Today I woke up to another social media take-down: Britt McHenry suspended over her videoed tirade.  Her car was towed, she was pissed, and took out her rage at the clerk who seemed to handle the who thing incredibly well.


I can understand the impulse verbally vomit all over the messenger.  No-one likes to have their car towed and I am guessing the clerk wasn't particularly sympathetic to Ms. McHenry's predicament.  Of course, that's no excuse for saying vile things to another human being.

What upset me was Britt McHenry's Twitter apology: 

"In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake. "

Twitter's 140 character limit is a perfect size for a sincere apology: it doesn't take much, own your mistake, express regret, offer to make amends, and maybe share what you learned. Ms. Henry's 300+ tweet, on the other hand, strikes me as the opposite of a sincere apology.

She starts with setting the scene: it was an intense and stressful moment (over which she had no control and certainly didn't cause).  Then her emotions (separate from her actual self) kidnapped her mouth and said some "things" which were insulting and regrettable.  Where is that clerk in her apology?  She didn't just curse our loud, she verbally attacked another person, but I don't see a trace of that acknowledgement.

Instead I see that Britt McHenry want's to take the "high road."  What is she talking about? Did the clerk insult her first, leaving her with existential choice?

Here is my recommended tweet for Britt:

"I was horrified to see myself abuse person who didn't deserve it.  I am sorry for my vile words, hope to learn from this & make amends." Assuming she means it...

Alex Yaroslavsky is a mediator, arbitrator and trainer with over 15 years of conflict resolution experience. Email him at