Category Archives: Apology

What I’ve Learned From the Events of the Past Week

Listen to “What I’ve Learned From the Events of the Past Week” here

To those of you who are listening right now, I appreciate it.  Thank you for tuning in to my show. 
 
Now, last Tuesday I used a word that I had never used before on air.  I pulled myself off at the end of the hour.  With one hour to go, we played a tape.  Truthfully, I was so upset with myself; I was shaking.    
 
That same night I wrote my apology (about 8 o’clock at night).  That same evening I gave Don Barrett, who is the publisher of LARadio.com, a statement which he published at 7am the next morning.  I got my people up early and put the apology on my blog at 8am.  We sent a letter — sort of – it was an email) to 200,000 members of my online family to let them know that, at noon, that day, I would be issuing an apology.  I would fully apologize for saying that word at the top of my show on Wednesday.  And if you haven’t heard it and would like to hear it, you can, still, because we posted it at www.drlaura.com.
 
I have no trouble apologizing when I’m wrong and I never apologize for effect.  I apologize ONLY when it is really coming from my heart.  In over 30 years in radio this was the first such circumstance and I made the promise that it will never happen again. 
 
Well today it’s one day short of a week since I said the word.  And I thought, today, I would talk to you about what has happened… and what I have learned.
 
Now, the day I said the word… I received a variety of emails from listeners.  There were many that expressed disappointment.  Several said that they felt they would have trouble listening to me again.   To each one of those emails, I responded with a personal apology.  I even read one of those letters during the on-air apology.
 
And then, after I apologized, I received more letters.  Many asked me why I needed to apologize.  A few said they were still upset at what I had done.  But most of the letters I received, while expressing dismay with what I did in the first place, were appreciative and gracious, accepting my apology. 
 
I want to make it clear to you that my apology on Wednesday morning didn’t have any conditions… it didn’t have any hesitation… and I think it’s important for everybody to be clear about the sincerity of that apology.  It was made while there were absolutely no demands for me to apologize.  Nobody had demanded that I apologize.  It came from my heart because I knew I had done the wrong thing. 
 
Now, despite all my efforts and sincere desire to express my remorse fully and publicly, it was not until Thursday evening that the news media started getting on the story.  Since then I have received support from many of you thanking me for the apology and encouraging me to soldier on. 
 
However, as the media have rebroadcast my error again and again and again and again, compounding the damage which I shouldn’t have done… and never intended to do in the first place… the effect has been that my words have offended many, many, many, many more people and there are many who are saying they will not accept my apology. 
 
Now, every time I take a call from one of you and you are upset with yourself that you’ve done something wrong and you want to make amends, I tell you you have to follow the four “R”‘s -
 
Take Responsibility for your mistake.  Make an immediate apology.
 
Show true Remorse.   Don’t try to explain away your action or defend it.
 
Repair what is in your power to Repair.
 
Make a commitment to never Repeat.

  • Responsibility
  • Remorse
  • Repair
  • Repeat

Those are my four R’s.  I’ve been teaching you guys that for over 30 years that I’ve been on radio.
 
But there are things out of my control.  There will be people out there who will not accept my apology.  And, just like I tell you folks, we can’t control that.  I can’t control that.  I hope they will listen to what I have to say, and watch what I do.  But the only thing that is in my control is what I say and do.
 
Now, what makes me sad…what pains my heart deeply…is that, beyond the reasoned letters which I continue to get, I have heard comments from some broadcasters and letters from some people that cannot be described as anything other than hate-filled diatribes.  Hate-filled.  This does not make me angry, but it hurts my heart. 
 
My hope with my apology, which was true and immediate and uncoerced, was that the silver lining might be that a dialogue be started to stop hate and bigotry.  I still hold out some hope… but I am a realist and I fear that there are those who frankly want to encourage hate and anger.
 
Now, when I first started out in radio, people would disagree…they DISAGREED…they didn’t HATE.  They didn’t try to censor, they didn’t try to destroy an opposing point of view.  Instead…they just argued and debated, and argued and disagreed, and debated and argued.  But our society has changed dramatically.  Self-appointed activist types breed hate, breed anger, breed destruction should anyone hold up a mirror or dare to disagree.  This environment, as you know, is not only in radio and television…it is in politics; it’s in every area of our society…in your neighborhoods, in your school districts, at work… 
 
But for those of you who don’t accept my apology, I’d like to say… that’s your choice.  But I hope, in time, through what I say and what I don’t say… through what I do and what I don’t do… you’ll change your mind. 
 
For those of you who accept my apology:  Thank you.  And I hope I will continue to earn your good will and grace.

My Apology

Listen to “My Apology” here

These are my opening comments from my radio program today:

I talk every day about doing the right thing.  And yesterday, I did the wrong thing. 

I didn’t intend to hurt people, but I did.  And that makes it the wrong thing to have done.

I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the “n” word all the way out – more than one time.  And that was wrong.  I’ll say it again – that was wrong.

I ended up, I’m sure, with many of you losing the point I was trying to make, because you were shocked by the fact that I said the word.  I, myself, realized I had made a horrible mistake, and was so upset I could not finish the show.  I pulled myself off the air at the end of the hour.  I had to finish the hour, because 20 minutes of dead air doesn’t work.  I am very sorry.  And it just won’t happen again.

I received some letters, and what touched me is that, even though many of you were upset, you still showed friendship for all the years we’ve been together on the air, and for that, trust me, I am very grateful.  Here’s an example:

I’d like to thank this woman for sending me this letter.  I was so very touched, and truthfully, it helped me make it through the night.  So I’m going to read this letter:

Dear Dr. Laura:

I have been a listener for at least 20 years.  I have bought and read several of your books.  I have always held you in high regard, and have encouraged others to listen to you as well.  I have to say, after today’s call with the African-American woman with the Caucasian husband who called seeking how to handle “racist” comments, I am a bit dismayed.  I believe that African-Americans using the n-word is disdainful, as well as Caucasians or any other race for that matter.  I agree that the argument some African-Americans use that it is ok for them to use it and not others, is ridiculous.  But, I have to say, when I heard you saying the word repeatedly, it struck a negative chord with me.

I don’t believe you are a racist, and I don’t believe, as an African-American woman, that I am hypersensitive.  I have to say after the call, I found it difficult to continue to listen to the rest of the show.  I have not made the decision to stop listening to your show, but I felt compelled to respond because I found it offensive.

Sincerely {and she gives her name}

One last note -
The caller in question (her name is Jade), called for help from me, and didn’t get it, because we got embroiled in the “n” word, and I’m really sorry about that, because I’m here for only one reason and that’s to be helpful, so I hope Jade or somebody who knows her is listening, and hope she will call me back and I will try my best to be helpful, which is what she wanted from me in the first place and what she did not get.

I Apologize

I always tell my listeners when they mess up, they need to follow the four R’s:  take responsibility, have true remorse, try to repair it, and don’t repeat it.  Yesterday, I messed up.  I used the “n” word on-air, and I regretted it as soon as the call was over.  While it was in the context of making a point about the unfortunate use of that term by others who deem it acceptable or funny, it is a word that is hateful, hurtful and I should not have used it even to prove a point.  After the call, I was terribly upset about it and after that hour of the program concluded, pulled myself off the air for the rest of the show.  Today, at the top of my program, I will apologize to my listeners.