Making proper apologies + problematic stories

Lately, there has been quite a lot of “drama” (I put quotations because I feel like the vast majority of it is called for and the word drama feels patronizing) on the forums and on Instagram and as a result there have been a lot of “apologies” (I put quotations here because almost every apology I’ve seen has been total crap). There is one thing that I feel like is sorely lacking from every single one of these apologies: accountability and reparations.

There are several things that really piss me off about the way these apologies are constructed. Firstly, stop referring to offensive jokes as “mistakes.” A mistake is when I go to the grocery store and forget to buy milk. A mistake is when I accidentally forget to plug my phone into its charger before bed. A mistake is NOT: including r*pe jokes or the N-word in your story, including racist and stereotypical content in your story, demeaning entire cultures with no regard for how accurate your depiction is. Those are all conscious decisions which, regardless of intention, negatively affect other people.

Secondly, language and semantics MATTER. In almost every apology I have seen, manipulative language is used to victimize the responsible party and demonize the affected party. Examples of this include: “I didn’t mean to offend you.” Or, “I’m sorry IF I hurt you.” This is not taking responsibility. This language effectively separates you from your behavior. What are we if not reflections of our beliefs, actions, and words? Reframe your statements to take accountability instead of gaslighting the person(s) calling you out.

Thirdly, age is not an excuse for bigotry and ignorance. If you’re old enough to write for or read on Episode, you’re old enough to understand the basics of racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. No one is asking you to write a dissertation on the predatory nature of financial institutions in predominantly Black communities. With all of the internet at your fingertips, saying you were “young and ignorant” 3 years ago at age 16 is unacceptable. If I could drive at 16, I could definitely know not to use the N-word.

Finally, reparations and action moving forward. All of the authors I’ve seen making apologies for past racist behaviors have issues statements but that’s as far as it goes. There are no calls to action, no activism on their part to further educate others on the things they have supposedly learned, and definitely no donations to appropriate organizations despite being in the payment program. This is especially relevant to authors who have profited directly off of the offensive content they’re being called out for. If you have made money off of your story which features offensive and ignorant content, I think it’s only just that you pay back some of that money to organizations related to your “mistake.”

Feel free to add anything onto this, but this is something I really needed to get off my chest with everything going on both on the forums and on Instagram. I’m definitely welcoming discussion, but many threads of a similar nature have been closed due to forum guideline violations so try to keep a bit of decorum if possible.

Peace, love, justice


God, thank you. One of the drawbacks of having a lot of younger people on the platform (for themselves really) is they so often get manipulated, gaslit, and played with by grown adults who make excuses for themselves and straight up lie.

I don’t approve of technically-an-adult-but-still-young authors lacking accountability for themselves, but I think we do need to let that context affect how we handle things. Reporting, sending in tickets, speaking of stories critically, and withdrawing personal support are all important things that can get lost in the initial outrage.

Also, this isn’t the same situation as what you’re talking about, but it does often go hand-in-hand with these kinds of “apologies”: it does matter if you’re nearing 30 or older and you’re bullying a minor and letting others harass them on your behalf because you somehow think you’re the victim. Age/followers is power and we have to wield our influence responsibility.

If you’re a f*cking adult, act like it.


Something else that seems to accompany these issues: “you have to read the story to know the context.”

Well, I’ve put that to the test. Multiple times. Each time so far, without fail, it’s been met with the much-loved phrase “don’t like don’t read” and/or a block. :woman_shrugging: Because it’s a bluff and an excuse, since most people will not suffer through an entire story just to “get missing context.”

You could write a dissertation on their story or word it as politely as you like and none of it would matter, because as long as you have something critical to say about their work, you’re the enemy.

I’m also sick of the implication that readers have to be soothing and calm in any complaint they make about someone’s work, even when the complaint is about material that is seriously offensive. Why does everyone have to bend over backwards to stroke someone’s overinflated ego just to be heard regarding something that’s hurt a lot of people? It’s insane.


1000% agree. There always seems to be a focus on how criticism affects the author but never about how the offensive content affects their readers :roll_eyes: I don’t have a lot of sympathy for someone who included r*pe jokes in their story and complains about being called out because of how it gives THEM anxiety. No mention of how victims of SA are triggered into full on panic attacks when they read their “innocent jokes”


It’s the classic “intentions are more important than impact” which is straight up false. Not that I really trust most of these authors’ intentions, but it’s possible they think certain things are funny because they’re socially conditioned to find racial stereotyping and rape jokes funny. It doesn’t exuse what they’ve done, but they all make it worse for themselves by not issuing a real apology and doing better.

