So I know Yumi Stynes and George Negus’ comments about Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith’s brain capacity and skill in the sack were so last week (heads up: tomorrow’s post is equally last week’s news. Hint: Angelina Jolie’s leg.), but I haven’t read much in the media about the aftermath.
For those of you not familiar with what happened, Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith appeared on Sunday Night where he revealed he and his wife used IVF to conceive their twin daughters. In the days following, the story was picked up by Ten’s morning show, The Circle, in which Stynes commented on the above image on Roberts-Smith in the pool, asking if he was looking for his brain on the bottom of it. Now, Roberts-Smith is a pretty impressively ripped guy and we all know the trope goes that if you’re a beautiful person, you can’t be smart as well. Negus followed that up by this ambiguous statement:
“I’m sure he’s a really good guy, nothing about poor old Ben… But that sort of bloke, and what if they’re not up to it in the sack?”
To me, that insinuates that not only might Roberts-Smith be dumb, but that he’s obviously on steroids and we all know how that can affect performance “in the sack”. Stynes went on to summarise: “… he could be a dud root?”
Last Wednesday night, Negus and Stynes went on The Project to publicly apologise, and reveal that they also spoke to Roberts-Smith via telephone to apologise and that all is good between the three parties. I thought Stynes came across as genuinely embarrassed (rightly so) and apologetic. Negus… not so much.
The friend I was watching it with at the time said Negus is apparently a big proponent of free speech and it was clear he was only apologising because the higher-ups wanted him to save face. Fair enough if what he said was actually something he believed in and didn’t feel the need to apologise, but it was pretty obvious that the presenters on The Circle were just engaging in some mindless banter and they probably don’t actually believe what they said.
But one headline I read or saw on TV (can’t remember which one) asked “is [saying sorry] enough?” Well it has to be, doesn’t it?
If someone is genuinely sorry, like Stynes and, to a lesser extent, Negus, seemed to be, and they’ve made amends with the person they’ve upset and have learned from the situation and will, in future, think before opening their mouths, then there’s nothing else to be done.
This could be seen as a bit hypocritical coming from me who, two weeks ago, wrote that Chris Brown should be expunged from society for what he did to Rihanna, even though he has publicly apologised to the public and Rihanna. The difference is, his apology was orchestrated from above (arguably, so was Stynes and Negus’) and read from a teleprompter, and his behaviour hasn’t changed one bit since then. Just last week, he snatched a phone out of a fan’s hand for taking a photo of him and drove off with it! Also, he brutally beat his intimate partner, someone who loved and trusted him. He didn’t just make some thoughtlessly flippant comments about someone in the media he doesn’t know, as Stynes and Negus did. (There are some major double standards when it comes to this issue. For example, where was Daniel Craig’s apology when he said the Kardashians were “fucking idiots”? Meanwhile, Usher was forced to issue an apology when he was caught on tape saying he thought Brown should have some remorse over his attack on Rihanna when he was photographed jet skiing in Miami.) Sure, it was offensive to Roberts-Smith, his family, people in the military and many others, but they were just words. And a remorseful apology and promise not to say it again has to be enough.
Related: My Thoughts on Chris Brown.
Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Why Call a War Hero a Dud Root?
Image via MamaMia.