Komen CEO Nancy Brinker’s 'Apology' Makes It Worse

This Just In 7

nancy brinker of komen

The founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nancy Brinker, has come out with her first public statement since her organization reversed its decision to donate to Planned Parenthood and top official Karen Handel resigned, and it's pretty much an insult to anyone with half a brain.

In an letter to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, Brinker apologizes for "mishandling the situation" and then goes on to admit that she "made some mistakes." Unfortunately for her and us, she glosses over the specifics mistakes and leaves out the most important one of all.

Here's the part of Brinker's letter with the most "substance" (although I'm hesitant to even call it that):

If I have learned nothing else from our experience of the past week, it is that we in women’s health organizations must be absolutely true to our core missions, and avoid even the appearance of bias or judgment in our decisions.

I made some mistakes. In retrospect, we have learned a lot and must now rebuild the trust that so many want to have in us, and respond to the many thousands who continue to believe in our mission and do what we do best: the funding of cutting-edge science and to bring that work to our communities to help the hundreds of thousands of women we serve each year.

There are a lot of words and not much meaning here, but it sounds like the "mistake" she's apologizing for is getting caught using her charity to politicize women's health. And that's not good enough. I want her to apologize instead for being a weak and ineffective leader. How else would you describe a CEO who let her charity be used like a political organization, reversed the decision when people called them out on it, and then failed to make changes in her organization to ensure this would never happen again?

Now, it's true that it takes a strong person to apologize in the first place -- I'll give Brinker some credit for that. But we don't just want a strong person at the head of Komen, we want a strong leader running one of the biggest women's health organizations in the country. And what does a strong leader do in this case if she's truly sorry? She not only says "I apologize," but she admits what she did wrong in a clear, meaningful way, explains how and why the offensive occurred in the first place, and has not just a promise that it will not happen again but also a strategy in place to back it up.

For those of us who want more from our leaders, Brinker's "apology" is a bunch of empty blather.

What do you think of Nancy Brinker's "apology"?


Image via cliff1066/Flickr

abortion, charity, feminism, in the news, planned parenthood, breasts, cancer


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nonmember avatar Rob M

Um ... She founded it ... Get a grip

"we want a strong leader running one of the biggest women's health organizations in the country"

texas... texasmamma777

It's a pity that Planned Parenthood brought the full force of its significant political clout to rail @Komen for daring to withhold a relatively measly donation. PP rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars per year, but went straight to the fainting couch over something like $650,000 from Komen. A sense of proportion? Not for the purveyors of the culture of death and its rabid adherents.

texas... texasmamma777

In stoking the supposed "controversy", Planned Parenthood has succeeded only in hurting more women and families (yawn -- what else is new?) in tarnishing the image of Komen.

nonmember avatar Anon

Clearly the women on this site consider abortion "rights" to be more important than fighting a common and deadly cancer. Nice to know the priorities around here.

nonmember avatar Laura S

I think there is nothing Brinker could say that would stop PP fans from continuing to beat her up. You got your apology and you got your money. Maybe the classy thing to do now is declare victory and move on.

count... countrygirl670

texasmama,  Komen tarnished their own image- with both "sides" of this debate-  by giving several different reasons for the defunding at the outset of this skirmish. And then by waffling. What it comes down to is that Komen put out their version of the story, and PP put out theirs.   If in fact PP rushed to the media to tell their side of the story, I'm glad.  I want to know if an organization I give money to is going to defund an organization that I find of vital importance so that I can redirect my monies to my preferred organization.  No harm, no foul.  What exactly makes you so upset about  people redirecting their own money to the organization of their own choosing?  

Anyway, your disappointment is misdirected.  Many women were concerned that some poor women would lose access to "breast health care"  (even if our concerns were incorrect -which I don't think they were) and redirected their money to PP to help ensure that access.  We voted our values with our dollars. Komen could have stuck by their guns, if they thought they were in the right.  But they didn't.  You know why?  Because at this moment in time, Komen is clearly more concerned about money than appeasing the anti-choice crowd (gotta keep those fat executive salaries rolling in, right?).  


count... countrygirl670


Your crabbing about the fact that PP let its supporters know what was happening so that we could redirect our donations if we cared to just lets us know that not only are you and your ilk trying to crawl into our bedrooms and bodies and insinuate yourselves into our relationships with our health care providers, but now you feel you have the right to slither into our purses, too.  I suggest that if you feel Komen's actions don't reflect your values, you redirect your monetary support- and your anger and disappointment- to the appropriate recipient and quit whining about it.  

And I agree with you on one thing:  $650,000.00 is a measly amount of money to go to war over.  Sense of proportion?  Not for the purveyors of the culture of hate and intolerance and its rabid adherents.

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