An apology isn’t “sorry if I offended you.” An apology is “I have learned that I caused harm and I acknowledge I caused harm. Here is the specific way I caused harm and here is my understanding of why that is wrong.” And then they need to correct the issue immediately and do better in the future, which means committing to work that is hard. But who cares if it’s hard? It’s what is necessary.

I think people want absolutes where there aren’t any and grey areas where there aren’t any. Age matters sometimes. Teenagers are absolutely old enough to know not to use racial slurs. And they are old enough to take responsibility for their actions in that regard. Particularly when they, as they’ve gotten older, have continued to cause harm to Black people and other people of color through stereotypes and problematic narratives. Honestly, I don’t really care if these authors feel like they’re being publicly defamed. If you don’t want people to call you out for causing harm, don’t do it in the first place or at least apologise and do better and never try to sweep the harm you’ve caused under the rug.

I’m also seeing some white authors demand labor from Black folks to educate them or not take seriously criticisms from other white folks about how what they’ve done is performative and gross, even though the point of white people educating other white people is to keep Black people from having to do it. Someone who’s nearly 30 and has kids of their own doxing a teenager who was kindly explaining why what they were doing was problematic and sending their followers after the teenager? It’s reprehensible.

And most of the authors are so caught up in their own feelings that it just proves they don’t care at all. If it comes down to your personal feelings as someone with a lot of privilege and the lives / safety / healing of the most marginalised among us, then I. Don’t. Care. About. Your. Feelings. Especially if you’re a grown ass adult. And then they reach out to people who’ve called them out before for the sake of clearing their reputation and act like they’re doing the people they’ve harmed a favor.

There are a lot of scenarios in which people kindly explained what was wrong and they were gaslit, ignored, and mocked in response. We don’t forget that. I don’t believe everyone has to be kind in their explanations, but it really depends on who’s involved and what their privileges are. I am more likely to try to explain in depth to another white person why something is offensive or racist because it’s my responsibility to take on that role in the hopes a person will understand. But for Black folks or other people of color responding to content that harms their respective communities, they don’t owe patience or kindness. The fact that Black creators put so much time and effort into trying to explain how harmful the content was is something those problematic authors should be immensely grateful (and tbh provide compensation) for.

Like, “drama” in the episode community can refer to weird interpersonal falling outs between groups of friends, but even that should never result in bandwagoning people who were trying to do the right thing. But drama is not calling out creators who continue to publish problematic, harmful content or the people who support those creators. Who you support says a lot about where your values lie. I’m not qualified to determine what actions would have been forgiveable if they had been corrected appropriately and responsibility was taken in a timely manner. But all these authors with victim complexes about how we should coddle their egos and tell them that they’re “decent” people deserve to be exposed and deserve to face the wrath of the people they’re harming and should have to face consequences in the community. There are plenty of creators who don’t rely on offensive, bigoted material to create their content so it’s not like it’s impossible.

And for the record, if anyone has to reiterate that they’re a good person or that they’re not doing something for clout or that they aren’t racist / transphobic / etc…well, those things probably aren’t true.


The amount of fake apologies I’ve seen swimming around lately…

Like if I were to get a dollar for every half hearted, back handed apology I’ve seen lately, I could donate a lovely sum to a charity.

Something I’ve noticed a lot is things like “I’m sorry I did this, BUT-” There’s always some sort of conjunction that follows immediately after the apology which honestly negates the whole thing then and there. Either you’re sorry or you’re not. You can say that you were trying to be funny or that you didn’t know better, but that doesn’t erase what you wrote/said. The apology is NEVER supposed to be about you. It’d supposed to be about the person you hurt with an understanding that you’re going to better in the future.

I cannot STAND this. “I’m not racist BUT- proceeds to say something racist

Doesn’t matter what they’re apologizing for, this is immediately what I think of.


Yeah, all of this. “I’m sorry you were offended” and “there are two sides to every story” is not an actual apology. And it kills me whenever it happens, because people are like “why can’t people just let it go! she said she was sorry.” :woman_shrugging:


This bothers me as well. After their apology did they put their words into action? Have they been doing better? Or is it the same old story, just a different day? Don’t forget that some people like to act changed for some time until they think people have forgotten until they slip into old habits again because they think people aren’t watching them as closely anymore.

Also, I’d like to point out that just because you apologize, the person you’re apologizing to does NOT have to accept that apology (once more tying into the apology is not for you but for the person/people you hurt.) If you’ve hurt somebody deep enough and they’re not willing to deal with you again, then that’s valid and they’re within their rights to not accept. Just because you’ve said sorry, it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna be able to forget so easily. Especially if you handled the whole situation poorly before you decided to apologize.


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