When you create something for public consumption, you’re putting yourself in a very fragile position. For example, creating a popular television show means handing your beloved characters over to the world for weekly scrutinizing. Then again, it also means handing them over for weekly adoration. But no matter how beloved a show, movie, album, or book might be, no creator is perfect. And by default, no creator’s work is perfect.
That being said, there are few times in the world of pop culture where a creator has come forth and apologized for a large piece of work. Do rappers often have to apologize for certain lyrics? Yes. Are there controversial moments in television episodes that get addressed immediately? Of course. But looking back at an entire season of television or a film and saying “sorry” to fans is a rarity in this business. And in honor of Aaron Sorkin’s recent apology to fans of The Newsroom, we’ve rounded up some other notable apologies. And you know what? We’re not sorry about it.
Mandy Moore: In 2004, Moore told the Houston Chronicle that she was sorry for her first two albums, 1999’s So Real and 2000’s I Wanna Be With You. She called her own music “crap, crap crap,” and added, “I apologize to anybody who bought them and wasted their money.”
Jackie Gleason: Even game shows sometimes merit an apology. Just ask You’re In The Picture host Jackie Gleason, who, on January 27, 1961, used his half-hour on CBS to make fun of the ridiculous game show he’d been a part of. The original game involved celebs putting their heads in over-sized pictures and trying to get Gleason to guess their identities with yes or no questions. Yeah, it was bad. And Gleason knew it, which is why the next week, he decided he was done participating.
J.D. Shapiro: After Battlefield Earth, screenwriter J.D. Shapiro took to the New York Post to apologize “to anyone who went to see Battlefield Earth.” He explained how his original screenplay differed from the final product — “My screenplay was darker, grittier and had a very compelling story with rich characters” — and how he was fired from the project. He also gave us this gem: “It wasn’t as I intended — promise. No one sets out to make a train wreck. Actually, comparing it to a train wreck isn’t really fair to train wrecks, because people actually want to watch those.”
Beastie Boys: The band’s 1986 debut album, Licensed to Kill, didn’t exactly make the best first impression (a.k.a. it was laced with homophobia and misogyny.) But after that, the guys worked hard to apologize, from the late Adam Yauch working an apology into the song lyrics of “Sure Shot” — “To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends/ I want to offer my love and respect to the end” — to Adam Horovitz writing a letter to Time Out New York in 1999.
Mike Fleiss: The trick with reality television is that you have to deal with things you can’t control, like other humans, which is why we love that The Bachelor creator followed the end of Juan Pablo’s controversial season with a tweet thanking fans for “hanging in there.”
Eminem: Eminem has apologized for a lot in his career, but as an artist, he made a big statement on his 2010 album, Recovery. In the song “Cinderella Man,” Eminem apologized (in his own way) for his last album not living up to his usual standards. Referencing Relapse, Eminem rapped, “F— my last CD that sh–s in my trash.” That’s the same as “I’m sorry,” right?
Michael Bay: In 2013, Michael Bay was chatting with the Miami Herald about Pain & Gain when he decided to throw in an apology for 1998’s Armageddon. “I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks,” he said. “It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible.” But of course, that wasn’t the end of it. Bay quickly took back his apology, stating, “What I clearly said to the reporter, is I wish I had more time to edit the film, specifically the third act. He asked me in effect what would you change if you could in your movies if you could go back. I said, I wish we had a few more weeks in the edit room on Armageddon. And still today Armageddon, is still one of the most shown movies on cable TV. And yes, I’m proud of the movie.”
Joel Schumacher: If you were a fan of Batman Forever but hated Batman and Robin, Joel Schumacker is sorry. He was simply trying to entertain. He swears.
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