Katie Anthony

This Is How You Apologize, Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock’s addressing his sexual allegations through a blog-post non-apology speaks everything about the issue at large. He, and everyone just like him, still doesn’t get it.

 

If you’re Morgan Spurlock and you write a blog post preempting any accusations you feel could be made against you, do you get, like, a pass to continue to operate under the radars of both human attention and social relevance?

Shit, sorry, was that mean?

Oh, that’s right, yes it was, and I don’t care.

I’m not surprised that Morgan had a shitty sexual encounter in college in which he assumed that “a ‘no’ five minutes ago” means “a ‘yes’ right now.” And I’m not surprised that he thought “sex pants” was a funny cool nickname for a human woman in his office. And while I think that’s all textbook bullshit, it’s hard to summon outrage over boring fucking everyday Chadlife.

Think about that, Morgan. I’m not mad about your shitty behavior, because I believe it is part of your core identity – your structure – as you move through the world. Think about that. I’m not mad you did what you did. I am mad about your fucking “apology.

Somebody call the Hidden Figures ladies, because the math doesn’t fucking add up.

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeah no.

Let’s take a closer look at Spurlock’s blog post, shall we?

___

I am Part of the Problem

by Morgan Spurlock

(and Katie Anthony)

Hi guys.

Yeah, I’m gonna be reading along with you here, identifying the chunks in this paper sack of raccoon dumpster vomit.

As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder “who will be next?” I wonder, “when will they come for me?”

Okay, so, right off the bat, “hero?” Are we calling them heroes? Describing “heroes” as committing “indiscretions” is like describing Charles Manson as a “visionary” with “quirks.” The sanitization of your language is insulting and you need to be fucking honest right now:

“As I sit around watching man after man face fair and just consequences for their past abuses and assaults of women, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?'”

Also, bold choice to admit that your first thought when hundreds of women began coming forward telling stories of humiliation and abuse was, “but what about me?”

You see, I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem.

Nobody said you were an innocent bystander. Also, it took you months? Stop lying. You knew right away what would happen if people began to tell the truth about you. What you came to understand after months of hiding was two things: First, Weinstein wasn’t a one-off, which meant you were in deep shit. Second, that there might just be a way for you to play this where you look like only a 30% piece of shit, rather than a 99% piece of shit.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this thought, but I can’t blindly act as though I didn’t somehow play a part in this, and if I’m going truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well.

Stop telling me about your illustrious truth-telling career and start apologizing.

I am part of the problem.
Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what we see every day in the news.

I have changed the diapers of two infant sons with testicles like the most velvety souffles in Paris. But this ballSofter.

Are you trying to say that you have behaved abominably many times over your life? Because being an asshole doesn’t parallel assholes. It’s actually just being the exact same thing.

It’s like if Richard Spencer was like, “Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what you might see in archival footage of Klan meetings from the 1950s.” Or if Richard Simmons was like, “Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what you see everyday on Sweating to the Oldies.”

I believe the word you’re looking for isn’t “parallel,” but rather “identical,” or possibily even “responsible.

When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told be about it afterwards.

“I’ll call it a hook-up and a one-night stand so everyone knows how chill and casual and like mutually understood it was. It wasn’t a rapey rape! Goodness, no! It wasn’t so rapey that she told anyone about it! Except through writing the story in her own words about me, identified specifically by name, and sharing it with her class. But it’s important that you note that I had a female friend! And she was totally on my team because she told me about it.”

I was floored.

Wait, I thought this was an apology, Morgan.

See, okay, yeah, this can be tricky.

An “apology”  is where you acknowledge what you did wrong, and then express remorse. This sounds more like what you might call a “defense.” More specifically, this appears to be morphing into a “chickenshit defense,” which is where you make your eyes as big as possible and fan yourself a lot and express shock that some silly goose thought you hurt her one time. (Girls can be such flibbertigibbets about understanding what happens inside their vaginas.)

“That’s not what happened!” I told her. This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again. We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.

So, okay, if we can just track this out, beat by beat:

1. You’re drinking all night.
2. You start hooking up.
3. She pushes you off.
4. You wait a little bit.
5. You start hooking up again.
6. She says, “I don’t want to have sex.”
7. You wait another minute.
8. You start having sex with her.

