Celebrity apologies I couldn't bring myself to care about

1) Two weeks after Jay Leno’s cringeworthy interview with Ryan Phillippe, in which he asked the actor to relive his earliest gig (as a gay teen on One Life to Live) by offering the camera his "gayest look" (see clip below), the Tonight host has issued an apology to gay people and whoever else was offended. Which is nice, but Leno’s done this before (just a couple years ago) and may well do it again, given the opportunity. Dude’s giving up his chair to Conan in a year; what’s he got to lose? Kudos to Avenue Q playwright Jeff Whitty, who first confronted Leno this time (and two years ago, as well), but it seems doubtful that anything is going to change, or that any Leno fans who were truly outraged will do anything as drastic as switch allegiance to Letterman.

2) A few days after New York magazine’s film critic David Edelstein peed on the fresh grave of director Anthony Minghella, Edelstein is apologizing, sort of. He essentially suggested that, after Minghella’s brilliant, personal, small-scale first film Truly Madly Deeply, Minghella devolved into a middlebrow hack who made overrated Oscar-bait movies (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain), for which devolution Edelstein blamed the heavy hand of then-Miramax co-chief Harvey Weinstein. In his apology, Edelstein’s not backing down from his opinion of Minghella’s work, but he’s sorry for blaming Weinstein, though he insists that the famously arm-twisting mogul did not twist his arm to wrest this mea culpa.

Now, reasonable people can disagree on the merits of Minghella’s work (if anything, argues EW’s Mark Harris, Minghella didn’t get enough credit for the careful crafting of his movies), and a lot of folks (a la Seinfeld‘s Elaine) really didn’t get The English Patient and found it long-winded and boring. Of course, that’s another argument against Edelstein’s earlier thesis that "Harvey Scissorhands" snipped Minghella’s work too eagerly in the editing room. So what Edelstein’s concession seems to say is: Sorry, Harvey, that I blamed you for your recently deceased friend’s hackery; apparently, he became a hack all by himself. That’s supposed to sound less rude and insulting?

UPDATE: And now, it’s time for my own apology, to David Edelstein, who, in the comments below, writes that I have mischaracterized his initial article and accused him of saying something he explicitly did not say. I apologize for my use of the words "hack" and "hackery," which overstate Edelstein’s description of what he sees as the decline in the quality of Minghella’s post-Truly work. I should have taken him at his word that he did not mean to go so far as to call Minghella a hack, just as I am willing to take Edelstein’s word that no Weinstein arm-twisting prompted his apology. By the way, no arm-twisting prompted mine, either.

Comments (77 total) Add your comment
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  • CC

    According to the 16 pages of responses from the recent Mark Harris column, we’re supposed to get over it. I wonder if any of those people are willing to go look at the links of ‘gay faces’ Jeff Whitty’s page provides.

  • evie

    I can’t imagine any gay people–or gay-friendly people–have the poor taste to watch Leno, anyway….

  • SH

    Who cares about that DONKEY (said like Chef Ramsey) Leno anyway?

  • Nee Nee

    Do ya really think Leno meant it in an offensive manor? Seriously? I think that’s getting a little picky. No, I don’t watch Leno. I don’t find him all that funny. But I don’t think it was a “jab” at the gay community or any gay person, at that. Sometimes a battle is just not worth fighting. Save it for something a little more obvious.

  • vw

    stupid is as stupid does. seriously? peeing on someone’s grave in protest? what’s the matter, are you missing the 60’s? go get a life why don’t cha and stop acting like the angry little boy you are. no one’s impressed. and find a toilet.

  • Snarf

    Leno is about as relevant as a bowl of soggy cornflakes and half as funny.

  • Eric Friedmann

    I don’t believe that celebreties make public apologies for any other reason than to save their pathetic careers. I think I’d have more respect for them if they just stuck to their guns; at least it would be honest!

  • paige

    i agree with that article on anthony minghella… i dont see how thats peeing on his grave.

  • Mike

    So confused by this blog post. If you don’t care about these ‘apologies,’ then why are you writing about them? In fact, I think you DO care, and are more offended by the apologies than the original behavior. Moreover, your anger toward David Edelstein is palpable. And finally, I think your summary of Edelstein (“He essentially suggested that…”) completely misrepresents what Edelstein wrote.

  • To CC

    The Mark Harris column about the Jimmy Kimmel video last month is completely different and you know it. And many of the people-including myself-who responded on those 16 pages were gay themselves. Get off your high horse.

  • Snarky

    The two worst “apologies” were dog the bounty hunter (is he a “celebrity”????) and the guy from Grey’s Anatomy – I mean, really, rehab for saying “fa**ot” Really? Did you go to Promises or the place in Utah like Lohan?

  • ruth, graniteville, sc

    ho hum who cares

  • Jelana

    I “got” The English Patient. I saw the nuanced direction, action and story. It still sucked. Just because something is crafted well doesn’t make it interesting.

  • Eileen

    Re: Jay Leno. Not sure what hub bub is about. Even Ellen interviewed Ryan about the show where he played the first overtly gay individual on a soap. But since I’m not a fan of Ryan’s I pretty much channel surfed while he was on. He’s about as exciting as a wet noodle.

  • Nix

    I take extreme offense at the suggestion that a film critic is a celebrity. That is an insult to the noble art of celebrity as practiced by rich blond girls acting dumb everywhere.

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