Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Pointless apologies of 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger
What happened: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of Esteban Nuñez, who had been sentenced to 16 years for his role in a brawl that resulted in Luis Dos Santos’ fatal stabbing.

The apology: In a letter dated Jan. 5, Schwarzenegger wrote, “It is with heavy heart that I write to you in acknowledgment that my commutation of Esteban Nuñez has caused you more pain. I recognize that the last-minute nature of my final acts as Governor provided you no notice, no time to prepare for or absorb the impact of this decision. For that I apologize.” Santos’ father said the decision was “100% politics and nothing but,” referring to the close relationship between Schwarzenegger and Nuñez’s father, former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

In May, Schwarzenegger also apologized to his friends and family for fathering a child more than decade ago with a member of his household staff. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times; Dave Getzschman / For The Times)
Nikola Vucevic
What happened: After the Trojans’ 82-73 loss to Arizona Jan. 29, USC junior forward Nikola Vucevic said: “I felt like we played like women. We didn’t play hard at all. Every single one of us just played like women.”

The apology: On Jan. 30, Vucevic told The Times by phone: “I didn’t mean to offend people. If I did, I apologize for it.” Vucevic’s mother played professional basketball in Bosnia and his girlfriend plays volleyball, so, he continued, he deeply respects all women who play sports and in no way meant to offend anyone. (Christina House / For The Times)
Kenneth Cole
What happened: Kenneth Cole sent out a controversial tweet that used the unrest in Egypt to promote his spring fashion line: “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC”

The apology: A few hours after the February tweet was posted, Cole himself issued this statement on his label’s Facebook page: “I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.” (Associated Press)
David Letterman
What happened: David Letterman announced in February that none other than Lindsay Lohan would deliver a Top 10 list on his show. Lohan subsequently denied agreeing to a satellite appearance on Twitter, and it was later discovered that her estranged father Michael Lohan had brokered the false deal.

The apology: On his Feb. 16 show, Letterman seized the opportunity to “apologize” to the Lohan family for the miscommunication. After repeating a joke about Lindsay Lohan’s struggles with the law, he deadpannned, “I have no one to blame but myself, and boy is my face red... And by the way now I need to apologize to the Lindsay Lohan family. I hope I didn’t embarrass you, Lindsay, and your family.”

Above, Lohan visits “Late Show with David Letterman” in New York June 21, 2005. (David M. Russell, CBS / Associated Press)
Larry Kudlow
What happened: During a discussion with fellow anchors on the devastating Japanese earthquake, CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow said: “The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that. And the human toll is a tragedy, we know that, but these markets, all these markets, right, stocks, commodities, oil, gold, there is no major breakout or breakdown and I have to look at that positively.”

The apology: On March 11, he tweeted, “I did not mean to say human toll in Japan less important than economic toll.Talking about markets. I flubbed the line. Sincere apology.” ()
Kobe Bryant
What happened: Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant was caught on camera directing an anti-gay slur at referee Bernie Adams during an April 13 game against the Sacramento Kings.

The apology: In a statement issued the next day, Bryant said: “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.” The NBA also fined him $100,000. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Marilyn Davenport
What happened: Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County Republican Party’s central committee, sent an email that included President Obama’s face superimposed on that of a chimpanzee with the words, “Now you know why — No birth certificate!”

The apology: Davenport apologized at an April 20 news conference but refused to resign. “I wasn’t wise in sending the email out. I shouldn’t have done it. I really wasn’t thinking when I did it. I had poor judgment... I am not a racist, but I do think I need to apologize again with different words.” (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
ABC News
What happened: In a story called “Enough!” that aired on ABC’s “20/20" and “Good Morning America” in March 2007, ABC News and then-correspondent John Stossel investigated whether ministers of several large congregations had used donations to support lavish lifestyles. The segment featured a 10-second video clip taken from a previously televised sermon that showed Crenshaw Christian Center founder Dr. Frederick K.C. Price saying: “I live in a 25-room mansion, I have my own $6-million yacht, I have my own private jet and I have my own helicopter and I have seven luxury automobiles.” In reality, Price did not own any of those things: He was preaching about a hypothetical person who was rich but spiritually unsatisfied.

