further spurs Reynold's character development, since from his POV he comes to think Penelope would rather cut ties with him and he resolves to do better.
  • 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.
  • Zara Hossain Is Here: Travis apologizes multiple times to Zara for his father having shot hers. She thinks it's just to assuage his guilt about it and not helping her though, so she rejects them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of the short-lived Aliens In America, the protagonist, an unpopular teenage 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.
  • All in the Family: The Season 1 episode "Success Story" sees 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 (i.e. rape him), 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!!!!"
  • Criminal Minds: Many of the more sympathetic Unsubs the BAU encounter frequently reject apologies when confronting those they hold responsible for turning them into monsters.
    • In Season 9's ''What Happens In Mecklinburg, the episode's Unsub is abducting and torturing the frat boys who gang-raped and killed her little sister. When said frat boys try to beg for their lives by apologising for what happened, the Unsub angrily retorts that their apologies don't bring her sister back to life.
      Unsub: You're sorry?! Well I am too and here we are. Sorry doesn't mean a damn thing.
    • In Season 13's Dust And Bones, the Unsub's mother tries to beg for her life by apologising for being a neglectful teenage mother to her daughter. The Unsub angrily rejects her mother's pitiful attempt to make up for a lifetime of emotional abuse.
      Mother: I'm sorry. Is that what you want to hear? You were a child, and I was selfish and angry and I did everything wrong. I'd give anything to go back and treat you better.
  • 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.
  • The Electric Company (1971): 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.
  • 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.
  • Forever: In "The Art of Murder," after Lucas screws up, causing the son of the incredibly wealthy victim to threaten the police department with a lawsuit, Henry takes the blame and offers a heartfelt gentlemanly apology, figuring that a gentleman would accept it and end the matter. Naturally, the son ignores his outstretched hand and states that he will still sue. Henry is taken aback.
  • 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.
  • 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 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!"
  • Gen V: In episode "#ThinkBrink" Justine apologizes to Emma for revealing on YouTube how Emma gains access to her Sizeshifter power (by purging): "I had no right to co-opt your story. Okay? I apologize." Just then, Emma notices that Justine's friend is filming them. Justine's explanation ("I want everyone to know how sorry I am.") makes Emma walk off in disgust:
  • In Good Luck Charlie season 1, Teddy discovers 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 apologize 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 wouldn't solve anything. In the season 1 finale and during most of season 2, Teddy tried to be friends with Spencer but holds a grudge against him for a while. However, after they start working together in a theme park, Teddy forgives Spencer as she rediscovers her feelings for him and hearing him say that cheating on her was the biggest mistake he ever made.
  • 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.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lampshaded by Lestat in "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart" when Claudia returns home after seven years with absolutely no contact with her vampire dads.
    Lestat: The prodigal daughter.
    Louis: I've come to apologize. I put you both in a bad spot. I wasn't right in my head. I am now.
    Lestat: Apology not accepted.
  • L.A.'s Finest: Izzy doesn't accept the apology of her mom's remorseful killer, because she's still haunted by her death.
  • 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 the episode "Alien" 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 the partner is proven innocent, and it's found out the grandparents were pawns in a homophobic prosecutor's scheme to discredit homosexual parents, 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 her in-laws never accepted their daughter was gay and partially believed the partner was responsible for "changing" her; 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Seinfeld:
    • In the episode, "The Betrayal", when Jerry continuously apologizes 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 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 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.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Romantic Getaway and a Germanic Meat-Based Diet", when Sheldon apologizes to Missy for ratting her out, she opens the door, tells Sheldon "I hate you!" and closes it in his face.

  • "Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley is about him writing an apology letter that his girlfriend keeps sending back unopened.
    I gave a letter to the postman
    He put it in his sack
    Bright early next morning
    He brought my letter back
    She wrote upon it
    Return to sender, address unknown
    No such number, no such zone
    We had a quarrel, a lover's spat
    I write "I'm sorry", but my letter keeps coming back
  • JoJo: "Too Little Too Late" is another song based on this trope because her likely narcissistic ex is now hoovering her as she is healing. "It's just too little too late, a little too wrong, and I can't wait. . ."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • As quoted above, OneRepublic's song "Apologize" is based entirely on this trope.

    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 "Bang!" Flag Gun that revealed a white "Austin 3:16" flag (the infamous promo where McMahon pissed 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 
  • Absinthia: Although Freya apologizes for working with Lilith and promises to help defeat her for real, Sera and most of the people of Katti Town understandably refuse to forgive her. They allow her to use the town's shops until Lilith is defeated, but only because they know that they need her for this task.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 of him, but then she's murdered a few days after that.
  • 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 a pained "The Reason You Suck" Speech before leaving her behind, much to her sadness.
    Dante: Don't come any closer, you devil! You may look like my mother, but you're nowhere close to her. You have no soul. You have the face, but you'll never have her fire!
  • In God of War Ragnarök, following Brok's death, Sindri blames Atreus for it and refuses to accept any attempts of apologizing, telling him that he is done with him and everyone else.
  • 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.
  • Persona
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Saints Row 2: At Aisha's funeral, Johnny lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown onto Shogo Akuji, the reason the funeral is even happening in the first place. When they try to apologize, Gat punches them through a tombstone. Nothing says "Apology not accepted" like a concussion. And then being buried alive. Then again, the responsible party only apologized when things started going south for them, since they only came to the funeral to trash it and kill everyone there.
  • 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 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.
  • In The Walking Dead: Season Two, Clementine can choose to forgive or chastise Nick for mistaking her for a walker.

