Tom Sandoval Apologizes for Comparing Himself to George Floyd

"I'm incredibly sorry and embarrassed," Sandoval said in a statement. Good, he should be.

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Tom Sandoval Apologizes for Comparing Himself to George Floyd

When you think of lightning rod cultural moments in history that shifted public discourse, perhaps you’d think of the O.J. Simpson trial or the murder of George Floyd. Though perhaps if your brain is rotted by reality TV just enough, you’d lump Vanderpump Rules cheating fiasco #Scandoval to the list. That’s exactly what the man at the center of Scandoval —Tom Sandoval—did in a fascinating New York Times Magazine profile.

“I’m not a pop-culture historian really,” he said, “but I witnessed the O.J. Simpson thing and George Floyd and all these big things, which is really weird to compare this to that, I think, but do you think in a weird way it’s a little bit the same?”

I agree that it is really weird (and that is putting it kindly) to make that comparison and I also agree that he is not a pop-culture historian. Reading that sentence made my brain sort of fizz like a lightbulb dying out and I wasn’t alone. Even Rylie, Sandoval’s 23-year-old Vanderpump Rules fan turned PR crisis team member realized in the moment the levels of inanity in his statement and seemingly texted her bosses about it. Writer Irina Aleksander got a series of calls from higher-ups on Sandoval’s PR team asking exactly what their client had said about Simpson and Floyd and suggested, “Maybe Sandoval wasn’t ready for this.”

To her credit, Aleksander keenly wrote of the misquote, “I think I knew what he meant…he was trying to express the oddity of becoming the symbolic center of a nationwide discussion and a major news story; what he communicated instead was something more honest, which is just how much the experience had made him lose perspective.”

Moments before his galaxy-brained comparison, Sandoval also told Aleksander that he felt “like I got more hate than Danny Masterson…and he’s a convicted rapist.” These are the sort of quotes I imagine profile writers dream of in J-school and that make 23-year-old PR crisis team members named Rylie wake up in cold sweats.

Late Tuesday evening, People published an apology statement from Sandoval on the inane comparison of his reality TV dalliance to the murder of a Black man by police. “My intentions behind the comments I made in New York Times Magazine were to explain the level of national media attention my affair received,” he wrote. “The comparison was inappropriate and ignorant. I’m incredibly sorry and embarrassed.” 

At this rate, Sandoval is becoming a full-time apologizer. I imagine this experience has taught 23-year-old PR crisis team member Rylie to interfere the moment her reality TV star client veers this far into terrible, awful quotes. But for the sake of watching an entertaining car crash, I’m glad she didn’t this time.  

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