The apology: Though ABC News made a similar apology on air that year, issuing a public written apology was required as part of the legal settlement between ABC News and Price. “ABC News apologizes for any harm caused to you as a result of its broadcast of a video clip that ABC News stated was of you speaking about yourself when in fact you were talking about a hypothetical person,” Kerry Smith of ABC News said in her statement to Price. “ABC News regrets that it did not conduct sufficient investigation of the clip after receiving it to establish its correct context. By presenting the footage out of context, ABC News misled its audience and failed to meet its own standards, which ABC deeply regrets. (Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)
Amazon
What happened: A multi-day outage shut down many popular social media sites based on Amazon.com’s cloud service. Among the companies affected by the outages were widely used websites and Web-based services such as Foursquare (pictured above), HootSuite, Reddit and Quora.

The apology: Amazon’s Web Services unit issued an apology April 29 at the end of a 5,679-word letter that explained what caused the temporary failure. “Last, but certainly not least, we want to apologize. We know how critical our services are to our customers’ businesses and we will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to drive improvement across our services. As with any significant operational issue, we will spend many hours over the coming days and weeks improving our understanding of the details of the various parts of this event and determining how to make changes to improve our services and processes.” (Foursquare / Associated Press)
Star magazine
What happened: On a January cover story, Star magazine suggested Katie Holmes was a drug addict with the tease, “Addiction Nightmare: Katie DRUG SHOCKER! The real reason she can’t leave Tom.” That turned out to refer to a story inside about the “addiction” potential in Scientologists’ use of E-meters. Holmes and her husband, Tom Cruise, are well known as Scientologists.

The apology: Holmes, who filed a $50-million lawsuit against the magazine, settled for a high-profile apology from the tabloid and a “substantial donation” to her charity of choice. “In a recent issue of Star, we published headlines about Katie Holmes that could be read to suggest that she was addicted to drugs,” reads the apology inside the mag’s May 9 edition. “Star apologizes to Ms. Holmes for any misperception and will be making a substantial donation to charity on Ms. Holmes’ behalf for any harm that we may have caused.” (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Anthony Weiner

What happened: Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) flirted with women online and sent them explicit photographs of himself.

The apology: At an emotional June 6 news conference in New York, Weiner apologized to his family and constituents for what he called a “hugely regrettable mistake.” “I haven’t told the truth. And I’ve done things I deeply regret. I’ve brought pain to people I care about the most and people who believe in me. And for that, I’m deeply sorry.”

 (Jin Lee / Bloomberg)
Rahm Emanuel
What happened: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, is the brother of Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, the hard-charging and sometimes abrasive head of the William Morris Endeavor talent agency. The character of super agent Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO series “Entourage” is inspired by Ari Emanuel.

The apology: “On behalf of the entire Emanuel family, we apologize for Ari,” the mayor said at the 2011 Cable Show, the annual gathering of the heavy-hitters and rank-and-file of the cable television industry. “You know him as an agent, we know him as a brother. We thought that we got the worse end of the deal.” ()
Southwest Airlines
What happened: An unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot was overheard ranting about his flight crew to his co-pilot in the cockpit on a March 25 flight from Austin, Texas, to San Diego. On an audiotape, he is heard saying, “Eleven ... over the top ... homosexuals and a granny. Eleven. I mean, think of the odds of that. I thought I was in Chicago, which was party land. After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes.” The exchange was accidentally broadcast to the control tower and other planes in the airspace over Texas.

The apology: Capt. Chuck Magill, vice president of Southwest’s flight operations, apologized for the rant in an online response June 22. “On behalf of the pilot, I want to apologize to our employees, to our customers and to fellow pilots in the industry.” The pilot was disciplined, suspended and underwent “diversity and inclusion” training. (Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)
Microsoft
What happened: When news broke that Amy Winehouse died, Microsoft’s British PR team (@tweetbox360) posted a message on Twitter: “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking Back to Black over at Zune.”

The apology: The backlash was immediate, with people tweeting that the move was “utterly tasteless.” Microsoft apologized, via tweet of course: “Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.” (Carol Court / AFP/Getty Images)
The Game
What happened: Rapper The Game sent out a tweet Aug. 13 containing a number for the Compton police station’s official help line, urging people to call it if they wanted an internship with him. A deluge of calls flooded in, preventing the Sheriff’s Department from responding quickly to emergencies.

