Jenna Bush Hager Pharrell

Jenna Bush Hager Apologizes for Globes Gaffe as Al Roker Rips Backlash

A visibly shaken Jenna Bush Hager publicly apologized on Monday for mistakenly referring to Hidden Figures as “Hidden Fences” during NBC’s Golden Globes pre-show.

While interviewing Pharrell, who scored the period drama, the Today correspondent said, “So, you’re nominated for ‘Hidden Fences,'” which triggered a confused expression from the prolific music producer. The clip instantly went viral and a backlash quickly ensued.

Fighting back tears, Hager said on Monday’s Today show, “If I offended people, I am deeply sorry. It was a mistake… What I didn’t want to do is make anyone feel lesser than who they are. It was a mistake and I hope we can all move on.” 

Al Roker, who was seated alongside Hager as she delivered her mea culpa, defended his colleague before blasting the pile-on mentality of social media and the media itself. “Honest mistakes happen in live television,” he said. “And this culture of Twitter and people waiting to pounce on people — it’s gotta stop. It’s just ridiculous… And for the New York Times to repeat these tweets, it’s a cheap shot.”

You can watch Hager’s apology in full below, and then scroll down to check out the inciting incident itself.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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74 Comments
  1. Walkie says:

    She’s a sweet person. It’s crap that she had to feel bad about a simple mistake. Society is becoming one giant ball of cruelty.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      She hasn’t been doing this for a long time has she?

    • Bill Clay says:

      Maybe NBC should consider hiring professional interviewers, instead of stunt casting relatives of famous people?

      • ellajasper says:

        You are a mean person. I guess you have never said the wrong thing.

        • Annie Sisk says:

          How was that mean? It’s an honest opinion, and one I happen to share. I don’t think she was prepared or experienced enough for this kind of gig. They’re *not* easy to pull off. Expecting some experience and/or a minimum level of skill at it isn’t asking too much, nor is it mean-spirited.

          • Rofair says:

            Everyone has to start somewhere. I fail to see why this is some huge controversy. She made a mistake. It happens and the world jumping down her throat trying to make her feel like a horrible person for a one word mistake is ridiculous. She said “Fences” instead of “Figures” She didn’t say some disrespectful term in it’a place. She apologized. It clearly was not intentional. Everyone needs to move on.

          • Annie Sisk says:

            She’s been a correspondent for NBC for 7 years, apparently. (I don’t watch network TV, so I had no idea, but whatever.) So I’ll amend my premise: If you aren’t any better than that on your feet in seven years, best leave the RC duties to someone else.

          • Eric says:

            Al Roker even made a couple mistakes and he’s been on air and interviewing people for over 20 years. Mistakes happen in environments like that where waves of people are coming at you on live TV.

          • ? says:

            Well, congratulations to you Annie, I mean judging from your comments you have NEVER, EVER made a mistake in your entire life. We all marvel at your superior perfection. You must write a thesis to tell us mere mortals how you do it. Here’s hoping you never slip up and make a mistake–lord knows how you would handle it. SMDH

          • Annie Sisk says:

            I … what? No, I have never represented to the world that I was qualified to do lightning fast red-carpet interviews and then screwed up the name of one of the nominated films. You’re right. I’m very fortunate in that respect. WTF?!

          • ? says:

            There have been many “qualified” interviewers in the past who have flubbed lines and made mistakes. They have been shown on various media as plain mistakes. Many of these people have been seasoned journalists. Michael Keaton made the same mistake but where is your harsh judgement of him? WTF indeed, mistakes happen in any profession, but, I guess making a federal case out of it on one person is just too much fun for the more “superior” of the crowd–again, congratulations on being one of those people.

          • Annie Sisk says:

            The only one making a federal case out of this issue is you. I’ve stated my opinion. You keep coming back to try to convince me, or others, or maybe yourself, I don’t know, that I’m wrong. I’m done.

      • mary says:

        Except twice on the actual telecast, while reading the nominations they did the same thing. People are not perfect.

    • liame says:

      LOL, wolves in sheep’s clothing always appear sweet in public. Who hides fences?

    • Fabrizia says:

      The girl must die.

  2. Mark says:

    People calling it racism…..2017 off to rip roaring start.

  3. Shannon says:

    Michael Keaton made the same mistake and said Hidden Fences instead of Hidden Figures last night and nobody is raking him over the coals. Biased media strikes again…

    • SusieT79 says:

      And he had a teleprompter and still got it wrong! I think his would be considered more deliberate since he had the info and said it wrong. With that said, I know both just slipped and it wasn’t a slight.

    • Max says:

      I’m so sick of people blaming the media for EVERYTHING! It wasn’t the “biased media” sending out cruel tweets and messages about the mistake … it’s the pathetic social media hacks and trolls who aren’t happy unless they’re tearing someone down.

