Thursday, February 26, 2015

Zendaya/Rancic: TV Host Demonstrates How To Make A Proper Apology. Others Could Learn...

A Fashion Police host apologized
to Zendaya for an offensive comment about
her dreadlock hair style at the Oscars.  
Very often, celebrities, politicians, public figures and other people in the news say something stupid, and the Internet and media pile on.

The well-worn trajectory has the people who make the dumb comments digging in, then apologizing.

But you can tell the apologies from most of these people are done just for PR, and the wording of these mea culpas betray a total lack of sincerity.

"I'm sorry if I offend so and so....."

No, you DID offend them. Even if you didn't mean to offend them, you did.

So, it was refreshing to hear the way Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic apologized for making a racist-sounding remark about the actress Zendaya's hair.

First let's get to the offending comment from Rancic. She said about Zendaya's hair style at the Oscars, which was a nice dreadlock do:  "I feel that it smells of patchouli oil, or weed. Yeah, maybe weed."

Fashion Police, is of course, famous for its snarky comments on the way celebrities appear in public, especially their style, or lack thereof (depending upon your opinion.)

Though Fashion Police is a frivolous show and what's said there is certainly not important, Rancic's remarks, pardon the pun, reeked of possible racism.

Zendaya responded to the insult with maturity and class, but also with needed outspokenness:

"To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or "weed" is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive....... There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who chose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. 

My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me, locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane."

Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne was offended enough by Rancic's comments that she threatened to leave the show.

Clearly, Rancic had to apologize. So she did. Thankfully, she got it right.

In her on air apology, Rancic began:

"I'd really like to address something that is weighing very heavy on my hears. I want to apologize for a comment I made on last night's Fashion Police about Zendaya's hair. Now, as you know, Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross a line.

I just want everyone to know I didn't intend to hurt anybody. But I've learned it is not my intent that matters; it's the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that's not OK."

Lets stop here and analyze the statement for a moment. I'm so glad Rancic didn't say, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone. She knows she offended people, so she says straight up that she did, even if that wasn't her intent. Rancic says she crossed a line, and she used the word "learn" to make clear that she had to educate herself on what she did wrong.

Rancic goes on:

"Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya and to anyone else out there that I have hurt that I am so, so, sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me. I've learned a lot today, and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and much damage they can do, and that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further. Thank you for listening."

Again, Rancic gets it right. She doesn't say "if I hurt anybody." She acknowledges that she did hurt people, no ifs ands or buts. Again, she talks about how she learned from this, and more importantly what she's learned from this, so she won't do it again.   She also urges others to not make the same mistake she did. Kind of paying it forward.

For the record, Zandaya said she accepts Rancic's apology. And Osbourne said she's glad Rancic apologized and that Zandaya accepted it. Crisis averted.

In the grand scheme of things, a host of a celebrity show saying something rude and crass about another celebrity isn't going to make the world come crashing down.

But more powerful people, the ones with enough mojo to make the world come crashing down, should learn from Rancic.

Rancic might be a star on a celebrity fashion show, but people who should know better, who at least arguably are in positions more powerful than the people on The Fashion Police.

To cite just one example, it makes me think of Rudy Guiliani and his ridiculous "Obama doesn't love America" comment.

Giuliani just couldn't admit he said something over the top. That it was wrong and insulting. It's perfectly legitimate to criticize the president and his decisions, but how does the wild accusation that Obama doesn't "Love America" help.

Instead of at least saying he expressed himself wrong, he did some verbal somersaults, saying he didn't intent to question President Obama's motives or "the content of his heart."

But Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. You didn't acknowledge that you overstepped.

Oh well, he's kind of irrelevant anyway. We can be thankful Rudy isn't a host on Fashion Police.

For the record, here's a video of Rancic's on-air apology:

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