Math check?

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeah fuck that.

“Light Bright,” she said.
“What?”
“Light bright. That kids toy, that’s all I can see and think about,” she said … and then she started to cry. I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped.

Okay, so real quick I’m going to get a good handful of your fucking ear and you’ll say, “Don’t rip off my ear,” so I’ll let it go and we’ll laugh for a little while, and then I’ll grab your fucking ear again and rip it off the side of your head.

And then I’ll pat your cheek. Super gently. Like the gentlest gentleman. You should be feeling better at this point.

You might believe I just ripped your ear off. But clearly, honey, you do not understand your own ear and its presence or lack thereof on the side of your fucking head. When you tell people I ripped your ear off I’ll just tell them how floored I am and then explain to you, “That’s not what happened.”

Good? We good? Sound like a good plan?

That’s why I’m part of the problem.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Oh my god.

Yes! It is why you’re part of the problem!

But the hilarious thing is that you don’t seem to understand …

… that when you frame this story as a he-said-she-said and describe your experience of having sex with her after she explicitly said “no sex” as an event where you “tried to make her feel better” …

… and then – then! – THEN! You compare your perception of what you did …

… to her perception of what you did – TO HER 

… WITHOUT EVER FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU FUCKING DID SOMETHING WRONG!

THAT

IS

THE

ENTIRE

PROBLEM.

Then there was the time I settled a sexual harassment allegation at my office. This was around 8 years ago, and it wasn’t a gropy feely harassment. It was verbal, and it was just as bad.

“I’ll call it an allegation so everyone knows how much she lied about it. It wasn’t a gropey harassment! Goodness, no!”

If your harassment was truly “just as bad,” then you don’t need to assert it as if we were obviously going to respond to hearing you say that you verbally harassed someone at work, with, “Well, was it gropey? Then what’s the big deal!? Sheesh!”

I would call my female assistant “hot pants” or “sex pants” when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence.

Uh huh. And at what point did you realize this?

Was it … was it five minutes ago? Was it when you started writing this “apology” in the hopes that it would win you friends and influence people? Was it when you asked your Reddit Troll Bridge buddies, “Ugh, bros, need help. What do you think women want me to say about feeling remorse for calling my assistant hot pants?”

So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone. Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid. I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.

“It wasn’t so icky that she told anyone about it! Except me. But clearly, I do not fucking count. Also, notice that she demanded money. So that gold-digger did fine, okay? Honestly, I don’t think her dignity and personhood was worth quite that much, but I’m Morgan Fucking Spurlock, okay? I could afford it.”

“If I have to pay out some bullshit apology it’s totally worth it so I can remain the magnificent bastard that I am wasWas. Past tense. Not now. That’s not what I’m doing right now. Goodness no! This is totally sincere.”

I am part of the problem.
And then there’s the infidelity. I have been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had. Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs.

Cheating isn’t raping or sexually harassing. It’s shitty, but it’s a different brand of shitty than what you’re ostensibly apologizing for here, which is a rape in college and sexual harassment of your assistant.

When you equate cheating with actual crimes, you diminish the offensiveness of the crimes.

I hurt them. And I hate it. But it didn’t make me stop. The worst part is, I’m someone who consistently hurts those closest to me. From my wife, to my friends, to my family, to my partners & co-workers. I have helped create a world of disrespect through my own actions.

“I have helped create a world of disrespect through my own actions” is the only fucking line worth reading in this entire “apology.”

And I am part of the problem.
But why? What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Abuse that I only ever told to my first wife, for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.

I am terribly sorry to hear that you were abused as a boy and a young man. Sexual abuse is devastating. You didn’t deserve that as a child or an adolescent. Your pain is real and I’m sorry that you have to carry that burden. I sincerely hope that you are able to find peace through therapy, support, and a lot of hard and painful work.

But to answer your question: What caused you to act this way?

You did. You caused you to act this way. Your pain is not insignificant. But if your pain is in the driver’s seat when you’re raping a woman and verbally abusing your assistant, then you need to get the fuck out of that car. We all make mistakes. But we are also all responsible for the consequences of those mistakes. Anybody who promised you different was probably one of your “heroes.” You know, the ones with “indiscretions.”

