Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has publicly apologized after ordering one of his aides to rape a pregnant journalist.
Zhirinovsky said he had “spoken out of turn” when addressing the female reporter at a press conference on Friday, and claimed he did not know that she was pregnant when he began his tirade.
"I apologize to her and to everyone in general that I may have offended," Zhirinovsky said on Vladimir Solovyov’s Sunday evening talk show on the Rossia-1 channel.
I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone that I think this is a particularly terrible apology.
"[E]veryone … that I may have offended" is always a bad way to go because it suggests the offender thinks a fair number of people weren’t or wouldn’t be offended; it’s an especially bad choice of words in this case because everyone who saw or heard about this man’s insane tirade was offended.
Worse, though, was his attempt to minimize his offense, saying only that he’d “spoken out of turn.” In fact, what he said was that one female reporter should be raped, that a second female reporter who refused to stand idly by during the tirade was a lesbian, and that pregnant women in general should remain home where they belong.
That he attempts to excuse himself by claiming “he did not know that she was pregnant when he began his tirade” compounds his repugnant behavior by implying that none of this would have been seen as a problem if he’d said these things to or about a woman who wasn’t pregnant. In other words, he seems to believe that telling his aides to rape a female reporter who asked a question he didn’t like is only offensive if that reporter turns out to be pregnant. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t realize she was pregnant” might be something to say if you fail to offer your seat to a woman on the subway. Given what Zhirinovsky said, whether or not the reporter was pregnant isn’t an issue.
It’s pretty stunning and horrible to have to write any of this, but certainly not more stunning or horrible than Zhirinovsky’s behavior.