T-Mobile CEO John Legere goes too far with “rape” comment at Uncarrier event

Anyone who has been witness to T-Mobile’s transformation over the past couple of years knows that the company’s bold moves and stance also come with bold attitudes and words. The boldest of those words often come from CEO John Legere, who is historically unapologetic in cursing up a storm at his company’s press events or on Twitter.

John Legere

But even he can realize when he’s being just a bit too brash and goes too far. At the company’s Uncarrier event this past week, John Legere made a comment about the other wireless carriers “raping you for every penny you have.” This would be the first time he’s ever apologized for something he’s said at one of these events.

“The drawback to having no filter when I speak… sometimes I need a filter. Genuinely apologize to those offended last night,” Legere said on Twitter. “I know I have an Rated R vocabulary, but even I can go too far. Sincere apologies to anyone offended last night.”

The phrase wasn’t meant to be used as an offensive tool here. The “cool kids” of the internet (often gamers) use the word “rape” in similar fashion — not the action of having intercourse with a person without their consent, but any action where someone is beat or “owned” so bad that they’d regret waking up that morning.

Some folks have unfortunately gotten desensitized and have forgotten the true meaning of the word and how it can affect some people. Your natural inclination might be to tell those folks who are offended that they need to stop being so soft and fragile, but rape is a powerful, hurtful and despicable action that simply shouldn’t be joked about.

And while all the protesters in the world won’t get little Jimmy or your other Xbox Live friends to stop using it in such a way, you have to be a bit more careful as the CEO of a major cellular corporation. Good on John Legere for manning up to his responsibility.

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  • Nate

    I like how he did the no apology apology: “I apologize IF I offended anyone.”

  • Amir Khan

    He should be demoted so he can learn again.

  • ProudPapa

    Good grief. Look it up before writing these articles. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rape?s=t Specifically, look at definition 7 and 8, which apply to what he was saying. I don’t like that he uses vulgarities personally, because I think it’s unprofessional, but in this case, he used the word correctly. Why does everyone make everything about sex?

    This political correctness is absurd. I am offended that people are offended. Sexual rape is a VERY horrible thing, and if he was making light of that, then we might have a problem.

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      Legere apologized, that’s why the article was written. Doesn’t matter if he used it correctly.

      • ProudPapa

        I understand. This isn’t the only site that has written an article on this identical thing, and Phandroid was slightly more understanding. However, this last part, “…you have to be a bit more careful as the CEO of a major cellular corporation. Good on John Legere for manning up to his responsibility.” proves that Phandroid was taking a position on this issue, and this wasn’t a simple non-biased posting.

        • robjackson81

          I’d hardly call that taking a stand. More like a pat on the back. He felt he needed to apologize and he apologized. “Glad you got that off your chest, bro.”

          • ProudPapa

            Really? The title of the article is “T-Mobile CEO John Legere goes too far with “rape” comment at Uncarrier event” I’d say that is taking a side.

          • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

            Legere said he went too far, so he went too far. You have an issue with that? Take it up with him:

            https://twitter.com/johnlegere

            I understand the other side of the argument, but the fact remains that he felt he was irresponsible with how he went about himself at the event, and to many people he was. If you aren’t, then great! Go on about your day and have a great weekend. :)

          • ProudPapa

            Quentyn, I am not trying to diss you, so don’t take it personally. The title of this article was not a quote of Legere, it was the title of the article. I’m not going to argue semantics.

          • Satan’s Taint

            Yet like the dimwitted armchair warrior, you have.

          • Derek

            Can’t fight with logic and actual English language definitions against this blogging team!! They say it’s wrong so it must be wrong.

          • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

            No one is disputing the various meanings of the word, but we all know how most people took the comment. It’s no different than the Microsoft E3 presser a couple of years back when one of the executives exclaimed he was “raping” his colleague (really he just meant he was beating her pretty badly in the game). Most people knew what he meant and / or how he meant it, but it was still pretty irresponsible. We can argue about semantics all day, but people have a right to be upset if they want to be, and Legere has a right to apologize if he feels he was wrong.

          • Derek

            Do ‘we’ all know how most people took the comment? Sure doesn’t seem that way. I took it as AT&T and Verizon are ripping their customers off, not bending them over a table unwillingly and having sex with them, and it seems like a lot of other comments reflect that thinking.

          • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

            Most of the people who were offended, I meant. I sure knew what he meant / how he meant it, and knew that he sincerely didn’t mean to offend anyone.

          • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

            *Epic blogging team. (Also, epic first name.)

        • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

          Taking a position on being responsible. That’s all it proves.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      I know what you mean. I call people bitches all of the time when I’m clearly confusing them with female dogs. Ugh.

      • ProudPapa

        Wow, educated response.

    • Endoverend

      Everyone wants to lay trademarks on their favorite terms in the English language…even though every word has has multiple uses.

      This is the same reason that what used to be called an “Aborted Takeoff” is now a “Rejected Takeoff” in aerospace. This, even though the new definition is completely wrong: you don’t “reject” a takeoff. You can REJECT it all you want, but if you don’t actually take steps to ABORT it, well, let’s just say you’re not going to have much time to think about your semantic error.