Is it because my father left my mother when I was child? Or that she believed he never respected her, so that disrespect carried over into their son?

No. It’s because you did those things. It’s because you decided to do them and then you did them.

You are like a raccoon vomiting old yogurt on me right now and I resent the shit out of it. This is your mess. You need to clean it up. This is not my fucking job. It’s not your college hook-up’s job. It’s not your assistant’s job. It’s not even your dad’s job.

Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years, something our society doesn’t shun or condemn but which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with. Depression we can’t talk about, because its wrong and makes you less of a person.

Magnificent change of subject from your own actions to alcoholism and depression, two things that are beyond your control. That is what sexual predators-slash-politicans call a “pivot.”

“What was I supposed to do? Not rape people and get help for my addiction? I am an alcoholic. And I think I speak for the whole alcoholic community when I say I’m pretty sure it’s like step four where women might think we’re raping them but we’re really just shitfaced and not listening to them say ‘no sex’ and then doing sex and then being confused about what happened. It’s one of the 12 steps. I think it’s four. Four feels right.”

“What was I supposed to do? Stop sexually harassing my assistant and go get some goddamn therapy? I was depressed. Everyone knows depressed people are the best at inappropriately sexual workplace nicknames. What, do I just reject the gift that my depression gave me? Her pants were hot!

Again, I am so genuinely sorry to hear about your struggles with alcoholism and depression.

But this is a letter about you taking responsibility for your actions.

If I punch you in the face and then tell the story about the time a man slipped his hand all the way down the back of my jeans in a bar in New York, does that make your black eye somehow fucking okay? No. It makes me someone who is focused on creating my own character in this story, rather than acknowledging my fucking actions and their consequences.

And the sexual dalliances? Were they meaningful? Or did they only serve to try to make a weak man feel stronger.
I don’t know. None of these things matter when you chip away at someone and consistently make them feel like less of a person.
I am part of the problem. We all are.

Nope, just you.

Strike “we” from any apology you ever write. Unless you are a conjoined twin. Then it’s fine.

But I am also part of the solution.

Oh, hell no.

By recognizing and openly admitting what I’ve done to further this terrible situation, I hope to empower the change within myself. We should all find the courage to admit we’re at fault.

But you didn’t do that.

You found the courage to tell your side of a rape story, tell us how funny you are in the office and how your gold-digging assistant couldn’t take the joke, blame your dad, alcoholism and depression, and then wrap it up by assuring us that you are part of the solution now, before congratulating yourself on your fucking courage.

Please do not be part of the solution. Instead, go to the hills. Run with the wild horses until you are very, very tired. Too tired to talk. Definitely too tired to blog. And then go directly to a hospital and demand they give you fluids and lock you in a room with a team of mental health experts and every single memoir ever written by a woman because they all have fuckers like you in them.

More than anything, I’m hopeful that I can start to rebuild the trust and the respect of those I love most. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I will work everyday to earn it back.

Whoa, you are just jumping right to the end, huh? Like we wouldn’t even notice, huh? You’re like, brushing the dirt off your knees, calling quitting time, and it’s fucking 8:33 a.m.

Morgan. You have not even begun to work toward the right to ask for a chance to apologize yet, much less get to work on rebuilding trust.

It’s like you think you’re standing around the campfire surrounded by friendly Ewoks at the end of Return of the Jedi.

There’s Kevin Spacey on the left, Harvey right there in the middle. In his robe. Standard. And on the right there’s Charlie Rose. He’s trying a beard. I think it works for him.

You think the journey is over. But do you know where you are?

Okay. No. But right before the first part, the “a long time ago” part, the part where it’s just a black screen – that’s where you are.

I will do better. I will be better. I believe we all can.

Again with the “we!” Who else did the things you did to the people to whom you did the things?

Trick question, M-Spurl. It’s you.

The only individual I have control over is me. So starting today, I’m going to be more honest with you and myself. I’m going to lay it all out in the open. Maybe that will be a start. Who knows. But I do know I’ve talked enough in my life … I’m finally ready to listen.

