‘Psychic’ Issues Classic Notpology for Husband’s Actions

I wrote last week about fake British “psychic” Sally Morgan’s husband threatening a skeptic who handed out fliers at her shows encouraging people to think critically about what they’re doing to see. Morgan has now issued a classic notpology for her husband’s actions:

Sally Morgan Enterprises would like to apologise for any offence caused by the material. Since April 2014, Mark Tilbrook has targeted Sally Morgan’s live performances; handing out leaflets to audience members. On several occasions theatre staff have had to call the police in order to get him removed.

Given the abuse Sally has endured over the past three years, which have included severe death threats and incidences of stalking; Sally was left fearing for her own safety once again.

No, that’s now how it works. You apologize for actions, not for “any offense caused” by those actions. And when you then go on to explain why it’s all perfectly understandable that he would threaten someone with violence, you’ve got from a notpology to a justification. And why would you fear for your safety? Wouldn’t you “spirit guides” warn you of any trouble that might be coming? I mean, you’re a fucking psychic, right?

And why hasn’t John Morgan been arrested? He threatened Mark Tilbrook repeatedly and it’s on video. Among other things:

“I am gonna knock you out one day, because you are a nuisance…One day, you’re gonna be lifted, and you’ll disappear somewhere…But you’re a prat, and I’m losing my temper because I’m gonna knock you out sooner or later. So fuck off before I do you.”

And then he throws in a little pointless gay bashing too:

You know, you look pale. Are you on drugs or has someone shagged you too much? One of your boyfriends been up your arse? … They’re all gay. They’re all gay.”

Here’s the video:

httpv://youtu.be/sCdvA7Lu1jM

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  • John Pieret

    It’s not even clear what she is apologizing for: “this material”? Is it Mark Tilbrook’s material? It seems to suggest that later when she says:

    Sally was not aware of the comments made in this video. She is very upset by the events, does not condone any of the behaviour and can only assume that this was the cause of persistent hounding that lead to this altercation.

    What’s that “this” that “was the cause of persistent hounding that lead to this altercation,” except Tilbrook’s pamphlet?

    As to her refusal to condone the behaviour, that could apply equally to Tilbrook’s as much as her husband’s. And a refusal to condone, of course, is not an apology.

  • Larry

    How does a severe death threat differ from your standard, everyday, run-of-the-mill, death threat?

  • moarscienceplz

    The police have removed him? For offering flyers to people in front of a theater? If that’s illegal, half of Edinburgh should be arrested during the Fringe Festival.

  • typecaster

    @2 – Larry: The threaten to use a Morganti weapon.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Every member of the audience could read that flyer carefully; declare they fully understand its message, and then go into the theater and believe every word the psychic says.

  • =8)-DX

    Being heterosexual and as an adult, a bit homophilic myself, I’ve never really been touched by accusations of homosexuality – when someone asks if I’m gay, I say “I’m not”, when they say I’m gay, I say “what’s wrong with that, do you find me attractive or something?”. I’ve always felt, that getting to the crux of the matter, which is “calling me gay and saying I have anal sex is not an insult”, turns these people’s insults upside-down.

    But then I’m not directly influenced by these insults – I expect LGBTQ people react more strongly to this kind of abuse and feel directly insulted, instead of being able to extract themselves from the slurs. Repeating “why do you think I’m gay” sounded like a defence mechanism – the whole thing must have been horrible experience. I hope my approach: calling out homophobic slurs when I hear or read them is positive, but I’m ready to defer my approach to the opinions of actual members of the LGBTQ community.

  • lofgren

    To be fair, it’s not really her job to apologize for her husband’s actions, especially if she does not condone them to begin with.

  • Michael Heath

    Lofgren writes:

    To be fair, it’s not really her job to apologize for her husband’s actions, especially if she does not condone them to begin with.

    Ed’s blog post is perfectly fair. The wife chose to issue a notpology, which is what Ed criticized. The question regarding the ethical obligation of the wife apologizing for her husband’s behavior is completely irrelevant to Ed’s criticism here.

  • kantalope

    The token skeptic podcast covers this as well as just being an all around great podcast http://tokenskeptic.org/

    The husband acts as manager or sometitle for psychic lady so his behavior is relevant.

  • lofgren

    Given that, as Ed points out, one should apologize for actions and not feelings, and these were not her actions, and therefore she has neither the obligation nor the ability to apologize for them, I do not think she is deserving of criticism for failing to peoperly apologize for something that she cannot apologize for.

    I’m sorry for lots of hurt feelings that resulted fromnacrions that I did not take. I am not sorry for the actions because I did not take them.

    Usually the issuer of a so-called notpology is the subject of criticism for failing to take responsibility for their actions. Here there are no actions for this issuer to take responsibility for, though she does disavow actions taken her name by somene she presumably loves. That can’t have been easy.

