I'm no defender of Shatner, but I think it's obvious that he thought he was playing around a bit with Wil. What Shatner apparently didn't know, and wouldn't being Shatner, is that it doesn't take much to hurt a kid and Wil was one of those too-sensitive types on top of that.
Doesn't excuse being an insensitive jerk, which is everyones main beef, but I don't think he meant to hurt Wil.
I was actually thinking this too. Even at 16, if I was in Wil's place, I don't think I would have been as hurt...probably not hurt at all. I think Wil was probably just a sweeter, more vulnerable kid.
I grew up in NY and would probably have gotten a big kick out of Shatner breaking my balls like that and would have continued to talk to him and try to bring him around. Even if he didn't come around...I can still more fully understand that kind of attitude and recognize it for what it is...a minor form of grandstanding and ball-breaking. I think the Shat probably legitimately regretted hurting Wil, because, as was stated above...he didn't really mean to hurt him. I betcha Gene didn't tell him to apologize, probably just told him how bad Wil took it.
That said...there obviously was and still is alot of arrogance there (with the Shat), it's just a question of whether or not you can overlook certain degrees of arrogance and eccentricity in a celeb based on how cool they are in other ways. Jack Nicholson...the coolest man alive...can reportedly be real jerk sometimes, but everyone loves it. He's Jack.