    Web Comics 
  • 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 El Goonish Shive, Melissa attempted to apologize to Justin for outing him multiple times.
  • 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 Schlock Mercenary, Kevyn rather rudely insults Elf's intelligence on the basis that she dropped out of high school (even though he dropped out himself because he found it boring). After she demonstrates that she's smarter than Kevyn gave her credit for and he realizes that he owes her an apology, Kevyn goes with reverend Theo for advice. He tells Kevyn in no uncertain terms that Elf will probably reject the apology (though she accepts it once Kevyn apologizes sincerely).
    Kevyn: Reverend, what's the best way to apologize to someone?
    Reverend Theo: Look them in the eye and tell them that you're sorry. The exact wording will vary depending upon how you've wronged them, and whether they already know they've been wronged by you.
    Kevyn: I need to apologize to Elf for making her feel stupid.
    Reverend Theo: Shout the apology at a dead run, and retreat under covering fire provided by troops loyal only to you.
    Kevyn: "Exact wording will vary." Got it.
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 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 disowning Stan and threatening to 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).
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • A heart-breaking version in Netflix's Carmen Sandiego as Shadow-san, who spent his youth angry at the brother who raised him for being content with being poor and joined the yakuza and a thief-ring when he stole a priceless sword from his brother's 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.
  • 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.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • In "Timephoon!", Louie steals a time machine and pilfers treasures from past eras in order to boost his "Louie Incorporated" business and quickly become a billionaire. This destabilizes the timestream, with people from those eras manifesting in the present, with things steadily getting worse as the rest of the main cast is lost in time, leaving a horrified Louie to fix things. Afterwards, he apologizes, and almost everyone forgives him... save for his mother, Della, who rips into him for endangering everyone. Louie fires back that she did much the same thing when she stole the experimental rocket for a joyride, leaving her stranded on the moon and her family torn apart for ten years. Della holds firm and grounds him, forcibly shutting down Louie Incorporated and making him sit out of an adventure tailor-made to his interests while cutting him off from any kind of entertainment, replacing his videos with speeches about how he needs to prove he has a place in their family.
    • Their positions then get flipped after Louie outwits Flintheart Glomgold, saving Scrooge's fortune. She forgives her son, declaring that she's proud of how he put his loved ones over personal gain... but Louie doesn't accept her apology and refuses to turn over control of the money.
  • 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 their pants. A beaten-down Eddy decides to just go with it this time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • 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. Stumpy and Quack Quack back him up for good measure.
  • PJ Masks: In "Owlette's Terrible Pterodactyl Trouble," Connor scares Amaya as a joke on 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.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in "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.
    • In a later episode where Bart throws away a prized hat Lisa got at the boardwalk For the Lulz, only for his guilt to drive him to scouring the junkyard to get it back, she tries to pull this on him after he finally returns it out of spite. But her own conscience forces her to accept his apology and they make up.
    • Another subversion happens in "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy," when Abe and Homer are fighting in the car about an aphrodisiac tonic he invented. This eventually leads Abe to snap and tell Homer that he'd be happy if he hadn't taken that tonic, and that Homer was an accident. This enrages Homer enough to abandon him in the middle of the freeway. Abe tries to make amends, but Homer ignores his attempts. The two eventually make up at the end of the episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Static Shock episode "Jimmy", Nick apologizes to Jimmy for constantly bullying him when the latter starts holding him at gunpoint. Jimmy refuses to believe that he is sorry as it's implied that he's only trying to save his own skin.
  • 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.
  • 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 them. In "Target: April O'Neil," Donnie approaches her and tries to make amends 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 Teen Titans (2003), Noble Bigot Val-Yor spends the entirety of the episode "Troq" belittling Starfire because of his Fantastic Racism. After she saves his life, he genuinely tries to apologize by telling her You Are a Credit to Your Race. The Titans are understandably still upset and refuse to acknowledge his progress, which only makes him dig in his heels and decide Humans Are Bastards too as they part on chilly terms.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • In The Date, Robin kidnaps Speedy and dresses up as him so he can ruin his chances with Starfire. He ends up feeling guilty and confesses to Star, whereupon instead of being flattered like he hoped, he is Punched Across the Room for his troubles, and Starfire goes out with the episode narrator instead.
    • In Mr. Butt, after Blackfire gets Starfire thrown in jail, the Titans teach her to be nice and it actually works. But when Starfire breaks out of jail a hardened criminal bent on revenge, Blackfire tries to apologize and even gives her the doll she stole from their childhood to show she really has changed, Star hisses "So have I", destroys the doll, and beats her to a pulp.
    • In one episode, when Robin tries to apologize to John (a magic sentient talking bathroom) for hogging him and making everyone fight, he replies, "Stuff your sorries in the sack!".
  • 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.
  • 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 chooses her boyfriend, Scott to take to the finale, over her bestie, Gwen, who she promises to take with her to the finale. When the chart was exposed (just blame Mal), Most contestants were disappointed in her for her attempt at betrayal, especially Gwen. During the challenge, Courtney approaches Gwen and tries to apologize to her for it, but she refuses to accept it, of course, unless Courtney agrees to vote for herself.
  • The Transformers: Dr. Gregory Swofford and Dr. Mark Morgan tried to apologize to Optimus Prime after he used to Matrix of Leadership to destroy the Hate Plague that they unleashed. Galvatron, in a rare moment of calm, walked towards Optimus Prime as he pushed the two aside which made him refuse their apology for good.
  • 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!
  • 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 they all learn a lesson about forgiveness.

    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.


Anya's Apology

Anya apologizes to Damian for hitting him on the first day of school and does so in the cutest way possible.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeartfeltApology

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