The apology: Four days later — once officials began looking into a criminal investigation of the incident — The Game apologized on CNN. “My sincerest apologies to the Sheriff’s Department, and it was a joke gone wrong,” The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said. “If anybody wants to take it further than that, I guess they have to do what they have to do. Like I said, again, I never intended for anybody to take it the wrong way or for it to go this far, and just, you know, I think it’s all nonsense. If my apology is not enough, I don’t understand what else can be done.” It was good enough for sheriff’s officials, who dropped the investigation. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images)
Charlie Sheen
What happened: Charlie Sheen hit rock bottom this year when he was fired from “Two and a Half Men” after lashing out at creator Chuck Lorre, costar Jon Cryer and his ex-wives.

The apology: In September, Sheen seemed to be going on an apology tour to cast the onetime warlock in a tiger-blood-free light. “The Tonight Show,” “Today,” the Emmy Awards, “The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” and Twitter were a few places hit with torpedoes of humility. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Tony Bennett
What happened: On Howard Stern’s Sept. 19 Sirius XM radio show, Tony Bennett blamed Americans for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right. They flew the plane in, but we caused it. Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.”

The apology: The antiwar crooner posted a statement on his Facebook page and appeared on “The View” Sept. 21. “I am sorry if my statements suggested anything other than an expression of my love for my country, my hope for humanity and my desire for peace throughout the world. Nobody loves America more than I do.” (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Omaima Nelson
What happened: Omaima Nelson killed, dismembered and cooked her husband, then ate his body parts at a Costa Mesa apartment in 1991. She insisted that her husband, William, was trying to strangle her when she hit him with a lamp, stabbed him with scissors and killed him.

The apology: At her October parole hearing, the one-time model from Egypt said, “If I didn’t defend my life, I would have been dead. I’m sorry it happened, but I’m glad I lived. I’m sorry I dismembered him.” She denied eating her husband, despite testimony by her psychiatrist at her trial. “I swear to God I did not eat any part of him. I am not a monster,” she said. (Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times)
Fullerton Police Department
What happened: In 2010, Fullerton narcotics officers mistakenly raided the wrong home after entering through the incorrect back gate. Robyn Nordell, who lived in the wrong raided home and teaches government, requested a public apology from the chief after discovering that the officers involved did not initially report the incident to the department’s brass.

The apology: Capt. Kevin Hamilton, Fullerton’s acting police chief, above, and the City Council made an official apology Oct. 4. “I am here to apologize on behalf of the police department to the Nordells,” Hamilton told council members. The City Council approved a formal city apology. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Christopher Chaney
What happened: Christopher Chaney allegedly hacked into the personal email accounts of Hollywood celebrities, including Scarlett Johannson and Christina Aguilera, and released private photos online. He was arrested on various hacking charges and faces up to 121 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.

The apology: “I was almost relieved when they came in and took the computers inside,” he told Action News of Jacksonville, Fla. Oct 12. “I deeply apologize,” Chaney said. “I know what I did was probably the worst invasion of privacy someone could experience. I’m not trying to escape what I did. It was wrong. And I have to just face that and go forward.” (Clockwise from left: Jae C. Hong, Kevork Djansezian, Dan Steinberg / Associated Press)
Lakers
What happened: A seemingly endless NBA lockout based on the inability of the NBA and the NBA Players Assn. to reach a collective bargaining agreement prompted intense fan frustration.

The apology: Lakers’ senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, above, wrote the following in a “Courtside Connection” newsletter: “We’re sorry to share that the NBA and the NBA Players Association have yet to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately this means the league has had to cancel all regular season games scheduled through November 14th.” (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Bill Gross

Former Pimco portfolio manager Bill Gross speaks at an event. 

 (Tim Boyle / Bloomberg News)
Chris Galippo and Lane Kiffen
What happened: USC linebacker Chris Galippo, a fifth-year senior, and other players said Notre Dame “quit” when the Fighting Irish did not use timeouts in the final minutes of their Oct. 22 defeat.

The apology: “If I offended anyone with my postgame comments Saturday, I do apologize,” Galippo tweeted. “I have great respect for their players and their program. It was a great game by both sides. Time to focus on Stanford!!!” Coach Lane Kiffin also called Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly to apologize. “On behalf of our football program, I apologize for Chris Galippo’s statements after the game. I’ve addressed this with Chris and he is remorseful,” Kiffin said in a statement. “I also called Coach [Brian] Kelly to personally apologize. As I said to the media immediately after the game, I thought Notre Dame played extremely hard throughout the game. It was another classic rivalry game and we feel fortunate to have won.” (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)
Brett Ratner
What happened: In a Q&A session after a screening of his film “Tower Heist,” director Brett Ratner disparaged rehearsal as “being for...” and then using an anti-gay slur. He then went on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show and talked about masturbation, cunnilingus, pubic hair, the size of his testicles and his sexual encounter with Lindsay Lohan.

