Val Kilmer's neighbors demand an apology

Val Kilmer's neighbors demand an apology and what's an apology wortIt's tough being a tough guy. "MacGruber" star Val Kilmer may be learning that the hard way. After insulting his New Mexico neighbors a couple of times in the past in well-publicized interviews appearing in Esquire and Rolling Stone magazines, it's now the neighbors turn.

Kilmer would like to turn his 6,000-acre Pecos River ranch into a posh bed-and-breakfast and neighbors, reportedly still upset over being disparaged by the actor, are trying to block the project. Kilmer has applied for permits for his plan, which launched protests.

The neighbors want an apology for Kilmer's statement in a 2003 Rolling Stone interview where he said his neighborhood was "the homicide capital of the Southwest" and that "80% of the people in my county are drunk." Touchy folks, those New Mexicans.

In 2005, Esquire quoted the actor as saying he knew how to better play a Vietnam veteran than someone who had actually served in the war and that the real soldiers were "borderline criminal or poor .... wretched kids" who wound up in the military because they "got beat up by their dads" or "couldn't finagle a scholarship." On these last two, Kilmer later claimed to be misquoted.

Kilmer is expected to attend a public hearing on his permit request that is scheduled for Wednesday. Until then, we offer a bit of advice for the man in the hot seat: Apologies matter -- certainly in the economic sense.

A study in the U.K. found that firms that simply said "sorry" to disgruntled customers fared better than those that offered financial compensation. The Nottingham School of Economics' Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics found people were twice as likely to forgive a company that apologized over one that offered them cash for their troubles.

Val, are you listening?

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