The Cancel Culture Apology

El Schader

In today’s society, all celebrities fear getting cancelled—a mistake from your past can come back to bite you. Five words can mean losing an entire followers base and a lot of your brand deals. Unfortunately, for a lot of influencers, these make up their main income. So what happens when your loving fans start digging up every little mistake? How do you come back from it?

The Apology

Most celebrity apologies follow a certain format:

  • I was 
  • I am 
  • I will

Let’s explore this format with a made-up example:

  • I was
    • A contemplative look back on the actions in question
      • i.e. What I said freshman year at lunch about trees was unacceptable.
  • I am
    • They describe how they feel about those actions and how much regret they have
      • i.e. I am saddened for all the people hurt by what I said and thankful for the opportunity I now have to grow.
  • I will
    • Finally they make promises that can show their growth
      • i.e. I’m making a promise to love all trees in the future, I will plant trees and hope you guys will join me on my learning journey.

Nathan Miller is the founder and CEO of MillerInk, a company that often helps public figures bounce back. He describes getting canceled as a “large social, personal or professional cost that is imposed on you because of something you’ve said or done.”

Miller will often tell his clients to take a beat before coming back; he recommends they stop firing back and create a well thought-out apology to their fans.

He also says that many times, a “coverup is often worse than the crime.” Public figures are told to own up to their mistakes instead of giving excuses or diminishing the accusations.

Closing Thoughts

Now that we understand the process of the apology, you have to wonder…

If the apology and the way the controversies are handled are scripted to a science—are they genuine?

A lot of times, apologies from canceled figures are a business decision because they are so wrapped up in keeping followers. Ultimately, the question is: do they actually learn, or is the apology so manufactured that they don’t have to see the error of their ways?