When John Mayer dropped the “N word” in a interview with Playboy, it seemed his reputation hit rock bottom. But then he tried to apologize, and managed to drill it down a little deeper.

Through MediaCurves.com, HCD Research conducted studies in which Americans ranked the sincerity of celebrity apologies in 2009. John Mayer ranked the lowest among Chris Brown, David Letterman (times two), Governor Mark Sanford and Jaimee Grubbs.

Most people (88 percent) found Mayer’s use of the “N word” inappropriate, and after viewing his apology, 32 percent said they were less likely to listen to his music.

HCD also measured overall perception of sincerity in these celebrities. Here’s how they were rated:

“The scores … indicate the percent change in celebrities’ sincerity scores based on a scale of 1-7 before and after respondents viewed the apologies. Higher scores indicate higher levels of perceived sincerity. Positive scores indicate an increase in perceived sincerity and negative scores indicate a decrease in perceived sincerity.”

Mayer came in dead-last with a -13.6. Chris Brown did surprisingly well with a 17.2. David Letterman’s sex scandal confession earned him a 4.3, while the apology for his Palin joke got a -2.3. Governor Mark Sanford’s affair apology got a 3.2, and when Jaimee Grubbs apologized to Tiger Woods’ wife, she scored a -5.9.

What about Kanye’s awkward apologies to Taylor Swift? Too uncomfortable to judge, I guess.

About The Author

Ashley Dean is a Blast staff writer

19 Responses

  1. anon

    One caveat regarding the above results. Having studied statistics and carried out research using psychometrics, its glaringly obvious to me that the timing of this study could potentially be a massive confounding variable and may affect the validity of the results. The survey must have been carried out amidst the Mayer controversy when people’s opinions of his actions were very strong and when they were less likely to be ‘forgiving’ towards him. In contrast, people’s feelings and opinions on the other celebrity scandals would have abated in time. Not justifying Mayer’s actions but a pinch of salt is definitely required when interpreting such results.

    • Andrew

      This is sooooooo true, it is soooo fresh when some one else do something or the stings is not as prevelant then it won’t be as high. You are really smart and I really appreciate the comment and your verbiage!

  2. desiree

    I think it was innapropriate and i wont listen to his music anymore he wouldnt like it if ppl called him names

    • Sharon

      If you had read the article, you would know that he didn’t call anyone a name, except his penis. Also, if you kept up with Twitter, you would know that he has been called a lot of names lately.

  3. tdj

    Speaking as a black woman, I wouldn’t want him anyway. He’s not attractive and I never listened to any of his music. Maybe what he needs is a STONG BLACK WOMAN to tighnten his lip. John Mayer-LOSER!!!!!!!!!

  4. joe

    you have got to be kidding me right. strong black woman my ass,stick with bossing around the weak black men in your life … please i for one am tired of all this bull, blacks seem to say anything they want and noone makes them pay, although most of the time they cant speak properly anyways..

    • eliza

      No Joe, I do not think tdj is kidding, but I’m thinking you might be. Would it kill you to run a spell check before you post? If you can’t spell properly than I deduce you have issues with speech with as well? Hence, the suggestion of using spell check.

      Tsk tsk- probably a John Mayer fan, or of something else horribly commercial. Whatever you are in to, it is causing serious distraction from learning basic grammar. Typical.

      I’m sorry, WHO is “noone” exactly??

  5. stephanie

    the ignorance of people in this country never seems to surprise me. The above comment by Joe is crazy. Whether you are a strong white or strong black woman, you should be offended. I think that John just got a little to comfortable and words just slipped out. It happens, but now take responsibility and move on.



  7. Andrew

    It is soooooo funny to me that people read the exerpts of the interview from Playboy, and not read the whole interview from which it was derived, which was carefully constructed and published and served to us to hate or change our opinion of a guy for absolutely no reason. It is a very thought provoking interview and the wisdom from this man gave me a greater appreciation for him. When he used the n-word it was used to attack the sacarasm of the term ‘hood pass’ in saying that he appreciates how black people rises from their (our) struggle to make the best of what we have. I am a fan now more than ever…and his metaphor to his sexual perference in women is something we all know or have an idea of. And a metaphor compares 2 unlike things (him and white supremacy) using like or as. He doesn’t like having sex with dark women is it any different from a person not liking to have sex with a skinny woman or a fat woman, no it isn’t it is his perference who cares!

    Do yourself a favor take an hour out of your life to find and read the whole interview with context and make a better judgment of this brilliant artist…and by the way I am a black dude too!

