In the summer of 2020, Vanity Fair became bold, declaring the end of the Notes app era of apologies. “Notes’s apology, designed to make viewers feel like the offender had hastily sent a message, has now been replaced by the vague feeling someone said, go get the graphic designer,” Arimeta Diop wrote. , citing a series of public excuses that have been aestheticized to camouflage themselves in the thread of a celebrity or a brand. But while the era may have come to a halt, it was not about to end.
Last Friday, 6,221 days after the 2004 Super Bowl in which Justin Timberlake derailed Janet Jackson’s career in an incident that became known as “nipplegate,” Timberlake posted a public apology on his Instagram. Better late than never? He also chose, in that same note, to apologize to his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears, who he had broken up with 19 years earlier but continued to speak badly, as in 2013 when he treated her of “just bitch” on stage. , or in 2018 when unambiguously demeaned his career decisions.
The letter arrived exactly one week after a new TV documentary, The New York Times Presents: Coaching Britney Spears, has reignited conversations about how the media and men like Timberlake have played a role in perpetuating misogyny and stigma over mental health, mothering and female sexuality.
Timberlake went with the tried-and-true Notes app excuses, first popularized among established celebrities by Taylor Swift in 2016 when she chose the preinstalled iPhone app to issue a now-deleted statement condemning Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West and accusing them. of “assassinated character”. He used the same app in 2019 to apologize again for what he described as an “error in judgment” after photos began to surface of him drunk and holding hands with his Palmer co-starring Alisha Wainwright. (Timberlake has been married to actress Jessica Biel since 2012.)
Other celebrities who favored the Notes app’s apology include, but not limited to, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Ariana Grande, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Fifth Harmony, Drake, Migos, Amy Schumer, Pete Davidson , Lena Dunham, Azealia Banks, Arm * e H * mmer, James Charles, Kendall Jenner and even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Most recently, Famous Soul Cycle Instructor Stacey Griffith (take a moment to leave this landing) posted an apology for the Notes app for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (take another moment, I get it).
You would think that with dollars at stake, entire teams dedicated to crisis management and, in most cases, clearly defined social media presences, celebrities could find more personal ways to convey their contrition. After all, the whole turning point in celebrity gossip coverage came with social media allowing celebrities to tell and frame their own public stories. But most of them are not. “We do not care?” one might ask. “It’s the words that count, not the format.” And of course ! But the pervasiveness of the format, and the way it is more associated with hastily tinkering with thoughts, indicates an inherent lack of thoughtfulness.
“I don’t think it’s so much their aesthetic, but rather the lack of effort,” says Mark Glasgow, designer and illustrator. “Not only did you write it down on your phone, but you didn’t bother to record anything – although I’m not sure it’s more or less authentic.” That’s right, on the one hand, a recorded video can allow visible or verbal nuances that a letter cannot convey. It might also give us as a viewer a better idea of where the apology actually comes from: the celebrity or their team. “I’d rather listen to someone trip or struggle through a video or talk about it and show that ‘Hey I’m here’ rather than just this cheap, typed Notes app,” T. Kyle MacMahon said in a recent episode. of his podcast Captions only discussing the insincerity of Timberlake’s apology.
I remember Snoop Dogg’s video apology to Gayle King in February 2020 after posting an expletive-laden video condemning King for asking about the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case in 2003 in an interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie. “I demolished you publicly by assaulting you in a derogatory way… I should have handled things differently than that,” he said in a simple, straightforward and effective video.
But this form of public admission is not for everyone. Factors such as the potential nerves induced by such a public declaration of penance or the idea that one might be most comfortable in the written form must be taken into account. So really, it’s less the note part and more the application part. Think about it: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
In Charisma Carpenter’s case, it was both. On Wednesday, the actress used her social networks to apologize, but to tell her long unspoken truth: accusing her former Buffy the vampire slayer and angel boss, writer / director Joss Whedon, of toxic and verbally abusive behavior. In her two-part statement, she alleged that Whedon constantly threatened to fire her, made fun of her for her religious beliefs and called her fat during her pregnancy.
His words: powerful. Its execution: poignant and touching. “As well as being beautifully written, it was very thought out in terms of format and style, which made it seem more prepared … in a good way, like she had really given it some thought,” says Glasgow. “While the Notes app is like, ‘I’m in the car on the way somewhere. ” [Charisma’s noted] gave it some seriousness rather than shit, I’d better fix this thing up quickly; better to do the bare minimum. And just to be clear, I think it was a good thing. It is a serious subject and deserves, yes, a strategy. “
The two-part slide, written with white text on a black background, can say a lot with limited space – and do it effectively. In thirteen paragraphs spread across slides, with no typos or grammatical errors, Carpenter shares a deeply personal and painful experience with the world in a space of his own, on his terms and at his own pace. It reads as heartbreaking, yet powerful in the way he was clear-headed, intentional, and well-prepared.
Can a public figure offer a sincere apology using the Notes app? Sure. But I remember (too often at this point) J. Lo’s green Versace dress – and how with every wear the heart becomes less loving. Even though this is the first time the celebrity has issued a public apology of any kind, the ubiquity of the app alone can signify insincerity at first glance.
The excuses will persist – they are celebrities after all; it’s part of the machinations – but the way they do them, and the thought and care taken, can signal just as much as the apologies themselves. You just have to ask Carrie Bradshaw.
welcome to “Use me” a chronicle of pop culture demon Evan Ross Katz who takes a look at the week in celebrity dress. From awards shows and movie premieres to grocery shopping, it’ll keep you up to date with what your favorite celebrities have been wearing to the biggest and most insignificant events lately.
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