Top 10 Worst Apologies From Actors

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Top 10 Worst Apologies From Actors

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Don Ekama
Good luck trying to listen to these cringe worthy celebrity apologies without wincing. For this list, we'll be looking at times when celebrity actors offered apologies that either came off as insincere or lacked an acknowledgment of responsibility for their actions. Our countdown includes Jason Bateman, Kevin Hart, Will Smith, and more!
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Top 10 Worst Apologies from Actors


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Apologies from Actors.

For this list, we’ll be looking at times when celebrity actors offered apologies that either came off as insincere or lacked an acknowledgment of responsibility for their actions.

Which of these pleas for forgiveness do you think should’ve stayed in the drafts? Let us know in the comments.


#10: Lea Michele

2020

Although she started out as a child actress, Lea Michele gained international recognition for her portrayal of Rachel Berry on the Fox musical series “Glee.” Her performance on the show received positive reviews but behind-the-scenes, there seemed to be a lot of negativity going around. In 2020, Michele tweeted support for the Black Lives Matter movement but was accused by fellow “Glee” actress Samantha Marie Ware of harassment and other microaggressions. Ware’s claims were supported by other “Glee” actors, leading Michele to put out an Instagram post apologizing for her actions. The actress was criticized for using the word “perceived,” which was seen as an attempt to water down the allegations, and also for not apologizing to Ware specifically.



#9: Jason Bateman

2018

While promoting the fifth season of “Arrested Development,” the cast sat down for an interview with “The New York Times” that turned into a complete debacle. Jessica Walter, who played matriarch Lucille Bluth, recounted her experience being verbally harassed by actor Jeffrey Tambor, who was also present for the interview. Even though this was in the height of the #MeToo movement, most of the other male actors - spearheaded by Jason Bateman - rushed to Tambor’s defense. After a firestorm of online backlash, Bateman quickly offered an apology on Twitter. Although not terribly worded, his apology failed to hold weight seeing as his actions - dismissing Walter, who was sitting right there in the room, detailing her experience in tears - just didn’t seem like a mistake.



#8: Lena Dunham

2018

Throughout her career, Hollywood actress, writer and director Lena Dunham has proven to be no stranger to controversy. In 2018, Murray Miller, a writer on her HBO show “Girls” was accused of assault by actress Aurora Perrineau, and Dunham quickly issued a statement claiming to have “insider knowledge” that the accusation was false. This statement was met with strongly negative reactions, leading the actress to tweet an apology for her initial response. In her tweet, Dunham admitted to having zero information refuting the allegations, yet failed to apologize directly to Perrineau. She also managed to shift the narrative from her public invalidation of a survivor’s story to some sort of triumphant moment of education and growth for herself.



#7: Kevin Hart

2018

In December 2018, Kevin Hart’s lifelong dream of hosting the Oscars seemed to come to fruition when he was announced as the anchor for the 2019 edition of the awards show. A few days later, some old tweets from Hart’s account resurfaced featuring inappropriate jokes about the LGBTQ+ community. The actor was asked to address the old tweets and apologize for them, but refused to do so, instead opting to step down from the hosting gig. When he finally offered an apology a couple of days later, it felt less like a sincere plea and more like a statement borne out of the pressure he received from everyone and their mother.



#6: Shia LaBeouf

2013

No one has been able to transform the celebrity apology from a pressure statement to an art form quite like Shia LaBeouf. The actor came under fire in 2013 after many similarities were pointed out between his short film “Howard Cantour.com” and a 2007 comic by author Daniel Clowes. LaBeouf initially took down the film and apologized for plagiarizing Clowes’ work, but as the criticism kept coming, the actor strayed far from sincerity and into the absurd. He released a barrage of apologies, playing on the accusations of plagiarism by ripping off past mea culpas from other popular figures. LaBeouf later took his apology to greater heights, literally, when he hired an airplane to sky write “I am sorry, Daniel Clowes.”




#5: Louis C.K.

2017

Allegations of misconduct have followed actor and comedian Louis C.K. since, at least, 2015, but it wasn’t until November 2017 that the New York Times ran an article bringing them to the forefront. Although he had denied the claims for years, Louis C.K. finally owned up to them, putting out a statement he intended to serve as an apology. His intentions didn’t translate as well, however, as the statement was perceived to lack any real sincerity since it only came after the actor had suffered significant losses. The graphic descriptions and numerous references to how admired he was in the comedy industry drew attention away from the real issue and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.



#4: Mel Gibson

2006

Mel Gibson’s 2004 biblical epic “The Passion of the Christ” was released to negative reactions from several Jewish organizations who deemed the movie to have anti-Semitic undertones. His shaky relationship with the Jewish community was further worsened in 2006 when he was arrested for driving under the influence. Gibson reportedly yelled religious epithets at the sheriff's deputies and the incident was made public after their arrest report was leaked by TMZ. He put out two separate apologies and appeared in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer, where the “Braveheart” actor-director owned up to his actions. Gibson’s apologies were however deemed to be hollow, especially as the actor went on to make more derogatory statements since then.



#3: Alec Baldwin

2007

In 2007, Alec Baldwin made headlines when an angry voicemail he left for his then 11-year old daughter, Ireland, was leaked to the public. In the message, Baldwin is heard yelling insults at Ireland and threatening to straighten her out for missing a scheduled phone call. Looking to do some damage control, Baldwin appeared on “The View” where he apologized to his daughter for his actions. While his apology did seem contrite, Baldwin appeared to be more outraged at the fact that the recording was leaked than he was remorseful for his abusive words. More than a decade later, Ireland got her own opportunity to publicly roast her dad for the infamous voicemail.



#2: Will Smith

2022

The 2022 Oscars ceremony was filled with many remarkable moments, with films like “CODA” taking historic wins at the awards show. All of that seemed to be overshadowed after Chris Rock was struck in the face by Will Smith for making a joke about his wife, Jada’s shaved head. Less than an hour later, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor and delivered a teary acceptance speech where he explained away the incident and seemed to apologize to everyone else except Rock. The day after the event, Smith released a statement where he acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologized directly to Rock, but it was seen by some as a well-crafted PR message, devoid of sincerity.

#1: Kevin Spacey

2017

In a 2017 interview with “Buzzfeed,” Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of coming on to him at a party when he was just 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey responded in a statement via Twitter, claiming not to recall the incident but apologizing for it anyway. It might have been satisfactory if the statement had ended there, but in an attempt to distract from Rapp’s accusations, Spacey proceeded to come out as gay - a move that was met with a deafening wave of criticism. Even worse, the actor released a bizarre YouTube video a year later, where he appeared as his “House of Cards” character Frank Underwood and seemingly denied all of the claims against him.
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