Jenna Bush Hager offered an emotional apology on the TODAY show Monday morning for her Golden Globes gaffe, in which she mistakenly referred to Hidden Figures as Hidden Fences during a pre-show interview with Pharrell Williams.
“I have seen both movies, I thought they were both brilliant… and if I offended people, I am deeply sorry,” a tearful Hager said. “It was a mistake because as you all know, I am not perfect. I am authentic, but a human, and what I didn’t want to do was make anybody feel lesser than who they are.”
The slip-up came when Hager accidentally mashed together the titles of Hidden Figures, the story of African-American women working at NASA in the ’60s, and Fences, the Denzel Washington and Viola Davis adaptation of the 1983 play, during an interview with Williams, who scored Hidden Figures, and was up for the Best Original Score award.
“So, you’re nominated for Hidden Fences…” Hager said to Williams, who responded with a quietly confused face that instantly became a hit on Twitter.
The TODAY correspondent also went on to apologize directly to Pharrell and the casts of both Hidden Figures and Fences, and expressed her desire to move on from the mistake that set social media ablaze (with some added help from Michael Keaton, who made the same mistake on stage).
Hager’s colleague Al Roker adamantly defended the former first daughter, and explained that mistakes often happen on live television, and it was a “cheap shot” for publications like the New York Times to “repeat” tweets about Hager.
“This culture of Twitter and people waiting to pounce, to get on people, it’s got to stop,” Roker said. “It’s got to stop somewhere because it’s just ridiculous.”
Hidden Figures actress Octavia Spencer was quick to accept Hager’s apology on Monday. “We all make mistakes, hon!” she wrote. “Thanks for your apology!”
Hager wrote back, “Dearest, @octaviaspencer Your kindness means so much to me + your compassion is matched only by your incredible talent in Hidden FIGURES! X.”
Williams also accepted the apology, tweeting, “Don’t worry @JennaBushHager! Everyone makes mistakes. Hidden Fences does sound like an intriguing movie though. Just saying…”