See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
10. Alec Baldwin’s vow to not use homophobic slurs
Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show Up Late with Alec Baldwin debuted Oct. 11, and by Nov. 26, MSNBC had canceled the program after TMZ video caught the actor hurling homophobic slurs at a photographer after testifying at the trial of a woman accused of stalking the star. “Words are important,” he said in a statement, adding, “I will choose mine with great care going forward.”
9. Joe Francis’ backtrack for calling jurors “f—ing retarded”
In May, After Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis was convicted of five misdemeanor charges in connection with the assault of three women in 2011, he came under fire for calling the jurors “mentally f***ing retarded” and suggesting that they should be shot in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He later apologized for the “appalling” remarks, insisting he was just frustrated because he was innocent. But in August, the Los Angeles Superior Court sentenced him to 270 days in jail and three years probation.
8. Rupert Murdoch’s mea culpa for an offensive cartoon
A Sunday Times cartoon published on Holocaust Memorial Day offended many Jewish people because it depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu constructing a wall out of Palestinian blood and body parts. On Jan. 28, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch tweeted, “we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.”
7. JCPenney’s plea to win back customers
JCPenney released an apology ad at the beginning of May after receiving angry customer feedback over the former CEO’s decision to end popular discount programs and stop selling some of consumers’ favorite brands. The 30-second spot reiterated an old saying in retail: the customer is always right: “We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful.”
6. Oprah’s apology for insinuating a store clerk was racist
While in Switzerland to promote her new film The Butler, media mogul Oprah Winfrey caused a stir in August when she claimed on TV that a clerk in the Swiss shop Trois Pommes assumed she could not afford the $38,000 Tom Ford handbag because of the star’s race. The clerk fired back, arguing that she did agree to show her the bag, but also asked if she was interested in similar but less expensive models. Oprah apologized for jumping to conclusions. She did not buy the purse.
5. Sanjay Gupta’s flip-flop on medical marijuana
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta backed medical marijuana in August and said he was sorry for not jumping on the bandwagon sooner and even more sorry for writing a 2009 TIME article called “Why I Would Vote No on Pot.” He said he mistakenly believed the DEA designated marijuana as a schedule 1 substance based on “scientific proof” and vowed to put more faith in testaments from patients with chronic conditions, who find pot is the only treatment that relieves their symptoms.
4. 60 Minutes’ retraction of its Bengazi exposé
60 Minutes retracted an Oct. 27 story after it was revealed that British security contractor Dylan Davies’s FBI interviews contradicted statements he made to CBS correspondent Lara Logan, in which he claimed he was at the American compound during the Sep. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and saw the body of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed that night. Logan issued two on-air apologies on CBS This Morning Nov. 8 and on 60 Minutes Nov. 10, though media watchdogs said the mea culpa should have explained how the program failed to see all sides of the story. On Nov. 26, CBS News chairman Jeff Fager announced in a memo that Logan and her producer Max McClellan are taking a leave of absence.
3. Barack Obama’s mea culpa for flip-flopping on the effects of Obamacare
On Nov. 7, Obama apologized to the Americans who got dropped from their health insurance providers because they did not meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, despite his repeated assurances that the law would let people keep their plans if they were satisfied with them. The President announced a partial fix Nov. 14 that would allow the people who got dropped to stay on their plans for another year. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized for the flawed Oct. 1 launch of the Healthcare.gov website, which is prone to crashes and slow response times: “You deserve better,” she said during an Oct. 30 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
2. Rob Ford’s begging for forgiveness for smoking crack cocaine
On Nov. 5, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine after months of denying the allegations, arguing he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” to admit the truth to friends and family. But the mea culpas didn’t end there: in the aftermath of the revelation, he ended up having to apologize for making obscene comments about his wife at a presser and for knocking down a city councillor after the Toronto City Council voted to strip him of his governing powers.
1. Paula Deen’s mea culpa for using the n-word
In June, celebrity chef Paula Deen found herself in hot water after admitting to using the “n-word” and discussing plantation-style wedding plans in a deposition for a workplace discrimination lawsuit. After blowing off an interview with Matt Lauer, she went on to apologize in three YouTube videos for hurtful language, but did not elaborate on the details of the wrongdoing. After getting fired by the Food Network, she’s vowed to move on; she recently announced plans to open a new headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. in February.
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