  4. Guy says:

    Is it that big of a deal? She made a simple mistake. And Michael Keaton made the exact same mistake during the actual show.

  5. Spence says:

    Did Roker or any of the other commenters on this article actually see Twitter last night? Nobody was “trolling” her, they were all just making cheeky jokes using the hashtag #HiddenFences. They were attempting to take the egregious error and make it laughable, not as dramatic as people are making this out to be.

    • P Blair says:

      No, not true. People were saying that it was “white people’s way of saying that all y’all’s movies look alike” and saying that it was racism instead of a simple mistake. I make mistakes like that all the time. I read chapter books to my kid and my brain is constantly getting ahead of my mouth (or is it vice versa?) and I combine characters names or other words. Not racism, not stupidity (as another commenter said), but just a simple mistake.

  6. DL says:

    Look, I’m a liberal, but this is ridiculous. My mom constantly mixes up names and has slips like that — it happens to people. There was a movie called “Hidden Figures” and a movie called “Fences,” and most likely they just jumbled together in her head in the moment. The notion that it’s a knock on anyone is plain silly. Let’s play by Pharrell’s example — he just let it go like the honest mistake it probably was.

    • kitsunesaru says:

      You’re mom isn’t the only one. I used to work at Blockbuster and people constantly mixed up titles. Sometimes even my fellow employees. Hopefully people won’t even remember this in a few weeks.

  7. Paul says:

    Anyone who has ever called a family member by another family member’s name knows how it happened. There’s a lot of stress to keep all the details straight on some event on the scale of the Golden Globes. Like the gala scene in The Devil Wears Prada, these things happen.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Where’s the backlash on Michael Keaton who did EXACTLY the same thing?

    • Freddie says:

      How do you know there isn’t backlash for him as well? Surely you don’t think TVLine is reporting every single comment on social media or doing quant to determine at which point it officially becomes a “backlash”.

      • Jennifer says:

        Not just TVLine – everyone. It’s not fair that Jenna BUSH Hager was/is getting vilified while the LIBERAL Keaton is getting nothing.

        • Freddie says:

          Come on, Jennifer. You know that just means people expect her to be smarter than him, You don’t need to politicize this. Besides, you still don’t know that he’s not getting his own share of shaming.

  9. Jason says:

    I completely agree with Al Roker. Jenna Bush doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, so for people to tear into her for a slip of the tongue, says more about the trolls who relish any mistake a person makes than it does Jenna.

  10. Luis Roman says:

    Is this a joke? She mixed up the names of two movies, currently in theaters, that both feature African-American actors, and people want to hound her out of broadcasting? She shouldn’t even have had to make an apology.

  11. D says:

    Libs are the most intollerant and judgemental bullies around

  12. D says:

    libs are the most libs are the most intolerant and judgemental bulliesand judgemental bullies around

    • DL says:

      Says the guy who comes here hurling insults. For the record, TVLine is making a big deal out of it in this article, but most people on Twitter were just joking, having a laugh. Are people not allowed to be amused at an amusing slip-up? I guess that makes them judgmental, intolerant bullies. Now let’s build a wall and deport all the Mexicans.

      • Leo says:

        DL ; Your comment is disgusting and not funny at all and it is you that should be deported to another planet! Do not even bring the hardworking Mexican people into this. Mexicans are some of the kindest , generous people that I have ever met.

  13. JosiahBartlet4President says:

    It was a mistake. Let’s not make this into anything more than it was.

  14. lilacrose82 says:

    If she wants to be a broadcaster, she has to accept reaction to her mistakes and move on. Mixing up the names of two prominent black movies is not the best look.

    I only wish should’ve been corrected on the spot so she could apologize in the moment. Having Al Roker there to coddle her and blame the media (??? aren’t they the media?!11) only makes her look like a child.

    Most of the social media “backlash” were just people poking fun at the mistake, not her.

    • mary says:

      Why does it make “her” look childish. And no a lot were calling racism. That’s why he called out the media. Because to make a story let’s pull one of the big issues-racism- before the actual facts. It was a honest mistake when you have two movies with such close titles. And besides she was not the only one, yet people want to attack her.

  15. Michelle says:

    It’s not rocket science nor a real job. She deserves the drag she’s getting

    • If you get paid, it’s a “real job.” What’s she supposed to be, a plumber before it’s “real?”

      • Michelle says:

        She’s not doing much. The fact she couldn’t even remember the name of the movie is pretty sad.

        • ? says:

          No, what’s sad is you and some others here who obviously never have made a mistake in your lives–wow, I do love me some superior people. Better a humble sinner than a self-righteous saint….

