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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Top 10 I'm Sorry of 2012

10. Comedian Daniel Tosh, for Making Rape Jokes

Another year, another comedian making an inappropriate joke and facing widespread public backlash. This time it was Daniel Tosh, host of Comedy Central’s popular Tosh.0. At a July stand-up performance in Los Angeles, Tosh made a rape joke that offended a female audience member. When she called him on it, he responded to the crowd, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?” After an account of the events was posted on Tumblr, outrage ensued and online petitions demanded that Tosh.0 be taken off the air. Tosh apologized on his Twitter account, writing, “All of the out of context misquotes aside, i’d like to sincerely apologize. The point i was making before i was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies”

9. Joe Biden, for Upstaging the President on Gay Marriage
Many news outlets reported in May that Joe Biden had apologized to Barack Obama in the Oval Office for upstaging the President on the issue of gay marriage. Three days before Obama said in an interview on Good Morning America that his personal views on gay marriage had evolved and that he had come around to supporting it, Biden stated on Meet the Press, in apparently unscripted remarks, that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. Political observers wondered whether the Veep’s comment forced Obama to pledge his support of gay marriage sooner than he had planned. After the dust settled, the Atlantic’s Steve Clemons claimed this summer that according to “very senior White House sources,” Biden never personally apologized to Obama, that the Veep’s staff apologized to the President’s staff and the rest was fabrication. “I applaud Obama’s gay marriage evolution,” Clemons wrote in July, “but when he should have looked BIG for the move, this apology kabuki backfired and made the president look smaller and more petty than he should have appeared at such a historic moment for his presidency and the nation.”

8. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, for Agents Gone Wild
In April, eight Secret Service agents were fired or forced to resign following their sex-filled romp at a hotel in Colombia with as many as 20 women, including some prostitutes, while on an official mission to protect President Obama. Matters only got worse in the ensuing weeks, when some of the fired agents claimed that their actions were common practice in the Secret Service, so much so that some employees allegedly referred to the organization as the “Secret Circus” when large groups of agents arrived in a town. Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service, said he was “deeply disappointed” and apologized for the agents’ misconduct. Sullivan has publicly maintained that the Colombian incident was an isolated one, but according to ABC News, an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security turned up allegations of similar misconduct in China and Romania

7. Libyan President el-Magariaf, for the Benghazi Attack

On Sept. 11, an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. Hours after the onslaught, Mohamed el-Magariaf, President of Libya’s ruling General National Congress, issued an apology, stating, “We apologize to the U.S., to the American people and to the government and also to the rest of the world for what happened yesterday.” But blame soon ricocheted back to the Obama Administration as details emerged on how lightly guarded the consulate had been. The White House was also criticized by conservatives for its shifting narrative on the events that led to the attack, which was originally attributed to spontaneous protests against an American-made anti-Muslim video but is now widely believed to have been a premeditated terrorist attack. In October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she took responsibility for security issues in Benghazi. With a congressional investigation under way, more apologies could be forthcoming.

6. Kristen Stewart for Cheating on Her Twilight  Co-Star
Kristen Stewart, who has shot to fame portraying a young woman torn between the love of two men (well, two mythical beasts), found her personal life mirroring her fictional one in July, when the Twilight actress, then dating co-star Robert Pattinson, was caught in photographs making out with her Snow White and the Huntsmandirector, Rupert Sanders. Twilight fans went nuts, and Stewart responded by issuing a public apology through People magazine, stating, “I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob.” Though Stewart and Pattinson broke up over the summer, they reconciled in September.

5. Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld, for Bungling Facebook’s IPO
As Facebook geared up for its initial public offering of stock in May, financial expectations for the company were through the roof. However, Facebook’s value tumbled in its first months on the market. The initial stumble was partly due to technical problems by Nasdaq, which began trading Facebook shares 30 minutes behind schedule and was ill prepared for the volume of trades (80 million shares were traded in the first 30 seconds the stock was available). Some traders’ transactions were delayed for hours or even days, leading to millions of dollars in losses for traders. Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld acknowledged that his company “[owed] the industry an apology” and said, “We have to go back, and everything we do has to go through some rigorous self-evaluation.” In a final settlement, the company is expected to pay shortchanged brokers $62 million for botching the IPO.

4. Congressman Todd Akin, for His Comments About ‘Legitimate Rape'
Political gaffes are nothing new, but Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a candidate for the Senate, ventured into new, cringe-inducing territory in August, when the Republican told a St. Louis television station that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. The reason, he explained, was that their bodies have a way to “shut the whole thing down.” This bit of pseudoscience, along with the inevitable questions it raised about what constitutes a “legitimate” rape, made national headlines and had Republicans all the way up to Mitt Romney publicly encouraging Akin to drop out of the Senate race so another GOP candidate could run against Democrat Claire McCaskill. Akin backed away from his statement and released an apology video, saying, “Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize.” But if voters forgave, they didn’t forget — Akin lost by more than 15 percentage points.

3. Apple CEO Tim Cook, for the Crappy Maps App
While September’s initial sales of the iPhone 5 dwarfed those of previous smart phones, consumers lashed out against the Maps feature, a navigation tool Apple developed to replace the Google-powered app that had come prepackaged on other iterations of the iPhone. But Apple Maps was a technological misfire, with its incorrect addresses, misplaced landmarks and warped renderings, and it earned the ire of many users. Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter on the company’s website apologizing for the app a week after the new iPhone went on sale, saying the tech giant was “extremely sorry” for the frustration the app had caused customers. The fallout continued in October with the resignation of Scott Forstall, the Apple executive who oversaw the development of Maps and who, according to the Wall Street Journal, refused to publicly apologize for the software’s shortcomings.

2. David Petraeus, for His Extramarital Affair

Sex scandals are old hat in Washington, but no one expected the next big one to come from the director of the CIA. David Petraeus, the former four-star Army general who received near universal praise for his leadership in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, abruptly resigned the Friday after the presidential election because an FBI investigation had uncovered his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, which began shortly after he took over as CIA director. “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Petraeus said in a statement announcing his resignation. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.” Petraeus, whose name had been floated as a possible next president of Princeton and who some thought should run for President of the United States, will have a tough time restoring his heroic image.

1. Mitt Romney, for His ’47%’ Fiasco

The video that surfaced in September might have been the beginning of the end of Mitt Romney’s presidential hopes. Secretly filmed at a May fundraising event, it captured the GOP candidate telling attendees that he had no chance of appealing to 47% of voters, because they didn’t pay income tax and wouldn’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” The remark played right into the image the Obama campaign had crafted of Romney as a callous businessman. Romney initially responded to the video by saying his remarks had been “inelegantly stated,” but eventually offered a full-throated apology, acknowledging that he had “said something that’s just completely wrong.”
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