Jimmie Allen’s Apology is Tone-Deaf and Underhanded

photo: John Shearer

It is an unfortunate development in the modern dialogue that when individuals make mistakes and issue apologies, they’re too commonly thrown back in the face of the issuer, or exploited as weakness by a polarized society more focused on winning arguments as opposed to breeding understanding through life’s inherent conflicts. We’re all human. We all err. And though the seriousness of those errors is also worth taking into account, it’s often how we deal with those errors where the measure of a man should be taken.

But Jimmie Allen’s ill-advised, lacking, and underhanded “apology” deserves great scrutiny here. On May 11th, a civil lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court of Tennessee against Jimmie Allen accusing the 37-year-old of a prolonged period of rape and sexual assault of his day-to-day manager who is currently being referred to as Jane Doe.

Though some immediately become skeptical whenever such charges are brought since the #MeToo movement resulted in some false claims and careers ruined unnecessarily, the specificity and severity of the accusations against Jimmie Allen should make us all at least take pause.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But in Jimmie Allen’s case, there are mounds of corroborating evidence, from text messages, to tour itineraries, to the fact that at one point the alleged victim ended up in an emergency room with vaginal trauma documented, and that the victim alleges that Jimmie Allen photographed and videotaped her to use as blackmail so she wouldn’t speak publicly about the abuse. It was all documented in a detailed article in Variety.

Even if only partially true, no apology will make the grievous accusations against Jimmie Allen go away. And since Jimmie Allen refutes the allegations—though admits the two had a consensual relationship while he was married—it’s understandable why he’s not apologizing for them directly in this moment. But what an apology could do is convey a level of seriousness about the claims in order for Allen to signal that he understands just how grave such claims should be taken.

But that’s not what Jimmie Allen is doing. Conversely, he’s trying to use an apology to his estranged wife who split from him amid the revelations as a sort of diversionary tactic to make it seem like the divorce and infidelity is what the public is most upset about here, while also strangely couching himself as the victim of the industry for stoking his appetites, as opposed to the potential victim being a young girl who went to work for Allen straight out of college, allegedly lost her virginity to him when he drugged and raped her in a hotel room, while Jimmie Allen was shielded from consequences from the power he wielded over her.

Jimmie Allen’s “apology” issued on May 18th reads,

I want to publicly apologize to my wife Alexis for humiliating her with my affair. I’m embarrassed that my choices have brought shame on her. That’s something that she did not deserve at all. I also want to apologize to my children for being a poor example of a man and a father. I’m working on becoming a better person that my kids can be proud of. My goal is to be better than the generation before me.

This business takes so much from you. It’s full of temptations that can cripple you and ruin everything you built. I’m ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough to withstand them. I will no longer be a victim of my weakness. I challenge everyone to seek help when they need it. Do not be afraid of your weakness, surround yourself with people that WILL help you. Be Blessed.

The irony of Jimmie Allen acting like he is a “victim” of anything—self-imposed or otherwise—and that it’s the business of country music that is to blame when it made him one of the many male country stars that has multiple #1 songs despite no real organic appeal in his music, is very rich. And the line about “surround yourself with people that WILL help you,” which implies his his day-to-day manager is the person that allowed him to fall for his temptations, is especially tone-deaf in this situation.

Again, we do not know that Jimmie Allen is guilty at this moment. But this attempt at deflection from the real concern back to the separation from his wife is not something that should fly with anyone. And the fact that so many outlets posted this statement verbatim with little or not scrutiny is somewhat troubling as well.

Shortly before the formal apology, Jimmie Allen also posted on his Instagram story, “We gonna be alright. This too shall pass,” as if these charges are something that will come and go, kind of like the controversy surrounding Morgan Wallen and the ‘N’ word. But it may be years before we know the truth in this matter. And if Jane Doe ends up to be found as the one that’s lying in this instance, the inevitable counter-suit (which at this point, hasn’t materialized) will be as grievous for her as the allegations against Jimmie Allen are now.

Jimmie Allen has been suspended from his label, dropped by his booking agent, manager, and publicist, and has been removed from all major appearances in the wake of the allegations. But none of this is due to the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife. It has to do with the seriousness of the accusations against him from a woman who alleges Jimmie Allen used his position of power to take advantage of her sexually over a prolonged period.

At the least, Jimmie Allen should be apologizing to his wife that he even put himself in a position where such allegations could be raised and be consider legitimate, while communicating how all such allegations should be taken seriously, and adjudicated fairly for the potential exoneration of innocent parties, not attempting to place blame on a “business” that has enriched him beyond measure—and like so many other men in country music similar to Jimmie Allen—foisted him to the front of the line ahead of arguably more deserving individuals.

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