  • Michael Heath

    Lofgren digs his hole even deeper:

    , I do not think she is deserving of criticism for failing to peoperly apologize for something that she cannot apologize for.

    Demonstrably wrong, as shown in the following. I’ll quote the first paragraph of her notpology and then follow with a continuation of that same apology as an example of an authentic apology. A credible apology:

    Sally Morgan Enterprises would like to apologise for any offence caused by the material. Since April 2014, Mark Tilbrook has targeted Sally Morgan’s live performances; handing out leaflets to audience members. On several occasions theatre staff have had to call the police in order to get him removed.

    Removing Mr. Tillbrook from the premises was wrong. Mr. Tillbrook was encouraging people to use critical thinking skills to test the validity of assertions made in my show. We should applaud such efforts encouraging people to think skeptically rather than passively submit to woo. We should not squelch them by forcible removal if these advocates are not being disruptive nor should we threaten violence against them.

    So Sally Morgan Enterprises has since changed its policies. Me, my staff, and those we contract out will now be required to tolerate the non-disruptive speech of others. Even if we don’t agree with them.

    Lastly, I find it reprehensible that my husband threatened others with violence. I’ve now adopted a zero-tolerance policy for such unseemly behavior. My husband is no longer an employee of this organization nor will he participate events sponsored by Sally Morgan Enterprises.

  • http://www.aquaticape.org anthrosciguy

    That’s not a notpology of any kind, much less a classic. A notpology would pretend to be sorry for any offense caused by her husband, or something of that sort. This was simply excusing the actions of her husband by saying they were necessary.

    Gotta keep your categories straight, Ed. :)

  • sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    To be fair, it’s not really her job to apologize for her husband’s actions, especially if she does not condone them to begin with.

    …but as a psychic she should have foreseen them to begin with and prevented them or issued the apology in advance.

  • Michael Heath

    anthrosciguy writes:

    That’s not a notpology of any kind, much less a classic. A notpology would pretend to be sorry for any offense caused by her husband, or something of that sort. This was simply excusing the actions of her husband by saying they were necessary.

    Sally Morgan Enterprises published a statement. Here’s the webpage wtih the statement. The lede from that statement is:

    Sally Morgan Enterprises would like to apologise for any offence caused by the material.

  • lofgren

    Meh. That looks like a whole lot more than an apology to me. If you’re upset about a failure of action on her part, say that instead of co.plaining about her apology. I don’t really feel like this is an abject failure yet, especially if it’s true that she has been receiving threats of violence herself which would naturally heighten her husband’s defensiveness. Hopefully if she truly does not condone her husband’s actions, we’ll see action on her part in the form of a change in policy. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

    I dunno. I just try to see these things from the other person’s perspective too. It’s easy to condemn her and write a “demonstrably credible” apology when you don’t have a relationship with somebody involved, you don’t habe to worry about familial or organizational politics, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re being unduly swayed by outside influences whonreally just want to push you out of business anyway (I mean really, what possible incentive would she have for satisfying the skeptical community, who would gladly destroy her livelihood anyway). It’s a lot harder to navigate the maelstrom from inside it than from a comfortable distance. I just can’t bring myself to get all pissy about something that is just a person acting like a normal person.

  • freehand

    (I mean really, what possible incentive would she have for satisfying the skeptical community, who would gladly destroy her livelihood anyway).

    .

    I agree in that I wouldn’t expect her to be motivated to apologize. But if she is pretending to, then she can’t use an immoral livelihood to justify uncivil behavior.

  • http://www.aquaticape.org anthrosciguy

    Yes, Michael, I read the statement. It was not an apology or a notpology for her husband’s actions.

  • eric

    Lofgren:

    Given that, as Ed points out, one should apologize for actions and not feelings, and these were not her actions, and therefore she has neither the obligation nor the ability to apologize for them, I do not think she is deserving of criticism for failing to peoperly apologize for something that she cannot apologize for.

    Sure, staying silent was an option. But the moment her organization chose not to do that, we can certainly assess and criticize what action they choose to take.

    A simple example: Let’s say you (Lofgren) say something really nasty about Michael Heath, and he wants an apology. I step in and say “Lofgren is sorry for any offense caused by his words…” Would Michael be right to now tell me that my notpology is crap? Well, yes. Let’s think about this:

    Option 1: If I didn’t talk to Lofgren about it before issuing it, Michael is fully justified in criticizing me for speaking for someone without their consent or agreement. Such an apology is worthless.

    Option 2: OTOH if I did talk to Lofgren before issuing it, my notpology can be derided as crap as per a normal notpology. If it’s me speaking for you, then such an apology is worthless beacuse in that case it’s still a notopology. Either way, its crap. If you’re speaking with the “insulter’s” approval, issue a real apology. If you’re not, don’t issue one at all; it’s not your place to do so.