I’m Sorry But.

You know those people who will say, in two different sets of inflections, “I’m sorry, but….”?

There’s the “I’m sorry, but…” where in you apologize sarcastically for having a negative opinion, and the “I’m sorry, but…” wherein you apologize half-assedly and then defend yourself in the same breath, thereby negating your apology.

Enter Judith Griggs. Well, she’s reentering. She’s kind of refusing to leave the stage at this point and someone needs to carry her off. (ETA: It appears she’s taken down her website entirely. There is a a Google cache, the text of which is what I’m addressing here.)

First there was the Statement I mentioned when I looked at What All Went Wrong and How The Trainwreck Might Have Been Less Trainwrecky.

Now, there’s a now-removed Statement on the Cooks Source website. With bonus whining! 

Monica Gaudio never gave her a chance. Facebook didn’t return her phone calls. She had a lot of phone and email traffic saying what a shitty thing she’d done and they were MEAN.

I need some cheese to go with all that whine. No, I am not asking for recommendations, thanks. I like smoked cheeses, and I got me plenty of smokin’ right here. You need to huff something to make sense of these sentences:

“I took the site down becuase someone threatened to go to all the distribution spots and destroy the new issue, also to protect my advertisers.”

“Monica I am so sorry for any harm I caused you. I never ment to hurt anyone, and I think I did a nice job for you, but the fact remains that I took this without asking you and that was so very wrong.”

“Honestly, some of you have been pretty mean.”

“If my apology to Monica seemed shallow it was because I was angry about the harm she has inflicted on others on behalf of her own agenda. ”

“To one writer in particular, Monica Gaudio, I wish you had given me a chance.”

Wow, you can lay those statements as stones and use them to cross the Nile, huh?

Here’s what sets of my temper: you know WHY the internet got so pissed off? WHY it was writers among others who were livid that someone’s research and work was taken without permission and printed by someone else for profit? Because intellectual theft happens, and it blows, and sometimes, if it happens to you, there’s very little you can do about it except YELL. Intellectual theft through plagiarism happens to people so often with so little satisfaction that the only weapon that’s useful is loud public hollering about it, especially when the person responsible can’t give a decent apology what with all the condescension.

If Griggs could demonstrate for one small moment that she understand copyright, plagiarism, and ethics, maybe she’d be able to say, “I’m sorry” without any qualifying or contradictory remarks.

Her “I’m sorry but” behavior continues in interviews she’s done as well. She admits to Gazettenet.com’s Dan Crowley that she ran Gaudio’s article without permission, but then professes sympathy for anyone “who has bad publicity.” She then laments that the magazine may not survive and insists she’s “trying to protect her advertisers.”

What utter self-important malarkey. That magazine’s business model was based on ripping off writers who weren’t compensated for their work, or even informed their work was being republished for profit. Theft: not a good business model.

As I said earlier, sometimes, social costs are the ones that can be accrued fast and spent even faster. At this point, with all this “I’m sorry but,” Griggs is overdrawn. When someone who has more than an inch and a half of wrong on the hem of her dress clutches her pearls and insist she’s the victim, it’s exhausting to listen to. In the words of the great ethicist and public relations advisor Ne-Yo, “you know you’re only sorry you got caught.”

In the face of an entire Google Spreadsheet of more than 160 pieces of material lifted verbatim and republished in Cooks Source, Griggs maintains that people were mean and she should be pitied, while continuing to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding as to how plagiarism and copyright work. 

The more Griggs makes this discussion about her hurt feelings and the less about her extreme and blithe violation of copyright and ethics, the less respect I have for her. Not that she was worried about my respect, but my GOSH, woman. Stop talking.

I’m relieved that it appears that she has.


Ranty McRant

Comments are Closed

  1. TheKitten says:

    This topic was the one that brought me to this page, and ONLY for that I’m grateful.
    However, I still think that all the authors that were lifted of their works deserve more than just a half-meant apology. Hopefully some other “lifters” will take notice that the internet is a force to fear (if you have done something you shouldn’t have done..)

