June 06, 2014
By Anthony Vita and Zach Hecht
Recently, Jonah Hill was caught in the cross-hairs of a TMZ “journalist”. In reaction to what seemed like harassment, Hill delivered a vulgar insult, which included a homophobic slur.
While Hill was callous, thoughtless and said a word that should quite frankly have been long removed from our lexicon, his several apologies have been just the opposite; they have all been thoughtful and effective.
In a PR-driven world, where we trust the words of celebrities less and less, a good apology is very difficult to craft. Hill did a pretty good job of it for two reasons:
He took responsibility, quickly.
“This wasn’t funny, it was stupid, and I deserve [what] I’m going to get for it”
Rather than attempting to justify what he said or denying that he said it (Alec Baldwin anyone?), Hill immediately acknowledged his actions as deplorable. While Hill did say that he lost his temper under stressful circumstances, he went on to state that it was no justification for what he said. Hill fully owned up, and admitted that he “said a disgusting word.”
He used examples of actions to SHOW he meant it.
Hill’s apology has been well received because of his past actions and his ability to point to these very actions. Hill did not simply state that what he said was no reflection of his actual feelings, he also shared examples that showed it. Hill was able to point to the fact that he has long been a gay rights advocate, notably taking a public stance against Russia’s anti-gay laws prior to the Olympics.