When we’re kids, it seems so simple: we’re taught to say we’re sorry when we’ve done wrong or hurt someone. But — as more and more celebrities are bringing to our attention — how we apologize can have just as much of an impact as the apology itself. The latest example of this comes from Rosie O’Donnell and Priyanka Chopra.
Why did Rosie O’Donnell apologize to Priyanka Chopra?
In a recent TikTok post, comedian and TV personality O’Donnell shared her embarrassment over an interaction that she had with actress and model Priyanka Chopra (who recently dropped the “Jonas” from her social media handles) and her husband, singer Nick Jonas, at Nobu Malibu.
@rosie nick jonas at nobu #sunday ♬ original sound – Rosie ODonnell
According to O’Donnell’s TikTok, she had always assumed that Priyanka Chopra was the daughter of author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra. With this in mind, she said hi to Nick, and then said to Priyanka, “I know your dad.” According to O’Donnell, Chopra said, “You do? Who’s my dad?” To this, O’Donnell responded, “Deepak.”
Chopra then, O’Donnell said, replied, “No, and Chopra is a common name.”
How did Rosie O’Donnell’s apology to Priyanka Chopra fall short?
Forgetting or mixing up names happens, even to famous people. While assuming that two Indian-born celebrities in America are closely related simply because they share a last name is, at best, an eyebrow-raising and likely accidental leap — as Priyanka said, Chopra is a common name — her subsequent apology for said misstep further missed the mark.
O’Donnell continued her TikTok by asking her followers if they too had thought that Deepak and Priyanka Chopra were related, then concluded with an apparent apology, saying, “Nick Jonas, I apologize and to the Chopra wife, I apologize too.”
In making a public apology for making assumptions about one’s name and family, O’Donnell first addressed Chopra’s husband, and then failed to learn Priyanka’s first name — which actually serves to double down on the disrespect via name.
Priyanka Chopra’s response to the lackluster apology: “Google my name”
For her part, Chopra addressed O’Donnell’s apology in an Instagram story on Wednesday, writing: “I have never taken myself so seriously to think everyone would know who I am, or my work for that matter. But if you wanted to make a public apology for a very awkward private encounter, I think probably best to take the time to google my name before doing it or even try to reach out directly.”
Chopra’s statement went on to call out the inherent disrespect that clouded O’Donnell’s attempted apology.
“We ALL deserve to be respected for our unique individuality and not be referred to as ‘someone’ or ‘wife’ especially in a sincere apology. If we can learn to respect our differences in an authentic way, the world we raise our children in, will be amazing,” she said.
Driving the point home, Chopra’s statement concluded with a nudge to the assumptions that may come with assuming all people with a less-western-sounding name are related.
“PS – As I’ve said before, not all Chopra’s [sic] are related to the great Deepak, just as not all Smith’s [sic] are related to the legendary Will Smith,” her statement said.
See also: Sign up for the Slice newsletter.