Sure, plenty of people apologized for genuinely hurtful actions. Beyoncé and Lizzo apologized for using insensitive lyrics. Taylor Swift and Marlo Thomas apologized after accusations that they had fueled fatphobia. Candace Cameron Bure … only kind of apologized for excluding same-sex couples from the Christmas programming on her Great American Family network. And yet, elsewhere in the mix were some truly silly statements of regret. Featuring repeat offenders like Bob Dylan, Kim Kardashian and James Corden, here are the 10 weirdest things celebrities had to apologize for in 2022:
Asking why Keanu Reeves still ‘walks among us’
In October, “Friends” actor Matthew Perry apologized after a section of his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” attracted attention for all the wrong reasons. In an excerpt published by multiple outlets ahead of the book’s release, Perry, 53, wrote about his late friend, River Phoenix. “River was a beautiful man, inside and out — too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down,” Perry wrote. “Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?” Perry repeated the question later in a section of the book about the 1997 death of his friend Chris Farley. “I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us,” he wrote.
When Perry apologized, he told “People” that he had simply chosen the name of the first actor he’d thought of. “I should have used my own name instead,” he said.
‘Right now, I am everywhere’: Matthew Perry’s endless loop
Dissing Venus and Serena Williams for not playing tennis against men
In March, the legendary New Zealand film director Jane Campion won a Critics’ Choice Award for best director for her film “The Power of the Dog.” During her acceptance speech, she looked toward American tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams, who were in attendance to support “King Richard,” the biopic about their father, and said, “Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.”
The backlash was swift; “King Richard,” after all, was a movie about the racism and sexism the two women had endured to rise to the top of their sport. Campion released a statement to Vanity Fair and other outlets. “I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world class athletes,” Campion said. “The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world. The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women.”
Spamming everyone’s iTunes in 2014 with a free album
On Sept. 9, 2014, U2’s album “Songs of Innocence” was automatically uploaded to iTunes libraries everywhere as part of a promotional deal with Apple. Some listeners were delighted; many, many more were not. The megasuccessful Irish rock band has never lived it down.
To be clear, frontman Bono had apologized before. But perhaps the fact that he felt the need to do it again just indicates the degree of lingering annoyance. “I’d thought if we could just put our music within reach of people, they might choose to reach out toward it. Not quite,” Bono, 62, wrote in his memoir, “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story,” released in December. “As one social media wisecracker put it, ‘Woke up this morning to find Bono in my kitchen, drinking my coffee, wearing my dressing gown, reading my paper.’ Or, less kind, ‘The free U2 album is overpriced.’ Mea culpa.”
Being a nightmare brunch patron at New York City’s Balthazar
It started with an Instagram post, and it ended with an apology that was … half-excuse? In October, Keith McNally, the owner of the restaurant Balthazar in New York’s SoHo, posted on Instagram to complain about late-night host James Corden’s antics on two occasions when he’d dined there. On one occasion, McNally wrote, Corden, 44, came in with his wife, who ordered an “all-yolk omelet.” According to McNally (who cited a manager’s report about the incident), Corden sent the omelet back because it contained a smidgen of white; after the kitchen remade the omelet, Corden yelled at the service staff. “You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job!” Corden shouted, according to McNally. “Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelet myself!”
On his show, Corden apologized. Sort of: He explained that his wife has a “serious allergy,” which he said they had explained to the waitstaff. “As her meal came wrong to the table the third time, in the heat of the moment, I made a sarcastic, rude comment about cooking it myself,” he said. “It is a comment I deeply regret.” (In a New York Times profile, however, Corden called the whole kerfuffle over his conflict with McNally “silly.”)
James Corden reminds us how not to complain at a restaurant
Causing a scene on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge … circa 1996
In a red-carpet interview about his comeback film “The Whale,” Brendan Fraser told SF Gate this fall that he always regretted how a particular stunt on his 1997 film “George of the Jungle” was shot. The comedy features one scene where George rescues a parachutist tangled in the bridge’s uprights.
“It brought traffic to a standstill on either side of the bridge,” said Fraser, 54. “There’s this dummy parachutist hanging from it. I had the TV on, and ‘Oprah’ got interrupted because there was a special news report with helicopters saying a parachute is dangling on the bridge. And I’m going, ‘Wait a minute.’ I’m looking at the helicopters and TV: ‘Somebody didn’t pull a permit. Somebody’s going to get in trouble with the mayor’s office.’ So I can only apologize for that.”
