"Mac and cheese douche" Luke Gatti's apology: Does "sorry" excuse his abusive, aggressive rant?

After a drunken demand for mac and cheese went viral, he apologized—his dad says he's just a kid who made mistakes

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Published October 13, 2015 3:11PM (EDT)

  (Amherst Police Department)
(Amherst Police Department)

Over the past week, the general consensus on social media has been that 19 year-old Luke Gatti, the UConn student who achieved viral infamy for his recent drunken — and extraordinarily prolonged and tenacious — demands for "some f__king bacon jalapeño mac and cheese," behaved like "just a complete a__hole." What you wouldn't expect is that one of the people who holds that opinion is Luke Gatti himself.

Gatti, you will recall, hit the big time thanks to a says-it-all clip called "Drunk Kid Wants Mac and Cheese." The video has since been removed due to a copyright claim by someone named Michael Vincent Uccello. (The young man's father is named Vincent Gatti.) But copies still abound, so you can view for yourself portions of the outburst, featuring Gatti referring to the school’s Union Street Market manager as a "a f__king fag" and "f___ing retard," mocking the man's job, belligerently insisting he can pay for the food and ultimately, becoming physically aggressive. Soon after the UConn incident, photos surfaced of Gatti apparently leaving the campus, though the college says he is still enrolled.

Now, in a two and a half minute video posted this week to his YouTube channel, a contrite Gatti says he'd "like to get a few things out there." He apologizes to his family, friends and to his school community, but first and foremost to "all of the staff involved in my incident, especially the manager, who was just doing his job." And he adds, "I was just a complete a__hole to him. No one deserves to be treated that way. Ever." He admits he was "very intoxicated" at the time and says he was shocked when he saw the video because "I don't treat people this way." Interesting, because last year, while a student at the University of Massachusetts Gatti was arrested two times for disorderly conduct. In one of the incidents, the police report noted he'd yelled "F__k you, n____r" at one of the cops. Gatti now suggests that the jokers who've said they want to send him mac and cheese can instead donate to their local food pantry, because "There's a lot of hungry people out there." And he acknowledges that "I've got some problems that I am addressing. This was seriously the wake-up call."

It certainly seems hard to dispute that if you're 19 and have had three incidents involving law enforcement in the span of about a year, you do indeed have "some problems." But Gatti's father says the response his son's misdeeds has been out of proportion. Though the young man is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of second-degree breach of peace and criminal trespass, the Gattis have filed for a continuance. Vincent Gatti says the family is "fearful of how terribly out of control this has gotten," because they have "been hit with a barrage of yelling, screaming, cursing, obnoxious, horrible, hateful, spiteful people berating me and my son for screaming and cursing and berating a stranger. There's been a world full of people doing exactly what my son did and feeling justified in doing so."

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when someone does something pretty goddamn awful, the self-appointed Internet Justice League will respond, without any sense of irony or self-awareness, with a frightening degree of vigilantism. Because nothing says, "I, unlike you, am a good and moral person" like doxxing and harassment and threats. It is the dumbest and most transparent excuse for bullying in the world. That said, Gatti's dad isn't helping matters by saying, "He's a kid that made a bad mistake. My son was wrong and feels terrible about this." Lots of kids — even mistake-making kids — do not turn into racist, homophobic, class-flaunting entitlement monsters when they have a few drinks in them. That is not about behavior, that's about learned attitudes and about character. And if the younger Gatti has truly experienced a "wake-up call," he needs understand that. So, apparently, does his dad.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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