Steve Martin apologizes for twitter controversy. But is it enough…or much to do about nothing?

steve-martin-imageSteve Martin has apologized for the Twitter Controversy on his blog that many are calling a Comedy of errors or more aptly Errors of Comedy. A simple statement is misquoted due to a misunderstanding and soon the incident becomes viral.

It all started when the comedian was fielding lighthearted questions from his Twitter followers about word usage, when someone asked: ‘Is this how you spell Lasonia (pasta)?’

Martin replied: ‘It depends. Are you in an African-American restaurant or at an Italian restaurant?’

Martin’s tweet has been blowing up the news where the social media beat seems to be revolving almost exclusively around racially bent tweets. Now he’s explaining himself, and though it’s sure not to satisfy everybody, it’s overall an explanation that will (hopefully) at least let you go to sleep tonight knowing that Steve Martin is less racist than many people thought.

“I am very upset that a tweet I sent out last week has been interpreted by some to be insulting to African Americans. By now media coverage of the unfortunate tweet has only added to this perception. To those who were offended, again, I offer a deep, sincere, and humble apology without reservation.”

He also explains the terrors of being misquoted: reported on the story and changed the wording of the tweet. They wrote: “It depends if you are in an African American restaurant or an Italian restaurant.” Clearly, this misquote implies that an African American restaurant can’t spell “lasagna” on the menu. And my name was attached to the misquoted tweet. Other websites, including picked up this incorrect version and for the next four days, and more, it continued to spread and I couldn’t get out of hell.

He explains the original thinking behind the joke (he wasn’t making fun of African-American restaurant’s ability to spell, and his love of grammar jokes played a part), and his reaction to the reaction (emphasis ours):

I was going along fine when someone wrote, “How do you spell “lasonia?” I wrote: “It depends if you are in an African American neighborhood or an Italian restaurant.” I knew of the name Lasonia.  I did not make it up, nor do I find it funny. So to me the answer was either Lasonia (with a capital), or Lasagna, depending on what you meant. That they sounded alike in this rare and particular context struck me as funny. That was the joke.

When the tweet went out, I saw some negative comments and immediately deleted the tweet and apologized. I gathered the perception was that I was making fun of African American names.  Later, thinking it over, I realized the tweet was irresponsible, and made a fuller apology on Twitter.

Look, it’s not perfect; few apologies ever are. But here’s the thing: This is a guy who immediately realized the error of this joke and deleted it, following it up with an apology. The joke was also not what a lot of people perceived it to be, and while in a lot of ways perception can still be more important than intention, that’s a little different when the person’s been straight-up misquoted.

He’s not just ragging on the world for a perceived lack of sense of humor, which is an annoying common reaction comedians have to ill-received jokes. He’s not excusing himself, just explaining. He’s acknowledging the underlying issues and expressing regret into how he played into them.

Sounds like a pretty good apology doesn’t it?

What do you think?  Aren’t there more important things to be focused on than what celebrities tweet?