The top celebrity apologies of 2016, and the mistakes and missteps that triggered them

From petting a dolphin to lying about being robbed at gunpoint, there was no shortage of celebrity faux pas this year. And with social media quick to call them out, the stars were wise to apologise

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 4:01pm

Celebrity apologies are a time-honoured tradition, as stars frequently find themselves caught up in controversies – and they have creative ways of expressing regret, with certain statements surely crafted by a helpful publicist or manager. Here’s a list of what celebrities did that they felt compelled to apologise for in 2016, from the silly to the serious.

Used a sacred Hawaiian rock for scratching

Jennifer Lawrence joked in November that while filming The Hunger Games in Hawaii, she found sacred rocks were “good for butt-itching” after filming in a wetsuit. Unsurprisingly, people were offended. Lawrence defended herself, saying she was being self-deprecating: “I meant absolutely no disrespect to the Hawaiian people … but I understand the way it was perceived was not funny and I apologise if I offended anyone.”

Sneaked two dogs on a private jet into Australia

Before news of their divorce made things very serious, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard went to court over this incident, when they brought their two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia without going through the proper process. Ultimately they filmed a bizarre video in April and Heard said she was “truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.”

Called Prince’s death “pathetic”

In May, Gene Simmons said this about Prince’s death: “But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did. Slowly, I’ll grant you … but that’s what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death.” He tweeted his regrets: “I apologise – I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts.”

Attended a party that was raided by police

Country singer Zac Brown took to Facebook in April to clarify why he was at a party in Miami where people were busted for drugs: “I did not know these people and had no idea that there were drugs in their possession … everyone is responsible for their actions, and I regret using poor judgment and putting myself in that position.”

Posted a photo petting a dolphin

“I touched Dolphins belly while sporting a trucker hat in 2004,” Brie Larson wrote as the caption to a “flashback Friday” Instagram photo in September. She wound up deleting the post: “I apologise if the photo appeared to endorse animal cruelty. I don’t believe any living thing deserves miss treatment [sic].”

Didn’t put hand over heart during the US national anthem

This “story” got a curious amount of attention when US Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas stood with her hands clasped in Rio in August: “I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played. I never meant any disrespect and apologise if I offended anyone.”

Lied about being held at gunpoint at a service station in Rio

Remember this one? At first, US Olympic swimmer/reality star Ryan Lochte said he and other Olympians were held up at gunpoint in August; then admitted that he wasn’t totally truthful (more like completely lied) about all the details: “I want to apologise for my behaviour last weekend – for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning.”

Debuted a Melania Trump impression

Gigi Hadid did her best future first lady while co-hosting the American Music Awards in November. Some viewers were not impressed. Hadid responded: “I too have been the centre of a nationally televised comedy skit that poked fun at my actions and was able to find the humour in it. I apologise to anyone that I offended and have only the best wishes for our country.”

Had New York Fashion Week models wear dreadlocks

After many called out Marc Jacobs for cultural appropriation in September, he said sorry on Instagram: “I apologise for the lack of sensitivity unintentionally expressed by my brevity.”

Didn’t turn up to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature

Bob Dylan was a no-show in Sweden but sent a note that said: “I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honoured to be receiving such a prestigious prize.”