      Legere’s presentation was filthy and full of four letter words. Unfortunately that is the only accurate way to describe the field in which he competes. By using the same vocabulary I do to describe Verizon’s business practices, he’s earned a shot with my own service.

  • Jason Yuen

    It’s a metaphor. Somehow getting raped by a carrier is more offensive than raping land of natural resources? As a customer, I straight up do feel like I’m getting raped by carriers.

    • robjackson81

      At some point you draw the line of being too insensitive to a specific group of people. Dropping an F Bomb or S bomb may be “politically incorrect” but it doesn’t target any specific group of people that may – purposely or inadvertently – be made to feel badly about themselves.

      Did it cross the line in my opinion? I think the fact that he apologized makes it seem worse than it is… but hey… he’s not apologizing to me. He’s apologizing to the people who were offended by the statement. If you weren’t offended than feel free to let the statement still resonate lol.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      You feel like you’re getting raped you say? I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through that traumatic experience. My wife actually wrote a book about recovery if you need someone to talk to. Let me know.

      • Matthew DiGiacomo

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rape?s=t

        rape  

        noun

        4.

        an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation;violation: the rape of the countryside.

        7.

        to plunder (a place); despoil.

        8.

        to seize, take, or carry off by force.

        verb (used without object), raped, rap·ing.

        It means more than you think bud.

  • robjackson81

    The Joe Biden of Tech

    • Matthew DiGiacomo

      Except not at all. Joe Biden says idiotic things and makes himself look stupid.

      • Satan’s Taint

        So you learned from him?

        • Matthew DiGiacomo

          Huh?

  • Rorison Meadows

    I’d replace “goes too far” with “gets pretty accurate” in the title of this article…

  • MIKEEEEE

    get some coverage and i’ll come back.

  • Carl Rood

    So is his big plan to drive the company to financial ruin so the Sprint merger becomes moot and we’re left with three carriers, anyway? At some their customers are going to have to start paying for the stuff they’re giving away. Even if they add more customers, it doesn’t mean much if those customers are costing more than they bring in.

    • ProudPapa

      That’s why retention becomes key. If they add customers, and keep them, they will be profitable long-term because there are no subsidies. That’s how they can afford things like paying for people’s ETF’s that switch, because it is almost a wash with the subsidies. If their prices can’t be profitable, then the prepaid market would have disappeared long ago, including Boost/Virgin by Sprint, and MetroPCS by T-mobile.

  • Mik Furie

    The true meaning of the word is the wanton destruction of things that spoils them for others. The fact that it’s used for non consensual sex stems from the fact that women were regarded as belongings for so long, and comes from an archaic use of the word for women being carried off during the raping of an area.

    His use of the word was correct and fear of articles like this one have caused him to have to apologise for it anyway. Just because little kids go around misusing the word doesn’t mean that anyone who uses it outside of a sexual connotation is wrong.

    • Satan’s Taint

      You’re an effing idiot if you think that.

      • IVHorseMen

        Coming from Satan’s Taint.. Interesting

  • joseph mcfadden

    you people are so immature its hilarious…GROW UP. Carl rood, have you ever worked in a mobile phone industry? i have…was awhile ago but they really are not ‘giving’ anything away. YOU might buy the phone for $600 but thats not what the companies buy them for. when you “trade in” a device, they don’t resell it or market it as refurbished. this things are so cheap, they disassemble them and use them for parts! cellular service is not all that expensive. carriers like at&t, verizon and sprint are destroying people with the way the charge for service. if you go overseas to europe, they don’t even have post-pay plans and subsidies. its a total rip-off. tmobile posted a loss last quarter because they have been spending money actually upgrading the network where as at&t just continues to distribute theirs in the form of corporate bonuses. verizon has actually been upgrading the speed of their networks and its been getting great results, they need to boost capacity. contrary to what many people “THINK”, the sprint network is quite large, fast, and has a lot of available bandwidth, it has simply been managed and distributed sooo poorly over the years it needs to be completely rebuilt.

    i just love it how SOOOO many people know sooooo much about every topic and feel the need to blast the rest of us with their ignorance. i feel raped by reading these comments. there…go ahead, flame away i dont return to read this crap anyway.

  • theonetrueMike

    Freedom of speech is dead, and we the people are holding the smoking gun by policing everything and literalizing every little comment. We all knew what he said was not the act of raping somebody but rather the figurative version of the word to show the severity of what the carriers are doing. Enough people please stop killing free speech.

    • http://www.scottcolbert.com/ ScottColbert

      Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.

    • jackdubl

      Freedom of speech is dead? So he was arrested for this? Oh, you just meant you should be able to say whatever you want and there should never be any repercussions of any kind. I don’t think that’s what “freedom of speech” means. Oh, and I think he used the word correctly by the way.

