In a recent video on social media, mega-celebrity Chris Pratt made what seemed like a reasonable request.
The "Guardians of the Galaxy" star asked his fans scrolling through their feed to turn up the volume and listen instead of, as he put it, "just reading the subtitles."
In doing so, he unintentionally alienated a ton of fans who depend on those very subtitles.
Almost 38 million adults living in America have some form of hearing loss, and implying that a subtitled video was somehow a lesser experience was, well, a bit insulting.
So Pratt took to Instagram to issue a powerful and heartfelt apology.
"I have people in my life who are hearing-impaired, and the last thing in the world I would want to do is offend them or anybody who suffers from hearing loss or any other disability," he wrote.
"So truly from the bottom of my heart I apologize. Thanks for pointing this out to me. In the future I'll try to be a little less ignorant about it."
In addition to his writing, Pratt used his hands to apologize in the 100% silent video.
Instagram does this thing where it mutes all the videos it shows and forces you to turn on the volume in order to hear them. (maybe because most people are watching those videos at work when they should be working and don't want to get caught. I know that's when I do it. 😬) So when I made a video recently with subtitles, and requested that people turn up the volume and not just "read the subtitles" it was so people wouldn't scroll past the video on mute, thus watching and digesting the information in the video. HOWEVER, I realize now doing so was incredibly insensitive to the many folks out there who depend on subtitles. More than 38 million Americans live with some sort of hearing disability. So I want to apologize. I have people in my life who are hearing-impaired, and the last thing in the world I would want to do is offend them or anybody who suffers from hearing loss or any other disability. So truly from the bottom of my heart I apologize. Thanks for pointing this out to me. In the future I'll try to be a little less ignorant about it. Now... I know some of you are going to say, "Hey! Chris only apologized because his publicist made him!" Well. That is not the case. As always I control my social media. Nobody else. And I am doing this because I'm actually really sorry. Apologies are powerful. I don't dole them out Willy-Nilly. This is one of those moments where I screwed up and here's me begging your pardon. I hope you accept my apology. And on that note. Why doesn't Instagram have some kind of technology to automatically add subtitles to its videos? Or at least the option. I did a little exploring and it seems lacking in that area. Shouldn't there be an option for closed captioning or something? I've made them lord knows how much money with my videos and pictures. Essentially sharing myself for free. I know they profit. So... GET ON IT INSTAGRAM!!! Put closed captioning on your app. #CCinstaNow
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His willingness to reach out and make amends sparked an outpouring of support for the actor.
Though a few commenters noticed his signing wasn't completely accurate (though not bad for a newbie), hundreds of comments poured in to thank Pratt for taking the time to better educate himself.
While the apology was genuine and moving, it was perhaps the very end of Pratt's message that held the most weight.
"Why doesn't Instagram have some kind of technology to automatically add subtitles to its videos?" he asked. "Shouldn't there be an option for closed captioning or something?"
He's got a good point. While other platforms like Facebook have added auto-captioning tools to make it easy on publishers to create more accessible videos, Instagram seems to be lagging behind.
For a platform with about 700 million monthly users, Pratt doesn't think that's acceptable.
"I've made them lord knows how much money with my videos and pictures," he wrote. "Essentially sharing myself for free. I know they profit. So... GET ON IT INSTAGRAM!!! Put closed captioning on your app. #CCinstaNow"
With well over a million views on the video so far, it's obvious that Pratt's support means a lot to the Deaf and hard of hearing community.
Hopefully, having this kind of star power behind an important cause will lead to some much-needed change.