  2. Rebecca (one of them) says:

    My other favorite is “I’m sorry if”

    I’m sorry if I hurt you implies
    1.  She couldn’t be expected to know it would hurt and you are just being exceptionally whiny,
    2. but she is giving in and giving an unneccessary apology, because she is so polite.

  3. Lindlee says:

    Seriously, how old is this woman? She sounds like a preteen. Nothing’s her fault and the world is out to get her. OMG And she needs to just stop talking. Most people it would make sense to try and do damage control, but not her. She just makes it worse every time she opens her mouth.

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
    Abraham Lincoln

  4. joanne says:

    Some people get it and some people don’t.

    The ones that don’t can go merrily along – walking over or through anyone that may be in their way – because they don’t see anyone else. It’s all them, all the time.  They don’t understand when it’s brought to their attention that they’ve done something wrong. They don’t get it and most likely never will.

    It’s YOUR fault they feel bad and have to apologize. So YOU should apologize for making them sort-of sorry. Who can have a rational discussion with someone who thinks like that? Bad and sad in one.

    Was it ever discovered whether or not the crazy twitter was actually Griggs?

  5. Lori says:

    Dear Ms Griggs,

    The first rule for getting out of a hole is: Stop Digging! I’m telling you this because apparently no one else has and someone obviously needs to.

    No need to thank me, just spread the word.


  6. Hezabelle says:

    The huge pro to come out of this situation is that we’ve realized how powerful the internet community can be. And how that power can be used for good, to stand behind someone who has been severely wronged.

  7. NatashaB says:

    Wow she really is as bold as brass

  8. Jennifer Armintrout says:

    Okay, someone needs to look up the definition of the word victim here.  Because Judith Griggs was not the victim in this situation, even if she seems to firmly believe she was.  And please, her apology was only shallow because of Monica’s agenda pushing?  I didn’t realize that not wanting your work plagiarized was the same thing as being a Machiavellian spin doctor who turns innocent plagiarizers into a publicity opportunity.  Poor, poor Judith Griggs, whose crime was exploited by the victim.  I will weep big, fat tears for you.

  9. Alpha Lyra says:

    That phrase “I’m sorry, but…” is the phrase I hate most in the world because it’s pretending to be polite when it’s actually condescending. Every time I hear it, my back goes up and I classify the person saying it as an a-hole (sometimes wrongly; I think some people who use this phrase don’t realize how rude it is).

  10. Mireya says:

    I am sure that the only reason why she has stopped talking is because she has been forced to seek legal advice, and her attorney likely told her to STFU.  It certainly hasn’t been because she understands anything.  Ilk like her will never understand anything that they DON’T WANT to understand.

  11. Anony Miss says:

    At the risk of getting scalped…

    I feel badly for her. She is guilty, she was wrong, she’s not improving the situation by telling us all why she made bad choices – but I am also sympathetic that in this internet age, a mistake (YES a horrible one, but a mistake nonetheless) has now basically ruined her life.

    Her perspective is she was doing something wrong but that people ‘do’ and get away with. Sorta like going 100 MPH in a 55.

    But she hit someone.

    Yes, she’s guilty. But she never meant to be a bad person, she just did something that bad people do.

    Do you know what I mean? So I have some sympathy for her, that her professional life under this name is now ruined, that she’s getting hate mail from people and so on.

    I will now crawl back under a rock before you can smite me with your martini glasses.

  12. Cheryl Pangolin says:

    No smiting, but disagreement for sure, Anony Miss!

    To further your example, after hitting someone at 100 mph Judith first claimed that it’s okay to hit people, it’s done all the time because roads are dangerous and anybody walking along the road knows the risk they are taking. 

    After people took umbrage with this non-apology, Judith then whined about people being mean to her, and to the mechanics who were fixing her car (when in fact people were just letting the mechanics know they were working on the car of an unrepentant committer of vehicle manslaughter and maybe they might not want to work for her).  And oh by the way I am sorry if the person I hit feels they were injured by my actions and we’ve made the meager reparations her family asked for (the ones we laughed at when first presented with).

