Here's Something Different

Every now and then, stars of stage and screen, the sporting world, and sometimes even politicos, get into trouble. As do average citizens.

The incident itself may be of major or minor importance. The significant element is what happens after someone gets into the public eye. That often tells us more than the incident itself about the people involved.

All too often, people in trouble lash out, publicly, and more often, privately.

Many times they seek to virtually deny the incident. Often they blame others. There’s also the response of an attempt to justify their position.

Yet it is seldom that those in trouble and in the public eye come straight out and admit that they are wrong. That is rare indeed.

Perhaps it’s that no one of us wants to admit to mistakes. Yet in retrospect, all making mistakes should know within themselves that they were wrong. And they should respect that in the long run, honesty and telling the truth are always a better and more reasonable road to choose.

I say all this after hearing of an arrest of a celebrity in Atlanta last week. I was pleased and surprised at the manner that the celebrity addressed the incident.

398px-Reese_Witherspoon_2009 copyThe celebrity involved in the incident in Atlanta was Reese Witherspoon. Now understand, I don’t know Reese Witherspoon from a sack of salt. I vaguely know that she is an actress or songstress, and someone in the public light. I’ve heard of her, but could not specifically tell you what she does.

(The Internet tells that she is 37, was born in New Orleans, became a model at age 7, and attended Stanford University studying English literature. Once in movies, her first big role was in Sweet Home Alabama (2002), and she later played June Carter Cash in the movie, Walk the Line. She has two children, and her present husband is her second.)

Apparently Ms. Witherspoon was in Atlanta last week (and may still be) filming a movie. She and her husband were on Peachtree Road when a policemen pulled over their car, which was being driven erratically. Her husband, a person identified as James Toth, was driving. This happened at 12:40 a.m. on a Friday night.

In the course of checking the sobriety of Mr. Toth, apparently Ms. Witherspoon was disrespectful with the policeman, who issued her several warnings for her to remain in the car and stay out of the policeman’s attention to her husband. When she repeatedly interrupted the officer, Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon was eventually charged with disorderly conduct. Mr. Toth was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

So much for those facts. What happened next got our complete attention.

Afterward Ms. Witherspoon issued a statement, saying: “I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said. It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry for my behavior.”

Wow! Reese Witherspoon had the good sense to admit her mistake up front, recognizing that the policeman was merely doing his job.

You don’t see such statements every day.

I don’t know if Ms. Witherspoon has good sense, or a good lawyer, or what. But I know when we see something different, and a celebrity admitting a public mistake is just that. Hurrah for her!

I’ll follow Reese Witherspoon’s career in a new light.

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Editor's note: This story originally published at the GwinnettForum.com. Image of Reese Witherspoon - Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.