        • mary says:

          Except neither could both presenters, who did the same thing. I’m sure you’re the perfect person who never mistakenly said something.

  16. pickles says:

    Al Roker made a blunder as well with Mel Gibson. She made a mistake that’s all. Hollywood is nothing but nepotism for those who think Jenna got her job because she is a Bush.

  17. Queen of the Run-on Sentence says:

    SERIOUSLY?? I heard all the interviewers mangle names and show titles all evening long. To settle on this one goof is ridiculous!

  18. Poor girl. I typically find Al Roker a bit smug and snarky, but in this case, he’s dead on. Much much worse has been said and done on live television. If a mistake is made out of a lack of preparation, or lack of care, that’s a different situation. This was a simple slip of the tongue and its a shame people felt the need to poke fun at her about it.

  19. LOL, well, she is her father’s daughter. But no big thing.

  20. Mable says:

    Didn’t one of the presenters do the same while calling out nominations? Honest mistake.

  21. Raul J says:

    At least she didn’t mistake Pharrell for John Legend.

  22. no reason to get offended over this, also no reason to apologize. people need to care less about little things like this and put more energy into bigger issues

  23. Not to put too fine a point on it says:

    Al Roker…Al Roker…wasn’t he in “Sharknado 2”?

  24. Nick says:

    Michael Keaton said Octavia Spencer for Hidden Fences!! Why isn’t he apologizing???

  25. Gwen Price says:

    I agree with Al Roker. All of this negativity and criticism of honest mistakes posted on social media needs to stop!!! It doesn’t matter how professional or unprofessional a person is. When broadcasting live, there will be mistakes!!! We all make them and so do the ones who criticize them on social media!! We have become a society of social media bullies!!! Shame on all of us!!!

  26. Leesa says:

    Jenna is not the first person who has made a small mistake on TV before. She is an intelligent ,professional woman with a great career and she apologized..

  27. Mel says:

    Al Rocker had a hard time too yesterday. I feel he had to apologize to a couple people because words weren’t coming to his minds. It happens.

  28. Katie says:

    If I may point out: MIchael Keaton made the same slip up. He said “Hidden Fences” while presenting an award, yet I don’t see HIM getting shamed like Jenna. Hmm, could it be that she’s from a conservative family with a father and grandfather that were each president and each equally disdained for their running of the country? Funny that social media even didn’t seem to comment on Keaton’s slip. Nor did Hollywood. If Pharrell had been so inclined he should have corrected Jenna, politely. But then Hollywood was too busy being self-important and patting themselves on the back. I guess they think they can do nothing wrong themselves. Typical.

  29. Vanessa says:

    I haven’t seen anyone bullying her or calling her the worst person ever etc. so these defensive and dramatic comments are ridiculous. Most people were just making jokes or questioning how the mistake was made in the first place.

    As a professional if you make mistakes you own up to them. If you’re doing the red carpet or presenting it’s your job to know how the bames of the major projects, how to pronounce the nominees names etc. So yes she should have apologized and she did. People acting like she’s a victim because she did what professionals are supposed to do is absurd.

    So yes she should have apologized

  30. GraceM says:

    People are criticizing her for making an honest mistake? Especially when she apologized for it?

    Shame on them.

  31. Annie says:

    She shouldn’t be jumped on for this mistake. I mean Kathy Gifford asked Martin Shorts about the secrets of his long marriage yet his wife died a few years before. ??? Kathy has worked in the entertainment business for a while so she should have known. Also Joan Rivers made gaffes all the time and no one raked her over the coals.

  32. Ronnie says:

    If you make a mistake on live TV (and it happens all the time), just apologize and move on. Pay no attention to the trolls behind the screens!! Both she and Keaton mixed up movies. Gaffes happen all the time.In the old days, people would call the studio or write letters. The only difference now is that people have more ways to express themselves more quickly. If you are going to be in the public eye, get a thicker skin, and move on because you can’t let the trolls take your power!!

  33. georgegras16 says:

    That’s NOT, That big of a deal, Please get real people, To give this young lady grief over something so trivial it’s ABSURD, It’s not like she questioned his “headware” or anything serious

  34. Swear says:

    Ah, the tolerant left………

  35. peterwdawson says:

    Really? They’re both F-words. People have said far dumber things and gotten less hate. Oi.

  36. Brigid says:

    How could she do this? I never make mistakes at my job…NEVER. I’m perfect and everyone else should be too. I say we burn her at the stake.

  37. Ro says:

    Anyway, Hidden Figures is a GREAT movie! I highly recommend it. I haven’t seen Fences.

  38. Carolina girl says:

    He should have corrected her honest misspeak. She would have apologized and this would have been the non-event that it truly is. Come on people!