  8. Auntlulu

    None of us should be using racial slurs – we’re all supposed to be the same, right? But if we’re all the same, why are there african americans, hispanic americans, asian americans, etc. etc.? Why aren’t we all just Americans? Why is it that the term ‘racist’ is used to label white people and that’s okay -if I say that I think it’s wrong that there is a Miss Black America pageant that is only open to black (oh, wait, african american) – women, I am called a racist. But I’m not the one excluding someone from participating based on skin color, which is the very definition of racism. Can’t we all just drop all this skin color BS and get on with it? It’s like having to listen to one of your friends whining about the same old crap that happened to her twenty years ago all the time, you just get sick of hearing about it. Yes, slavery was horrible and wrong. Yes, discrimination was horrible and wrong. But that was a long time ago and this country has come a long way – quit harping about it and lets just all get on with our lives! Yes, there are now and always will be some people who are racist. Just like there have always been and always will be criminals, crooked politicians, and taxes. What do you think ‘diversity’ means?One slipped ‘N’ word does not a racist make! I don’t even know who John Mayer is, but if the world is going to buy or not buy his music based one one stupid comment, then the media has waaaaay too much power!

    • Buddy


      There are millions of Black–and other non white Americans that HATE these labels even MORE than you do.I am a Black Man that will not ALLOW ANYONE to call me “African American”.I “AM” an American or I “AM” nothing else.And I also HATE so called African American history month.”SINCE” we are going to have a history month –why not American history month and dedicate FIVE days of February to EACK of the five color groups that are ALL in America.You MAY be surprised but many Black people do not care for Jesse Jackson—Maxine Waters Carol Mosley Braun and even much less for Sharpton.insofar as the “slip” it was not a slip but it does point out what happens when ANYONE make a habit of using such terms.I do NOT.This was to involved to be a slip.He made similar comments about Black Women and the Black community.Dom Imus made a slip but the same media you criticize and justifiably so–did NOT give mainstream Black people just and due credit for NOT wanting him fired.The media NEVER gives us credit for wanting to help and do right.They “ALWAYS” take their cameras and mikes down in the Ghetto to “interview” Black Street trash about the other 63 million of us that do just that.”THEY” mislead White America more than anyone does about Black Americans.You take care.Be blessed.

  9. Buddy

    Call it “RACISM” all you please but HATE by any other glossed over name is still HATE.Hate has already caught up with America and it’s just a matter of time before it destroys us “ALL” .Of all of the many billions of people that are really our enemies (“ALL except Israel) the world over.We still have fools among us that are so blinded by hate that they cannot SEE who the REAL enemies America has.Mayer has inflicted great harm upon the music industry as it’s almost unheard of for Musicians to OPENLY use that kind of language that the NONINTELLECTUAL segment of our society does.Many fans and non music fans are GOING to be suspicious now as who is the TRUE and the FALSE.By the way–BB King taught Mayer how to make the unique sound of a guitar that is BB Kings ALONE.Mayer is the perfect example of “WHY” the derogatory term “Poor White Trash” is null and void becase being poor does NOT make one trash and White people do NOT have a monopoly on trash.Mayer is “RICH TRASH” as so many rich people ARE irrespective of WHAT color they are.

  10. TrgdyAnn

    Here is a little note one of John Mayers fans sent me!
    JoshluvsApril : @TrgdyAnn Mayer don’t owe u fucking niggers anything. U will always be inferior lol about 7 hours ago

  11. katie

    It’s tough when someone just needs to apologize for being who they are. What do you do with that?

    My favorite quote re: this interview so far was from this article:http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/article.cfm?aid=16806

    “I always kind of knew from John Mayer’s music that he was a terrible human being.”

    John Tantillo did a post on his marketing blog which doesn’t defend Mayer…but says that brandwise… this isn’t really a negative for him. http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2010/02/16/john-tantillos-brand-winner-and-loser-john-mayer-and-dick-cheney.aspx

    Some people who like his music may feel compelled to say they won’t listen to it anymore now. But we already knew the guy was a prick. His fans either like his tool-ish self, or they just like his music enough that they don’t care.

  12. Shelley

    I thank God that he doesn’t see color. I believe if He did, we would all be in trouble. I say God bless each and everyone of you, especially for those who feel they have to stand on everyone else’s shoulders to elevate their own low self esteem. Who feel that they must say derrogatory remarks about anyone who is not like themselves. It is the uneducated, hateful and immoral people who salute other people who speak like the John Mayers in our world. Guess what we are all in the same boat baby, so we might as well decide to make the best of it. There’s only one earth, and the only way you can leave is by death. If you can’t get along with the people around you, you might as well be dead. It’s so much easier to love than to hate. God is love. You are created in His image, so like Him we should be. God bless, and I mean it. I am of african descent, and I live in America.


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