    After this failed to get people to stop being mean to her, Judith explained how horribly over worked she was, which lead to her making this teensy mistake of ignoring the speed limit and really she was going to check on the limit and make sure she was following it, but she was so tired from being overworked that she forgot.  Also, it was so unfair how no one even gave her a chance to apologize in the first place before being mean to her (you know, back when Monica’s family first asked for reparations and she laughed, yeah she’s forgetting that).

    See how that’s one excue after another, with no real responsibility taken for her actions?  That is why everyone is still upset with her and not cutting her any slack for having made a mistake.

  13. Liz says:

    Anony Miss:  This was not a one time “mistake.”  There’s a Google spreadsheet referenced above that shows 140 other times she’s stolen from others.  Continuing the analogy Cheryl started, that means she’s a driver who’d already hit 139 other people with her car before she “hit” Monica, and now she’s only sort of not actually at all apologising for that, while blaming everyone but herself and ignoring the other people she’d hit in the past.  She had at least 139 other chances to quit driving at one hundred miles an hour through pedestrian heavy zones before this one.

    She does not get what she did wrong, and the only reason she’s apologising now is because it blew up in her face (and she’s only apologising for the one time she got caught).

  14. Anne says:

    But is one of the most dangerous words in the English language.  Put “but” in mid-sentence and you negate everything before it.

    Therefore, “I’m sorry but…” means “I’m not sorry.”

    alone84:  Griggs will be very much alone until she is 84

  15. Anony Miss says:

    Alright! Alright! Point taken! Thanks for furthering my metaphor (I think I didn’t keep going with it because “I really sympathize with manslaughter-ers” wasn’t what I meant either… :)).

    So I shall rephrase:

    I feel badly for anyone in the world who is denied a fair chance of repentance because of the internet. Religiously, I believe that anyone can repent of their sins and God can forgive them as if the sin was never committed. And while I realize that our legal system cannot support that (and shouldn’t, because while God can know if someone REALLY repented, our courts cannot), I feel badly that no matter what this woman does in the future, amends she tries to make or reparations or even if she becomes a born again Zoroastrian, I don’t know – that she will never be able to escape her bad name and reputation.

    (Which, BTW, is a common trope in the romance novel, that “move away to start anew.” Because of the internet, there’s no “away” anymore.)

    Of course, if she isn’t repentant and continues to behave badly, lock her up. 🙂

  16. Cathy in AK says:

    I’m sorry, but…

    Oh.  Well then, all is forgiven, but not really.

  17. Kimberly R. says:

    Anony, I see where you’re coming from and I would agree with you but…(that word really is a bitch, isn’t it?) not only did she make a mistake, not only did she continue to make mistakes, but she would probably still be making those same mistakes if someone hadn’t shut her up. If any of her “apologies” had ever sounded sincere, I would feel bad for her. If at any point in time, she had actually admitted wrong-doing without adding a disclaimer (not the word I want but I can’t think of the correct one), then I would feel bad for her. She hasn’t. I can’t know whats in her heart-I leave that to God to sort out. All we can judge her for are her public crimes and her obvious lack of remorse. And if she comes out with a truly sincere-sounding apology ever, I’m sure some people will forgive and forget (if not let their guards down.) But until then, I truly think she deserves all her bad press. Until she can see and admit that what she did was ethically and legally wrong, she deserves to have a bad name. I’m kinda glad she can’t move away and start anew, because then she could just start the whole cycle all over again. (Again, she might be truly sorry and I don’t know it. But based on her actions, I don’t think she is.) Its just easier to forgive someone if you know that they know they are wrong and they won’t do it again.

    p.s. Please don’t think any of us are ganging up on you. You sound like a truly compassionate person and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  18. KTT says:

    Have y’all seen the Hitler parody?

  19. Cheryl Pangolin says:

    I’d feel badly that she can’t move away from her reputation if she actually was repentant, rather than simply feeling abused for having fairly earned such a reputation.

    I do believe in repentence and forgiveness—but only when people sincerely ask for it.  She’s asking for forgiveness without repenting.

  20. Jennifer says:

    What a wanker.

    That is all.

