Gina Mei
February 25, 2015 11:15 am

On Monday during the Academy Awards Fashion Police special, host Giuliana Rancic described African-American singer-actress-dancer Zendaya’s loc’d hair as making her look as though she “smells like patchouli oil,” to which another voice on the program chimed in, “or weed.” That moment is now immortalized, and Rancic’s comment was immediately met with major (100% justifiable) criticism on social media about the racist remark. As the controversy heated up, Rancic took to Twitter to apologize.

However, the Twitter apology did not seem to be enough, and yesterday, Rancic issued a second apology via E! Entertainment’s YouTube channel. This one was much more thorough, much more thoughtful. surprisingly earnest, and seemingly honest — especially for a high-profile person who happens to be publicly apologizing.

Unlike many celebrity apologies (or apologies in general), Rancic’s seems genuinely sincere — and we have to commend her for not trying to defend herself or beat around the bush. Her apology is straight-forward, she owns up to her errors, doesn’t defend herself, and seems to be using this moment as a learning experience. Hopefully it’s a moment that others will be able to learn from, too.

In her own words, she says, “I just want everyone to know that I didn’t intend to hurt anybody — but I have learned that it is not my intent that matters, it’s the result.” Of course, the one bit of quicksand here is that the whole premise of Fashion Police means that people will be offended on the regular, but this time a line was crossed.

Still, rather than offer a non-apology (i.e., the notorious “sorry you got offended” or “sorry not sorry”), Rancic actually owns up to what she said and its repercussions, which is super rad and basically how we should all be apologizing. Owning up to our actions and our words — and trying to understand why they were hurtful — is way more important than defending them just for the sake of being right. Rancic’s video proves that. It can be difficult to put aside our own hurt feelings when we’ve hurt someone else’s, but doing so makes all the difference.

“This incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of clichés, and stereotypes, and how much damage they can do,” she says, “And that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further.”

(Image via video.)

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