by Stacy Jenel Smith
Jon Gosselin agrees with the rest of us: he is a jerk.
The man whose former girlfriend Hailey Glassman was inspired by him to coin the term ‘mantrum,’ popped up at the West Side Jewish Center in New York last fall to issue his mea culpa to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach before a crowd of 150.
Humiliating his soon-to-be-ex-wife and the mother of his eight children, Kate Gosselin, by publicly carrying on relationships with three different women while they were still married, he said, ‘was a huge mistake, because if she would’ve done that to me, I would have been extremely pissed off. Not because our relationship is over, it’s almost like a stab in the back. And now that I think about it, it was a very wrong thing to do. I definitely regret it.’
Ha, now that he thinks about it.
The ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’ baby daddy also said that ‘Half the stuff I’ve done, if I look at my moral compass, I shouldn’t have done. I know that but I did it anyway. It’s like fame canceled out conviction.’
He’s told his kids he’s sorry for not being there. He wants to apologize to Kate in private. And there it is — another celebrity apologia complete.
It’s practically become a new art form — or at least a public relations extension course possibility: How to do the ‘I’m sorry’ circuit to make everything all better after screwing things up. Learn to craft those heartfelt words that will get you or your client off the hook. Here are 10 methods employed by the Sorry Celebrity pros:
1. Deflect attacks by making self-deprecating remarks, especially if they’re funny. David Letterman, who came clean about his sexual relationships with female staffers during his grand jury testimony about an alleged extortion attempt against him, acknowledged on his show that his behavior had hurt his wife ‘horribly.’ Then he added, ‘Right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I got in the car this morning — and the navigation lady wasn’t speaking to me.’ Talking about the autumn weather, Letterman added that he’d spent the weekend ‘raking my hate mail….And it’s cold, too. I mean chilly outside my house, chilly inside my house.’
2. Get emotional. Did you see Kanye West apologizing for disrupting Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech on the premiere installment of Jay Leno’s prime time show? You ended up feeling sorry for HIM. Kanye’s an enormously gifted man, but he’s making himself more widely known for these awards show outbursts than his performing. ‘I feel like Ben Stiller in ‘Meet the Parents’ when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave,’ he wrote on his blog. ‘That was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry.’ (So he didn’t learn after pulling similar shenanigans over Gretchen Wilson’s American Music Awards win, or Justice vs Simian’s at the MTV Europe Music Awards?) When his written statements didn’t cut it, he went on with Leno, who got him all choked up by asking what his mom would have said.
3. Join in with the crowd and say things about yourself that everyone else is saying. ‘There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark.’ Yeah! You tell ’em, Mel Gibson. In the long written apology following his slur-infected diatribe upon being arrested on a DUI charge in 2006, the star also acknowledged, ‘I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.’ True, but despite the fact the incident was expunged from his record in October after Mel successfully completed the terms of his three-year probation, lots of people aren’t forgetting.
4. Claim insanity. Yes, you read above that Mel Gibson invoked the I-word as part of his good guy image reclamation efforts. Others have rolled out the ol’ temporary insanity ploy as well. Michael Richards, acting as if he was personally baffled over his hurling of the N-word during an onstage tirade at L.A.’s Laugh Factory in ’06, was quoted saying, ‘I’m not racist — that’s what’s so insane about this.’
5. Blame the media. This was part of Sharon Stone’s approach when she offended China by with her statement, on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, that maybe the deadly earthquake that had just taken place there was karma for the country’s ill treatment of Tibet. ‘Yes, I misspoke,’ one of her statements acknowledged. ‘I could not be more regretful of that mistake. It was unintentional. I apologize, those words were never meant to be hurtful to anyone, they were an accident of my distraction and a product of news sensationalism.’ Well, she’s just lucky she wasn’t dealing with the Chinese media. The country’s official Xinhua News Agency’s response to her ‘accident’ was to declare Sharon the ‘public enemy of all mankind.’ They don’t kid around.
6. Say it’s all about your art. When Christian Bale went on the Kevin and Bean show on L.A.’s KROQ FM radio station to apologize for his (recorded and widely replayed) profanity-laden tirade against a ‘Terminator’ crew member last year, he said his freak out was due to the intense nature of his craft. He was in the midst of playing John Connor trying to save the world, okay? Who wouldn’t be uptight if someone got into their @#!$ eye line? Nevertheless, Bale (who made up with the crew guy) gets points for appealing self-effacement, saying, ‘Feel free to make fun of me at my expense. I deserve it completely.’
7. Blame youthful inexperience. When teen star Miley Cyrus showed up looking like a modern day Lolita in Vanity Fair in 2008, her Disney Channel reps were quick to issue a statement saying ‘that a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines.’ ‘Course, Annie Liebovitz had nothing to do with those provocative pics Miley took of herself that got onto the internet around the same time. Miley herself asked fans’ forgiveness, saying in a statement that she hoped they ‘understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect.’
8. Go into rehab or therapy. It not only says, ‘I’m sorry,’ but also that it was, kind of not your fault, because of your addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling or what have you. Gibson and Richards did it. Kanye’s been talking about it. And after it became public that David Duchovny was having his own real-life sex addiction problem that threatened his marriage, the ‘Californication’ star went into rehab for that.
10. Call on God. When serious trouble calls for serious remedies, you have to go all-out. With fans reeling from reports that Chris Brown had been charged with two felonies — assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and making criminal threats — against then-girlfriend Rihanna last year, every base of showing remorse had to be covered, including religion. In his public apology in August, the hip-hop star stated, ‘I have done a lot of soul searching over the past several months. I’ve talked with my minister and my mother and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what happened and why… As many of you know, I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence. And I saw first-hand what uncontrolled rage can do. I’ve sought and continue to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again…I can only ask and pray that you forgive me please.’