Well, first of all, when crafting your apology, do not – I repeat! – do not lift Louis CK’s line as your closer! Unless he’s your #hero. In which case, thanks for making it crystal clear exactly who I am dealing with right now.

If you want to listen, I have a lot fucking more to say, so if you’re in the mood you can always just ping me.

___

Morgan’s post signals a shift.

We have officially entered phase two of the purge.

Phase one was when men hid from us, and we found them. They were raccoons in our garbage. We pulled on our leather gloves and tough bitch boots and got the fuck in the dumpster and hauled them out, hissing and clawing. And for the first time in our lives, when we dragged their stank-asses to the fucking raccoon kennel, the guys working there were like, “Yep, definitely a raccoon. No question. Please sign here and we will tell everyone what a fucking raccoon this is.”

Phase one was when we told our stories and people actually fucking believed us and we were like, “for real?” and people were like, “yeah, that’s unacceptable, he’s fired.”

And we were like, “daaaang! #MeToo is better than the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser! That was significantly less shitty than it would have been four months ago!*”

* Except for working-class people whose bosses aren’t newsworthy, and so therefore neither is their bullshit
** And women who accused our Dear Leader
*** And women who accused Roy Moore
**** Listen, the problem is not even fucking close to solved but
***** We have taken a step in the right direction
****** Or actually maybe we just leaned in the right direction
******* We’re definitely looking in the right direction. Like, really hard.
******** With side-eye. Can’t look straight at it. It might get skittish and run.
********* #ThingsJusticeHasInCommonWithSquirrels

Nooooooooooooooooooo
Wait
Nooooooooooooooooooooooo

BUT ANYWAY.

Phase two is when shit’s gonna get mad tricky for us again.

Because as Morgan “The-Rotten-Yogurt-Covered-Raccoon” Spurlock has just shown us, sometimes the raccoon doesn’t wait in the dumpster to be found. Sometimes he climbs out because he knows it’s only a matter of time. And he walks up to you, and barfs up the rotten yogurt all over you.

In phase two, a man will come forward proactively to confess his sins. He will come forward in the hopes that he will receive our mercy. He will come forward in the hopes that because he so generously spared us the pain of calling him out, we will be kind to him. He will come forward in the hopes that there will be a cookie for him.

But there will be no mercy. There will be no kindness. There will definitely not be a cookie. Because he just barfed old yogurt on us. To prove how sad he is that he fucking eats garbage, he barfed it on us.

How is this apology any fucking different from the way Morgan Spurlock expelled sexual objectification on his assistant? How is this apology any fucking different from the way he projectile vomited his horny bullshit onto the body of the woman in college and then was like, “I thought she was okay, but she thought she had been barfed on. Agree to disagree I guess. I mean, was there barf? Technically, yes. And did I barf said barf? Again … technically. But did I mention that my dad left when I was a baby?”

I’m not a baby bird and this vomit doesn’t do shit for me except remind me that it’s apparently my fucking job to both admire your puke puddles and then take responsibility for cleaning them up. To that I say, “No, Morgan. No. That is your job now.” It’s our job to read these apologies and recognize the shitty ones.

It is our job not to confuse an admission of guilt with an expression of remorse.

We’ve gotta be hard on them.

Phase one was when we said, “That fucking hurt me,” and they said, “Oh! I didn’t mean to!” Phase two is when we need to resist the unconscious impulse to say, “It’s okay.” Phase two is when we need to say, “I don’t fucking care what you meant to do. That fucking hurt me. Do better.”

It’s not fucking okay, and it’s extra not-okay when Morgan Spurlock comes out with a non-apology, apropos of nothing except an instinct for self-preservation and the hope that he can steer public opinion away from disgust and toward pity, as long as he stays ahead of the story.

The good news is that I do pity him. But I do not accept this apology.

Do better.

 

Katie Anthony weaves her beautifully bent prose at KatyKatiKate, and she’d very much like you to support her on Patreon so you can patronize her all day long.

 

Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony is a writer in Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared in CNN.com, Bust, and Scary Mommy. Katie writes about feminism, family, and other f-words at KatyKatiKate.com, and co-hosts the Larj Media podcast Mouthy/Messy/Mandatory with Ronit Feinglass Plank.

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