(To be fair, Fraser went on a long hiatus from Hollywood just a few years after “George.” Kudos to him for apologizing when the opportunity finally presented itself.)
Lying down on the stage during an Emmys acceptance speech
The joke, it seems, was that Jimmy Kimmel had gotten into a few too many margaritas after losing out on the outstanding variety talk series Emmy to John Oliver and passed out before he and Will Arnett were supposed to present the award for comedy-series writing? But few people remember that. Most only recall the part where Kimmel, 55, pretending to be passed out, continued to lie on the floor in front of the microphone as Quinta Brunson accepted the award, becoming the third Black writer to ever do so.
To many, the gag seemed distracting; Kimmel took the hint and apologized to Brunson on his show later that week. “They said I stole your moment, and maybe I did and I’m very sorry if I did do that. I’m sorry I did do that, actually,” Kimmel said. “And also, the last thing I would ever want to do is upset you because I think so much of you.”
Brunson graciously accepted the apology — after, of course, taking the opportunity to interrupt Kimmel’s opening monologue with the parts of her acceptance speech that had been lost to the distraction of Kimmel’s presence. “You know how when you win an Emmy, you only have 45 seconds to do an acceptance speech? Which is, like, not that much time?” she said. “And then you get less time because someone does a dumb comedy bit that goes on a bit too long?”
Giving women everywhere an uninvited, tone-deaf pep talk
In a March profile of the Kardashian sisters and their mother, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian told “Variety,” “I have the best advice for women in business: Get your f—ing a– up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”
Predictably, receiving such a directive from a reality TV star whose parentage was her original claim to fame rubbed many people the wrong way. So in an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Kardashian, 42, apologized and said her words were “taken out of context.” “It wasn’t a blanket statement towards women, or to feel like I don’t respect the work or think that they don’t work hard,” she said. “I know that they do. It was taken out of context, but I’m really sorry if it was received that way.”
Signing books with an autopen
In November, some 900 fans paid for signed copies of Bob Dylan’s new book, “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” costing $600 each. In each copy was a signed letter from Jonathan Karp (chief executive of the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster) confirming its authenticity, but when fans started to examine closely, they realized that the signatures looked exactly the same.
Dylan, 81, came clean soon afterward in a Facebook post: He had used an autopen, a device that replicates a signature, to get all the books signed. “In 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging. So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help. With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds,” he wrote. “Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”
Simon & Schuster offered full refunds to all who had purchased signed copies.
Bob Dylan apologizes for book controversy in rare public statement
Did he have an affair? Or did Adam Levine just flatter an Instagram model named Sumner Stroh in one of the weirdest ways imaginable? It remains the mystery of the year — to some people, probably.
In September, Stroh accused Levine, 43, of cheating on his pregnant wife, the model Behati Prinsloo, with Stroh. On TikTok, Stroh claimed that she and Levine had been seeing each other for about a year before the fling ended a few months before. She posted screenshots of Instagram DMs from Levine: “It is truly unreal how f—ing hot you are. Like it blows my mind,” one read. “Ok serious question. I’m having another baby and if it’s [a] boy I really wanna name it Sumner. You OK with that? DEAD serious,” read another.
Levine issued a hybrid half-apology and half-denial on — where else? — Instagram. “A lot is being said about me right now and I want to clear the air. I used poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner,” he wrote. “I did not have an affair, nevertheless, I crossed the line during a regrettable period in my life. In certain instances it became inappropriate; I have addressed that and taken proactive steps to remedy this with my family.”
Firing an actor for having “dead eyes”
“Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” actor Connor Ratliff, 47, remembers the day so vividly he named his podcast, “Dead Eyes,” after it: Tom Hanks, as Ratliff tells it, fired Ratliff from the esteemed actor’s 2001 directorial project “Band of Brothers” because Ratliff had … well, you can guess.
When Ratliff told Hanks, 65, the story on the aforementioned podcast, Hanks said that “not a single moment of this rings a bell.” Nevertheless, Hanks was aghast, and apologized accordingly. “This is a bone-chilling story, just bone-chilling,” he said, and added that he took “full responsibility” for what happened. “This was without a doubt the act of the director, and that was me.”