The year 2016 was no different from any other year for vocal celebrities. It was chock full of public figures bullying kids, fantasizing about abortions — and answering for their own unsavory behavior.
Even though “crazy” can be expected from many of today’s celebs, there are times when there is just no denying that what was said or done was downright wrong — thus, the public apology.
Here is a look back at 2016’s biggest celebrity apologies:
There’s a lot for which Lena Dunham could be apologizing. There was the time she promoted vandalizing “Jason Bourne” posters, or the time she defended air-headed college students’ attempts to remove sushi from their cafeteria because of that big bad thing called cultural appropriation — or even the strange and awful-looking rap music video she released in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
What Dunham did apologize for in 2016 were her recent comments regarding abortion. On an episode of her podcast, Dunham said, “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
Obviously causing an uproar, Dunham responded in an Instagram post with a “sort-of” apology for her abortion fantasizing. “I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won’t diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated. My words were spoken from a sort of ‘delusional girl’ persona I often inhabit, a girl who careens between wisdom and ignorance.”
Oh, dear. Dunham would have us believe she was inhabiting a character when she glowingly spoke of abortion? Was it that same “delusional girl” that accused football player Odell Beckham Jr. of being a sexist for not paying enough attention to her at an awards show, which led to yet another 2016 apology from Dunham?
It’s amazing some celebrities managed to hit new lows in 2016. Rosie O’Donnell did it by bullying President-Elect Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron. O’Donnell retweeted a video suggesting Barron Trump could be autistic and turned the whole action into a swipe against the future president. “How amazing IF it is true,” O’Donnell wrote about the video. “Donald does not have the power to change the facts — to rewrite history so speak true — stand tall.”
After future first lady and Barron’s mother, Melania Trump, hired a lawyer to get the video removed, O’Donnell was forced to admit she was wrong to attempt to publicly dissect a young child’s mental health and then turn it into a political attack. “i apologize to @MELANIATRUMP — i was insensitive in my RT — i am sorry for the pain i caused — it was not my intent — i am truly sorry,” she tweeted.
We’d say it’s all uphill from here with O’Donnell — but you truly never know with her.
One of the most bizarre pop culture stories of the year was that of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s tale of being held at gunpoint and robbed in Rio de Janeiro. The swimmer claimed he and others were robbed by armed men alleging to be police officers. Other accounts from police and athletes described a night in which a drunk and unruly Lochte vandalized a gas station and was confronted about paying for the damages.
After being called out for his fabricated story one time too many, Lochte was forced to admit he basically made everything up in his original account. “I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend — for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning.” Despite a 10-month suspension, the lying didn’t hurt Lochte all that much. He went on to compete on “Dancing with the Stars,” and there have been rumors about a future reality series for the swimmer.
Model Gigi Hadid found herself in hot water when a Melania Trump impression didn’t go over as planned at the 2016 American Music Awards. Hadid adopted an accent, pouted her lips, and said, “I love my husband, President Barack Obama, and our children, Sasha and Malia.”
The words were in reference to charges of plagiarism surrounding Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention.
Many didn’t find the impression funny or in good taste — and Hadid responded by posting a handwritten note to Twitter, saying, “I too have been the center of a nationally televised comedy skit that poked fun at my actions and was able to find the humor in it. I believe Melania understands show business and the way shows are written and run. I apologize to anyone that I offended and have only the best wishes for our country.”
“I can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom.”
Parker went into 2016 ready to become Hollywood’s next big filmmaker. His film, “The Birth of a Nation,” was being talked up as a serious awards contender. Instead, Parker found himself apologizing for misdeeds from his college days.
Before the September release of “Nation,” it came to light that Parker and his “Nation” co-writer, Jean Celestin, were accused of raping and stalking an 18-year-old girl while attending Penn State. While Parker was cleared of the charges, the alleged victim was paid a settlement by the school and Parker was forced to switch universities. Media digging found that the woman in question had taken her own life in 2012 at the age of 30. She had been treated for depression and many — including her brother — believed it was connected to the actions of Parker and Celestin.
What should have been a victory lap for his movie morphed into an apology tour. “While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law. There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation … I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom,” said Parker in a Facebook post, which turned out to be the first of many public apologies.
“The Birth of a Nation” disappointed at the box office and has been snubbed by awards voters thus far.