4 Simple Steps to an Online Apology and Why Elizabeth Lauten Didn’t Fair Well on Hers

So I’m up early on Saturday morning and I come across a post on The Root written by Demetria L. Lucas on this brewing debacle involving Elizabeth Lauten. Its apparent Lauten, the communications director for U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), is incensed towards young Malia and Sasha Obama’s body language at the White House Turkey Pardon ceremony. Cameras caught the girls behaving the way any other teen would in the same instance. They had the same proverbial “Dad I’m so over this look” that I’ve seen on many occasions with my own daughter.

After seeing a photo of the event Lauten writes a pretty scathing message to the girls on her Facebook page (of all places) condemning the girl's demeanor. We of course, expect more from the Obama girls because of the environment and training they have probably already received. But I’m not surprised they slipped up on this instance. Why? Because they are children and they are human children who will not be absolutely perfect 100% of the time. Geez, even adults with years experience living in the public eye will make social faux pas at some time or another.

Now with Elizabeth Lauten, I am surprised at her behavior because her title of communications director leads me to believe she should have known better than to direct such disdain towards children on social media of all places. The same sentiment was shared by many other individuals as well. After being called out in the social media universe Lauten decided to delete the post and write an apology.

I’m not going to spend my time ranting about the whole thing. There are enough people doing that already. I’m going to focus on why I believe Elizabeth Lauten’s apology was poorly executed and what she should have done differently in 4 simple steps. First off here is her apology:

I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony: When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.

 

Now, let’s break down the steps:

Step One: Remove the offending post
Elizabeth got off to a good start which was a good first step in the right direction. To get rid of the offending remark showed that she wanted to distance herself from the mistake and move forward. Nice.

Step Two: Say I’m sorry
“I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made…” I see the word apologize here so that’s good but after reading her statement in it’s entirety I found that she skipped the very vital next step and that is:

Step Three: Direct your apology to the person or persons that you have wronged.
In Elizabeth's statement she did not do this. What she said was  “I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony”. She apologized to the world and not directly to Sasha and Malia Obama. We know she is able to do this because she started of her rebuke by saying “Dear Sasha and Malia”. Elizabeth should have done the same thing in this instance. The fact that she did not direct her apology to the individuals she actually wrong cancels out the beginning part of the apology and causes it not bear any real weight whatsoever.  It’s what we call a ‘fake’ apology.

Step Four: Be honest…or at least reasonably honest
It’s really important to make sure that whatever you write you stay as sincere and reasonably honest as possible. Avoid doing things like stretching the truth.  Elizabeth mentions that she spent hours of time in prayer. This reeks of something that doesn’t seem to be very truthful. Judging from the response on social media it seems as though many individuals feel the same and do not believe she spent hours in prayer. Once she made that far fetched statement it just discredited the rest of her note which diminished her credibility altogether.  

I realize many people would love to see Elizabeth change her mind but that, in my opinion, is not something that's going to happen. Whatever is going on in her mind or her heart is something that is there and is deeply rooted. It's not something that's going to be fixed with few hours of prayer and a quick online post. You see it’s important for us to recognize that an apology is not about trying to convince people that you have changed your mindset or your opinion it's more about recognizing that you have actually offended, hurt or caused some sort of inconvenience. It is here where I believe Elizabeth made her mistake. She spent too much of her letter trying to convince use that she’s ‘not really like that’ and has had some sort of  celestial change. When she should have just kept it simple by stating she was sorry ‘directly’ to Malia and Sasha and she didn’t think before she ‘posted’. It’s that simple.

A day might come where you make a mistake by saying something online that you shouldn't have. If you just follow these four steps you're sure to hit the right marks in terms of making a proper online apology that will go over well…well as well as can be.So I’m up early on Saturday morning and I come across a post on The Root written by Demetria L. Lucas on this brewing debacle involving Elizabeth Lauten. Its apparent Lauten, the communications director for U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), is incensed towards young Malia and Sasha Obama’s body language at the White House Turkey Pardon ceremony. Cameras caught the girls behaving the way any other teen would in the same instance. They had the same proverbial “Dad I’m so over this look” that I’ve seen on many occasions with my own daughter.