Felicity Huffman Apology Is the Genuine Article

Thom Weidlich 04.11.19


Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman, snared in the nationwide college-admissions scandal, received bravas this week for her apology and announcement she would plead guilty to paying $15,000 to have a Harvard graduate take her daughter’s college-entrance exam. Huffman’s mea culpa is well worth looking at.

We find ourselves on the side of those who see merit in her statement, released Monday, April 8; it appears genuine, is emotional, and avoids legalisms, excuses, and pointing fingers. Also noteworthy is its unrelenting self-whipping.

Sure, Huffman, the former Desperate Housewivesstar, is a mother and not a corporation, and it’s an inherently emotional situation, but there are lessons here even for Gigantor Multinational Inc. At the very least, she seems legitimately sorry for what she did (we think — she is, after all, an actor).

Huffman (pictured) starts off her four-paragraph statement by saying she will plead guilty (as will a dozen other parents of the total 50 defendants). So already, she’s admitting wrongdoing. She then has a longish sentence that sets the tone, with words like “full acceptance,” “guilt,” “deep regret,” “shame,” “full responsibility,” and “consequences”:

My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.

— Felicity Huffman

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions.”

She follows this by saying she is “ashamed of the pain” she’s caused various people and groups (in corporate speak we call them “stakeholders”): “my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the educational community.”

She apologizes to them and “to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”

Hoi Polloi

This was especially important (and could have been mistakenly omitted) because a major strand of the outrage over the scandal is that wealthy parents cheated their kids into college while the hoi polloi obeys the rules.

In fact, one reason it was so important to get the statement’s tone right was that Huffman and other defendants, including fellow actor Lori Loughlin (who hasn’t admitted guilt), were absolutely roasted by the public for their participation in the scheme.

In the final paragraph, Huffman states that her daughter wasn’t aware of the scam “and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her.” She concludes: “This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Fox News canvassed the Twitterverse to find reactions to Huffman’s statement and many were positive:

“A lot of people could learn from this apology. Nice to see someone take actual responsibility for doing something wrong.”

“The apology statement also contained no excuses. That’s important too.”

“In fairness to #FelicityHuffman, this is as good an apology as one could write.”

Of course, there were naysayers. “Why are we congratulating Huffman for properly apologizing?” one person asked. “This is the very least she can do.”

To which we respond: Because so many people (and organizations) find “properly apologizing” so hard.

Photo Credit: RoidRanger/Shutterstock

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