  21. teshara says:

    at this point I just think she’s mentally unbalanced

  22. LG says:

    Anony, I sort of share your sympathy, but it’s tempered for the reasons Kimberly R. cites: never once did she make what sounded like a sincere apology. My sympathy tends to be due more to a feeling that, even if she had made a sincere apology, it would not have been enough to stop the freight train that is the Internet Masses.

  23. meoskop says:

    Really, how can one not just eternally boggle at ‘I did not notice the copyright’

    That’s not like, “Oh hey, I didn’t see you standing there” that’s like, “Ok, so I broke into your house and crawled into your bed, but how was I supposed to know I couldn’t just use it whenever?”

  24. Laura says:

    Griggs is 49 according to the ever reliable Wikipedia 🙂  Apparently the magazine staff consists of Griggs and her daughter.  If you want extra chutzpah on Griggs’ part, she has been including copyright notices on the emails she has sent to Monica Gaudio, so that they can’t be reprinted on MG’s website, or forwarded to interested journalists. 


  25. Tullae says:

    “Theft : not a good business model”  should be a t-shirt or a bumper sticker.

  26. Scribblerkat says:

    Propinquity has struck – this brouhaha is the third time in the last week (the other two were at work) where a big fuss got kicked up that could have been averted by a simple sincere short apology.

    How much Internet traffic would this have created if Griggs had just said, “I am sorry. I made a mistake – I had some conceptions about the Internet and public domain that are obviously wrong. I don’t have the $130 you asked for, because we’re a small company, so I hope that you will accept this apology instead.”

    Both messes at work were caused by people who seem unable to pronounce the two words “I’m sorry” and instead struggled to justify their actions, and ended up aggravating people and digging deeper into their holes. (Stop digging, folks!)

    Now that I think of it, how many romance movies have I seen, or novels have I read, where the entire plot would be blown out of the water if one of the MCs said a few simple, honest words? In books and movies, that’s kinda fun. But in real life? Jeez, Griggsies, check your egos at the door and your life will be easier!

  27. DreadPirateRachel says:

    Here’s a lovely parody of her final words: http://www.boston.com/ae/media/articles/2010/11/08/famous_last_words/

  28. Alexis Harrington says:

    “To one writer in particular, Monica Gaudio, I wish you had given me a chance.”

    Uh, a chance to do what? Steal your entire body of work before I got caught?

    The whole piracy/plagerism/etc. thing has gotten so bad that I’ll bet going after the thieves (and that’s what they are—pirates sounds too Johnny Depp) could be turned into a cottage industry. But then that’s like hiring goons to go after unpaid mob loans.

    I’ve had a couple of people admit to me without a twinge of self-consciousness that they download movies “for free” from the internet, and it’s obvious that they feel so clever. When I point out that it’s just plain stealing, not like redeeming a coupon, they’re utterly baffled. Until I point out that it’s happening to me. Then a 4-watt bulb seems to come on. Or at least they pretend to get it.

    A pox on all their computers.

  29. starsd says:

    “I’m sorry but” (not really) is probably one of the top 5 non-apologies #1 being “I’m sorry that you took offense/feel that way”.
    ‘I’m sorry but’ is like “I’m not racist but” which always means the speaker is racist.

  30. Laurel says:

    @ Anony: I feel your pain. Srsly. I felt sorry for Jim Bakker when he was on trial and had an apparent breakdown that resulted in his crawling under the defendent’s desk at trial, crying that the bad animals were trying to get him. That man stole from little old ladies who thought God wanted them to give him their money. And I felt sorry for him. I’m kind of a loser that way.

    But this Griggs character. Nope. That first email that she sent that was all: “Yeah, I ripped off your work and you should be grateful and PAY ME What are you crazy you want an apology and a donation to a school of journalism? You are so friggin lucky that I deigned to steal your work.”

    From the get-go she was SO offensive, so condescending, so clearly trying to intimidate someone she thought didn’t count that she has overridden my excessively responsive sympathy button. At every turn she has come out swinging in either a direct or passive aggressive manner. She is NOT sorry. She would do it again if she thought she could. She’s just mad that she got busted and so many people see it for what it is.

