Mea Culpa. Kinda Sorta.

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One of the great paradoxes of so many of these men (and in so many of these cases) is that being an advocate for women does not in fact mean that you can’t ALSO be a serial harasser.

Jessica Bennett, Gender Editor

This tactic — “Oh I am also surprised to hear these allegations!” — looks like part denial and part arrogance. Women started crying when he touched them! That’s a sign that your touch is bad touch, just F.Y.I.

Choire Sicha, Styles Editor

All the hedging makes it seem as if he doesn’t yet fully accept responsibility.

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

How nice that women’s suffering could be a learning experience for the man who harassed them.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

It should perhaps not be worth noting, but in the context of so many of these statements it is: that Senator Franken uses the actual words “I’m sorry” in his apology.

Jessica Bennett, Gender Editor

This gets at one of the underlying issues: Will things actually improve if men don’t realize this behavior is wrong until they are “forced” — by brave women and by investigative reporters — to address their actions publicly?

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

This declaration is one reason I think that, as a whole, his apology seems more genuine than many of them.

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

This is a point that many of the other apologies failed to grasp.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

“I remember it differently” is a classic excuse for this behavior — but he saves it by saying that regardless, the women should be believed.

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

This is exactly right, and a lesson I hope gets learned from all of these stories: When you’re in power, consent is not straightforward.

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

Louis C.K. mentions that his victims “admired” him no fewer than four times in this apology. But his power in these situations went beyond admiration. He was a successful comedian with a powerful manager, which meant he had power and influence in the comedy industry at large.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

He’s unsuccessfully trying to express an interesting idea here. I don’t believe that he didn’t think about what he did with women, particularly as people were trying to get this story out for years, or else, for one thing, he wouldn’t have literally written a movie (“I Love You, Daddy”) about how older men are totally powerless around alluring women. In any event there’s something no one has yet untangled here, about the denial and mental machinations of these men. But 100 percent they thought about it, all the time, even when they shut it out in the day-to-day to focus on their most important mission, building their careers.

Choire Sicha, Styles Editor

One often hears people talk about this kind of damage as a consequence of victims going public, or harassers being punished, rather than consequences of the harassment itself. Good for Louis C.K. for acknowledging that these consequences flow from his own actions.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

As many have noted, Mr. Spacey’s decision to bring up his sexuality in the context of his apology seems like savvy deflection. It gave the media a different story to report, and by framing his treatment of Mr. Rapp as part of his romantic involvements, he implies that criticism of it is rooted in homophobia. Many found this statement particularly odious because it draws on harmful stereotypes of gay men as sexual predators who endanger children.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

As many people have pointed out, this is absolutely false. Never was his behavior acceptable. (Not to mention the fact that his behavior continued well past that time period.)

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

Another apology that frames consequences for misbehavior as a learning experience.

Amanda Taub, Columnist, The Interpreter

I’ve always wondered if this meant he hired full-time therapists on, like, his personal staff. And if he did so, did he yell at them and bully them like any other Weinstein staff member in history? Does Bob get to yell at them too? How does this work?

Choire Sicha, Styles Editor

As many have now noted, this is a misquote. The closest thing Jay-Z says to this in 4:44 is: “And if my children knew / I don’t even know what I would do.”

Jessica Bennett, Gender Editor

Interpreting this paragraph would require far greater psychiatric expertise than I have, but to start, why exactly would we care about HIS anger at this moment?

Claire Cain Miller, Reporter, The Upshot

These sound like the ramblings of your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.

Jessica Bennett, Gender Editor

CHARLIE ROSE, NOV. 20

The longtime television host was accused by eight women of harassing them  with nudity, groping and lewd calls:

In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked.

Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues.

It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.

I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives.

AL FRANKEN, Nov. 17

Senator Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, was accused of kissing a radio broadcaster without her consent, and photographed groping her breast while she slept:

The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing — and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry.

I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.

But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us — including and especially men who respect women — have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.

For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse.

I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it — women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.

Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all. It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.

While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.

I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.

And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.

LOUIS C.K., Nov. 10

The comedian was accused by five women of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of them:

 

I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.

These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question.

It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.

I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with. I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.

The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I’ve brought on people who I work with and have worked with who’s professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production:

I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading.

KEVIN SPACEY, Oct. 30

The two-time Oscar winner was accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy:

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear this story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.

This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, Oct. 5

The Hollywood titan was fired from his production company after investigations in The New York Times and New Yorker found he had sexually harassed, assaulted and attempted to pay off many women:

 

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.

I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.

Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons.

Over the last year I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all the women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more.

Jay-Z wrote in 4:44: “I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.” The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party.

I’m going to do it at the same place I did my Bar Mitzvah.

I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.

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