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'It was taken out of context' and a simple 'so sorry': the hallmarks of a celebrity apology tour

 

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Vanessa Hudgens arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Bad Boys For Life" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 14, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Vanessa Hudgens arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Bad Boys For Life" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 14, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Jameela Jamil attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Jameela Jamil attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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Tati and James Charles

Tati and James Charles

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

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Vanessa Hudgens arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Bad Boys For Life" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 14, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

"It was taken out of context," wrote actress Vanessa Hudgens in an apology note for her comments on the coronavirus.

In a video recorded on her Instagram Stories just hours before, she spoke at length about her feelings on COVID-19 quarantining in which she said that people's deaths were "inevitable".

Hudgens is self-isolating at her Los Angeles home per US government directives and said it sounded like "some bulls**t" that a suggested timeline of quarantine could extend to July. 

"Umm, yeah, 'til July sounds like a bunch of bulls**t," she said. "I'm sorry, but like, it's a virus, I get it, like, I respect it, but at the same time I'm like, even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible but like, inevitable?"

Hours later - during which she was called "heartless", "cruel" and "insensitive" online - she responded in her own defence with the same medium through which she spread her initial message: Instagram Stories. Despite recording and publishing the information herself, and keeping the original Story visible to her followers, she said her quotes were "taken out of context".

It was a classic move from the Celebrity Apology Tour Handbook, and she joins the great celebrity apologists hall of fame.

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Jameela Jamil attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Jameela Jamil attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Getty Images for The Recording A

Jameela Jamil attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Lena Dunham hit fresh controversy in 2017 when she stood by a writer on her show Girls - Murray Miller - saying she didn't believe he was capable of assaulting actress Aurora Perrineau. Later, she admitted to lying in order to help discredit Ms Perrineau's rape accusation.

In 2018, she wrote an op-ed in the Hollywood Reporter entitled 'My Apology to Aurora' in which she wrote that she considered Miller to be like a brother to her and said she never realised she would be hurting his accuser so deeply by denying her story.

"I didn't have the 'insider information' I claimed but rather blind faith in a story that kept slipping and changing and revealed itself to mean nothing at all," she wrote. "I wanted to feel my workplace and my world were safe, untouched by the outside world (a privilege in and of itself, the privilege of ignoring what hasn't hurt you) and I claimed that safety at cost to someone else, someone very special."

Kevin Spacey was widely criticised for choosing his coming out moment as a response to being accused of sexual assault by several men. “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life,” Spacey wrote in 2017. “I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fuelled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.

"As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”

Jameela Jamil found herself enraptured in fresh controversy in recent months after she was criticised when it was announced she would be judging a show vogueing - a form of dance dating back to 1980s New York founded by black gay men - and she used the moment to say she identifies as queer.

"I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid," she said.

What followed was an ugly battle of Jameela vs The Internet in which her fans dutifully supported her, and critics expressed doubts about her authenticity.

But when it comes to celebrity apologies go, few can reach the levels of drama that YouTubers possess. When Logan Paul posted a video of a dead body on his channel in Japan's 'suicide forest', he promised to "be better" in an apology video simply entitled "So Sorry".

"I should have never posted the video. I should have put the cameras down and stopped recording what we were going through," he said.

"I want to apologise to the internet. I want to apologise to anyone who has seen the video. I want to apologise to anyone who has been affected or touched by mental illness, or depression, or suicide. But most importantly I want to apologise to the victim and his family. Like I said I made a huge mistake. I don’t expect to be forgiven, I’m just here to apologise."

YouTubers tend to be normal people whose fame, although orchestrated, is not managed in the same way that an actor auditioning for years is. Their fame is usually quick and intense, and their apologies have become something on an artform.

They are more susceptible to old tweets resurfacing - including Nikita Dragon's 2012 tweet about paedophilia and Tana Mongeau using the n-word. Most recently, James Charles enjoyed mainstream fame for the first time thanks to a feud with his former mentor Tati Westbrook over a fight about him promoting a brand of gummy vitamins. Yes, really.

The main thrust of her rant was her assertion that Charles has no respect for other people in the industry. She also made a series of other detailed claims about his alleged behaviour.

“I hate knowing that I disappointed not only (my fans), but two people that have been role models for me doing this,” he said of Westbrook and her husband.

“What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back but I don’t blame them for it.

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Tati and James Charles

Tati and James Charles

Tati and James Charles

“A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim and I’m not doing that today, I’m not. That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.”

The video is one of the most downvoted in YouTube history.

Online Editors