  31. Deb says:

    I’ve got 2 points and will wait for the stoning.

    1: Where was all the energy, civic responsibility during our last election? Our voter turn out was less than 50%. I find it sad when voices are raised for injustice on the Internet, but our energy & interest is negligible when it really matters.

    2. I wonder if every single person who vilified this women (rightly so) has ever pirated any copy of anything. If “you’ve” copied just one piece, whether it is an image of someone, something from a website without permission, or freely downloaded a video, book, music, etc. from a P2P network, you are just as guilty of copyright infringement. It doesn’t matter whether money is involved.

  32. Brooks*belle says:

    Judith D. Griggs should get the first annual Mark Sanford Please-shut-up-you’re-making-it-worse-now award.

    And all her half-arsed apologies and refudiations (yeah—I just had to go there) she’s merely insured that no one in the world of writing or journalism will ever hire her. 

    Oh well, she could always run for office somewhere, lots of defensive, gaffe-a-day types do that and succeed at an alarming rate.

  33. Mary G says:

    What Laurel said:
    But this Griggs character. Nope. That first email that she sent that was all: “Yeah, I ripped off your work and you should be grateful and PAY ME What are you crazy you want an apology and a donation to a school of journalism? You are so friggin lucky that I deigned to steal your work.”

    That’s where she lost me.

    Same as in Canada – low voter turnout. Maybe because we believe in this issue more than any politicians that were running. Easy to vote from home with your PC.

    Can’t get into your good second point. It’s too involved & I don’t want a debate to take away from this post.

  34. Gemma says:


    Downloading an MP3 from the Internet isn’t saying to the world “I wrote this song and I deserve credit”. It’s a very different sort of copyright infringement, a different sort of theft, and there are different ethical and moral issues involved.

  35. Sherri says:

    @ Deb, There’s so much more to this than simple copyright infringement.  It’s one thing to pirate something for personal use, it’s another to pirate something and then sell it for profit, and it’s yet another to pirate something, edit it, sell it for profit and then demand to be paid for your time & effort when the owner of the something calls you out.

    Judith Griggs is guilty of just that – stealing, profiting from the theft, and stating she should be paid for said theft because she put her time & effort into editing.

    That’s what has people so incensed, not the initial copyright infringement.  Add onto to that her attitude, proof that this wasn’t an isolated incident, and her complete and utter lack of remorse.

    Had she gone with an apology similar to the one written above by Scribblerkat her “bad” wouldn’t have even made a blip on the radar.  She earned the wrath of the internets.

  36. Gary says:

    This issue needs T&A.

    I am a butt

    areas56 – 5 more surreal…

  37. Gary says:

    Oops! That should have been
    I am A sorry butT…

    Forgot the sorry (so did she.)

  38. Protecting her advertisers? They aren’t the ones who stole other people’s work. Covering her own a$$ is more like it.

  39. Bibliophile says:

    Shit like this is one of the reasons why I have all but stopped writing copyrightable text to go with the recipes on my food blog. It hurts to find that someone has lifted your text and posted it elsewhere, diverting traffic from the original, and even more to discover it attributed to someone else.

    Bravo for exposing her, and booo! on her for not admitting her wrongs wholeheartedly.

  40. Deb says:

    I don’t debate that Ms. Griggs brought the boatload of wrath upon herself, nor that she doesn’t deserve punishment. She was wrong in her conducting her business based on copyright infringement. She certainly compounded that with her approach in handling the anger, etc. No question.

    I simply think justification of personal use doesn’t absolve anyone of the crime. Not being a lawyer, I don’t know how the courts view this, but I do know how the creative body does when their material is used without permission/attribution. No One likes it. It’s a violation regardless of how the material is used. And to cast a stone if you have used someone else’s work for personal or business use is a little disingenuous to me.

    I brought up voter turnout as the US senate judiciary committee is supporting the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The far reaching effects of this bill are affected by political views/clout. We all will be affected by this. Absentee ballot allows you to vote from the comfort of your home. Yes, I’m still angry over the election returns.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.

↑ Back to Top