"You received over one million downvotes which makes what you did a crime against the State. You will now begin an apology tour, during which the people will vote on whether or not they believe your sincerity. If your downvotes remain under 10 million, you'll be free to go." ― Publicity Officer Willks to John LaMarr[source]An Apology Tour is a public request for forgiveness performed on the planet Sargus 4, and is the subject of the episode Majority Rule. The tour is not merely a social gesture but a legal procedure: an Apology Tour must be taken by anyone who has received over one million downvotes, and thus committed a crime against the State. Those who receive in excess of 10 million downvotes by the end of their tour are subject to "Social Correction".
On Sargus 4, public approval or disapproval is meted out through upvotes and downvotes, and the respective totals appear on a person's Vote Badge. Disapproval carries legal weight, as those who receive over one million downvotes are deemed to have committed a crime against the State, and are arrested and held by the Department of Corrections. Arrestees are not criminal defendants and there is no trial; a "conviction" takes place by exceeding one million downvotes.[n 1]
Arrestees must undergo an Apology Tour, in which subjects plea for the public's forgiveness in a series of live television appearances. Apology Tours are said to happen daily.[n 2] They are assigned a Publicity Officer to counsel them on their tour and are entitled to one other guest. At the end of the tour, a Final Vote is performed, subjects are strapped to a chair and forced to watch their vote tally. If a subject receives more than 10 million downvotes by the end of an Apology Tour, he or she is "socially corrected" through a damaging neurological treatment designed to "to pacify any and all potentially negative impulses."[n 2] The duration of a tour is unknown.[n 3]
Planetary Union anthropologists Tom and Lewis appeared on The Breakfast Show as part of their Apology Tour. The two were photographed sitting in bus seats without offering their seat to a standing pregnant woman. Tom says they are deeply ashamed. He shortly after attempts to flee his Tour and is killed by a Department of Corrections guard. Lewis fails the Final Vote and is corrected.
Lieutenant John LaMarr is sent on an Apology Tour after a recording of him performing a suggestive dance on a statue of Mella Giffendon goes viral, and he accrues over one million downvotes. He is assisted by Publicity Officer Willks. LaMarr makes at least two live television appearances but performs poorly, largely due to unfamiliarity with Sargun culture. Fortunately, LaMarr does not receive ten million downvotes and avoids correction thanks to Isaac onboard the USS Orville campaigning on the Master Feed.
- ↑ John LaMarr says the Apology Tour is to decide whether the public believes the subject is "guilty or not." However, it seems that the reverse is true. First, Willks says that the one-million-vote threshold decides whether one's actions are a crime. Second, the Apology Tour is designed to show remorse for one's actions, not to give a criminal defense.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "You don't know what an Apology Tour is? John, they happen every day!" Publicity Officer Willks to John LaMarr.
- ↑ Based on the experience of John LaMarr, the tour probably lasts roughly three-to-five days.