The apology: In a Nov. 8 statement, Ratner apologized for the anti-gay slur and resigned as producer of the 84th Annual Academy Awards. “Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.” (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Mario Batali
What happened: Celebrity chef Mario Batali compared “the entire banking industry” to Stalin and Hitler during a Nov. 8 Time Person of the Year panel in New York City. “So the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys... They’re not heroes, but they are people that had a really huge effect on the way the world is operating.”

The apology: “To remove any ambiguity about my appearance at yesterday’s Time Person of the Year panel, I want to apologize for my remarks,” Batali said on Twitter the next day. “It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history.” (Jemal Countess / Getty Images)
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
What happened: The incident began Nov. 21, when Kansas teenager Emma Sullivan attended a Youth in Government program at the state Capitol. At the event, she tweeted: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.” In reality, she made no such comment to Gov. Sam Brownback. But staff members contacted the youth program, word eventually went downhill, and Sullivan was called to her school principal’s office. There, the principal told her to send Brownback a letter of apology and even suggested talking points for the note she was to hand in by a Monday deadline, Sullivan said.

The apology: “My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize,” Brownback posted on his Facebook page. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.” (Charlie Riedel, John Hanna / Associated Press)
Ginger White
What happened: Ginger White, right, publicly announced an extramarital affair with Herman Cain in which she claimed that she and the Republican presidential hopeful had been having “casual sex” over a period of 13 years. She also said that Cain helped pay her “month-to-month bills and expenses.”

The apology: On a Dec. 1 MSNBC appearance, White apologized to Hermain Cain’s wife and children. “I am not a cold-hearted person. I am a mother of two kids. And of course my heart bleeds for this woman because I am a woman and being in a situation like this cannot be fun,” she said. “And I am deeply, deeply sorry if I have caused any hurt to her and to his kids, to his family. That was not my intention. I never wanted to hurt anyone and I’m deeply sorry. I am very sorry.” (David Tulis, Greg Bluestein / Associated Press)
Rod Blagojevich
What happened: Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was convicted of federal corruption charges for trying to trade President Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for money or favors.

The apology: On Dec. 7, Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined $20,000. “I was the governor, and I should have known better. And I am just so incredibly sorry,” he told the courtroom.  (M. Spencer Green / Associated Press)
Alec Baldwin
What happened: Alec Baldwin was kicked off a Dec. 6 American Airlines jetliner at Los Angeles International Airport bound for New York. According to the airline, the actor declined to turn off his cellphone at the appropriate time, then stood up, took his phone into the restroom and slammed the door, the airline said. “He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed, even with the cockpit door closed and locked,” the statement said. “They immediately contacted the cabin crew to check on the situation. The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language. Given the facts above, the passenger was removed from the flight and denied boarding.”

The apology: The next day, Baldwin took to the Huffington Post to apologize. “First off, I would like to apologize to the other passengers onboard the American Airlines flight that I was thrown off of yesterday. It was never my intention to inconvenience anyone with my ‘issue’ with a certain flight attendant.” The following weekend, he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in a skit in which he essentially apologized to himself(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
o.b. Ultra tampons
What happened: The diminutive tampons started disappearing from stores in fall of 2010, to the dismay-bordering-on-panic of women who were extremely loyal to the small, applicator-free product from Johnson & Johnson -- especially its Ultra brand. Shelves were emptied and the tampons were reportedly selling on EBay for more than $100. (A recent search found a 40-count box of Ultras on Buy It Now for $79. Ouch.) The tampons started showing up in stores again in the spring, but the Ultras will be unavailable until the second half of 2012.

The apology: A message revealed on the company’s website, pictured above, in December read: “In case you questioned it, we’re really, really, really sorry that you were not able to find our products earlier this year. You’ve also shown us how much you love o.b. Ultra and we’re sorry we discontinued it -- we stand corrected! We’re working hard to bring o.b. Ultra back to store shelves by the second half of 2012 and we’ll keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, we’d like to apologize with this video message and extend a special coupon offer. Again, we’re really, really, really sorry!” ()
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