Real men don’t walk it back. If they’ve said or tweeted something that has made the Twitterverse go apeshit, they stand their ground and say “okay, you don’t like what I said or maybe you don’t like me, I get that…but I said what I said and that’s that.” I wish I could say I’m a real man in this respect, but I’m not. I’ve walked a ton of stuff back. It’s all very well to talk about backbone, but when the p.c. ghouls and banshees and stormtroopers are calling for your arterial blood it’s so much easier to become a mouse and go “squeek squeek squeek…I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it!”
Seriously, when I do recant or rephrase or otherwise apologize, I try and do it with restraint. I’ll restate what I meant and explain that people are taking it the wrong way, etc. Unlike Sing Street and Begin Again director John Carney, who in apologizing for slagging Keira Knightley‘s acting abilities in an Independent interview pretended as if a demon had invaded his person and turned him into someone else. Coward.
“Recently, in a phone interview, the conversation turned to a discussion about a past film, Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley. I said a number of things about Keira which were petty, mean and hurtful. I’m ashamed of myself that I could say such things and I’ve been trying to account for what they say about me. In trying to pick holes in my own work, I ended up blaming someone else. That’s not only bad directing, that’s shoddy behaviour, that I am not in any way proud of. It’s arrogant and disrespectful.
“Keira was nothing but professional and dedicated during that film and she contributed hugely to its success. I wrote to Keira personally to apologize, but I wanted to publicly and unreservedly apologize to her fans and friends and anyone else who I have offended. It’s not something that I could ever justify, and will never repeat.”
There’s no dignity in a 180-degree recant. Own up to what you said but modify or add to it. Explain that your words sounded harsher than what you meant to say, etc.