Timothy Michael Poe, the 35-year-old aspiring country singer who spun a sad tale of combat injuries during his America's Got Talent audition this week, had a great chance to make things right when the New York Post came calling for an explanation. After it was discovered that he'd lied about receiving a Purple Heart, supplied another soldier's photo in lieu of his own, and even deceived the judges about his singing background, you'd think the guy would take the opportunity to come clean instead of digging himself an even deeper hole.
Instead, Timothy Poe chose to issue one of the worst excuses for an apology I've ever heard—and considering how many insincere celebrity mea culpas I've come across, that's saying something.
The CliffsNotes version of Poe's story to date is that Poe told the America's Got Talent judges that he stutters as a result of an injury he sustained in 2009 during a blast in Afghanistan, and ever since the show aired, more and more holes have been appearing in his story. No military records turned up of his injury, soldiers came forward and said he was a fraud, and Poe flat-out confessed he lied about receiving a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
The photo of a soldier that was aired during Poe's audition turned out to be an image of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone, and AGT's production company has since apologized:
We sincerely apologize to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone for using a photo of him in our story on Tim Poe. It was supplied to us by Tim and used on the show in good faith. It has now been removed and will not be used again.
In Poe's emailed communications with the Post, he supplied documents that say he's retired from service because he suffers from an "injury or disease received in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war," but there's no information on how or when this happened.
I think if this was his only claim being disputed, we'd all probably be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but you start adding up all the lies—the false photo, the medals he never received—and the whole thing just sounds fishy as hell.
As for the grenade blast that he described in detail on AGT, Poe says he's now unsure what really went down:
It may not have happened exactly like I said it did. I really do not remember a lot of things since the accident. I remember a blast going off by my head and being in Afghanistan and telling one of the sergeants (...) It is like a dream ... I can’t remember things exactly how it happened.
Again, this would be understandable if it weren't for the other falsehoods—including the fact that he told the judges he’d never sung before coming back from Afghanistan. As it turns out, he had done plenty of singing. IN A BAND.
I do not know how to explain why I answered about never singing before. I was in a band. When the judges asked, before I could even think about answering my words had already came out.
Finally, here's the apology he decided to share with the public:
I would like to take the time to tell the the American people how truly sorry I am that they had to endure the incomplete facts. I understand how they feel.
He's sorry people had to ENDURE THE INCOMPLETE FACTS? Seriously, that is classic weasel apology, where it sort of SOUNDS like a real apology—except you don't actually take any of the blame. How about publicly apologizing to the soldier whose photo he used? How about apologizing to the brave men and women who actually earned Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars? How about apologizing to anyone who rooted for him on AGT because they were so touched by his story? How about showing his kids that there's all kinds of bravery, like owning the mistakes you've made and becoming a better person as a result?
The saddest thing of all is that Poe likely spun all these lies in order to become famous. I guess he never heard the term "Be careful what you wish for."
What do you think of Poe's apology? Do you think it was good enough?
Image via NBC