  • blest

    “Your freedom of speech has no power here. ”

    • Jason Yuen

      I don’t think you know what freedom of speech means. It’s a protection from prosecution by the state. Not a say-whatever-the-hell-i-want pass or a admit-one ticket to slanderland. Regardless, I don’t think he should have apologized. Whether you hate or love T-Mo for it is another issue.

      • blest

        Hey Jason, slow down buddy. It was a joke. Pull your skirt back down and keep it moving.

        • Jason Yuen

          I realize that. But is your real right to freedom something you want thrown around like a joke? I’m Canadian by the way, so I’m not stipulating my point as a die hard American.

          • blest

            Jason there is no way I’m branching this into a serious conversation. Have a good one.

          • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

            I’m just going to say I wish more people were like you. :)

          • blest

            Lmao. I already know what you mean.

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      Freedom of speech has never really been true if you look at it that way. Sure, I can say what I want, but the only thing freedom of speech protects me from is being thrown in jail or put on trial for saying it. If someone wants to chastise me, unfriend me, blackball me or what have you, that’s their right.

      • blest

        Freedom of speech has never been freedom of consequence. It was a joke.

  • Devin Pearson

    I am offended by your apology. People are too sensitive.

    • TONY ALDO

      Exactly.

    • bigshynepo

      Brassica napus feels discriminated against.

  • Rukbat

    Language evolves. The word has been in common usage with this meaning (the one Legere used) for decades. It’s not making light of the criminal act against others (men get sexually raped too, so should I accuse you of sexism?), it’s just using the word the way people use it in the 21st century.

    If you’re looking for something to be offended by, why does “black” usually imply bad and “white” imply good (as in white hat hacker or black arts)? Why is left-haded (sinister) denoted by a negative word and right-handed (dexter, as in dextrous) denoted by a positive word.

    There are lots of things one can find to be offended by, if that’s one’s intent. Considering what it costs to handle a phone call (saying “pennies” would be WAY overstating it – carriers pay for inter-carrier calls they initiate, and get paid for calls they complete that were initiated by other carriers – in the end, it’s probably a revenue-neutral situation), and the cost of maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure (usually way overstated by the carriers), what they’re doing is far more than raping us, they’re installing direct siphons into our pockets. ($10 billion for a spectrum block? A large carrier probably makes that back in less than a month – and owns that block in perpetuity.) Even $25/month for unlimited talk and text is a lot. (Cingular [AT&T Mobility], Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile aren’t losing money.)

    • Edgar

      Why is dexter so sinister?

  • Joe Smithereen

    It’s not too far. It’s a figure of speech. When some says, “man he’s killing it” why aren’t we freaking out over their insensitivity to murder victims? BECAUSE IT’S A FIGURE OF SPEECH.

  • HelloKitty123456

    This country is full of sissies.

  • ReverseRoxas

    ITT: Everyone getting super sensitive about the word “rape”. Let’s clear this up.

    There are multiple meanings for the word. Okay, cool. Which way did Legere mean the word “rape”? We have no idea. But just as a question, which definition would you use when you say that someone is “raping you for every penny you have”? Just wondering.

    There are people who have experienced rape in the past. There are lots of people who are very sensitive to that word use, and that includes people in my own family. Now, I am not biased for that reason. I simply have a more broad perspective because of that, and it leads me to refrain from saying something involving the subject matter of rape because I care about that person.

    As a CEO, he’s just keeping his image up. And good for him! I personally don’t like to intentionally offend people and then start going off on a tangent about how they’re “oversensitive”. That’s just not right. Legere swallowed the hard pill and apologized because he knows he negatively affected others. I hope everyone here would do the same.

  • Unorthodox

    He’d make a good Apple CEO – come to us, dumb sheeps, we’ll rape you for every penny we squeeze out of you. It’s going to be magical!

  • Itchy_Robot

    Man, soon I’m going to have to communicate with grunts just to not offend people.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      Hodor

      • Edgar

        Yo

      • Tim Rahill

        HODOR HODOR

  • oldtaku

    Yep, bad judgement. If he’d just said ‘screwed’ nobody would have minded. Except AT&T and Verizon, and f@#$ them.

  • Phaz0n

    Oh come on! People need to stop being so sensitive. It’s getting ridiculous!!

  • JointhePredacons

    This is the silliest complaint ive ever heard. Havent these people ever heard of “context” ?? In the context the word “raping” is appropriate. He didnt say “I’d rather be raping a barely 18yr old girl” What kind of oversensitive world do we live in. Grow up people.

  • JointhePredacons

    As a wise man once said, everything is contextual. If you dont understand the context you will never understand anything.

  • Ckburks

    I just came to read the comments….

  • Delmar

    at least hes honest

  • Brian S.

    all hail John Legere!

    anyone who was “offended” by the word is either out of touch or making it up.

    screw phandroid for writing this article the way they did. god I hate this site now.. “rape is bad m’kay.” Phandroid can GTFO of this website.

  • Carol Christopher

    When some says, “man he’s killing it” why aren’t we freaking out over their insensitivity to murder victims? BECAUSE IT’S A FIGURE OF SPEECH.