“Today” correspondent Jenna Bush Hager apologized on the morning show Monday for conflating the names of two African-American-oriented movies Sunday on the Golden Globes red carpet. She referred to “Hidden Figures” as “Hidden Fences” while interviewing Pharrell Williams, who composed the “Hidden Figures” score.
“I had an error in the night, which I have to apologize for,” Bush Hager, 35, daughter of President George W. Bush and granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush, told co-anchors Al Roker and Natalie Morales. Noting she had never done a red carpet before, Bush Hager assured that she had seen both movies. “I thought they were both brilliant,” she said. “I’ve interviewed casts from both of the movies. And if I offended people, I am deeply sorry. It was a mistake, because I am . . . not perfect. I am authentic but a human. And what I didn’t want to do is make anybody feel lesser than who they are.”
She said she had apologized to the casts and to Williams, “but it was a mistake and I hope we can all move on.”
Her colleagues were sympathetic, with Roker saying that, “Honest mistakes happen in live television, and this culture of Twitter and people waiting to pounce, to get on people, it’s got to stop.” Morales said “the electricity of the red carpet” was “like a mosh pit. You’re getting celebrities coming at you from all directions. You don’t know who you’re going to interview next and you have like five people waiting for you. . . . And I think you had just interviewed the cast of ‘Fences’ also. So it’s just — it happens.”
Bush Hager reiterated at the end of the segment, “I do apologize and I hope they know how brilliant those films are and I did not want to make anybody feel lesser.”
Actor-comedian Michael Keaton, while stating the nominees for best supporting actress in a motion picture during the ceremony, also referred to “Hidden Fences,” but as The New York Times observed, “Since the camera was focused on the actresses, it’s unclear if Mr. Keaton said it with a wink and a nod.”