Jerry Lewis has apologised after almost using the word ‘faggot’ on live TV.
The comic was quickly criticised for making the comment during his annual marathon telethon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Clearly the worse for wear after 18 hours on air, the 81-year-old weaved around the studio before introducing members of an imaginary camera.
He said: ‘Oh, your family has come to see you. You remember Bart, your oldest son, Jesse, the illiterate fag ...’ before catching himself and trying to move on.
The clip was posted on file sharing websites – though it appears to have been removed now – prompting condemnation from gay rights groups who said the words were ‘hurtful’.
Lewis later said: ‘I apologise to anyone who was offended. I obviously made a bad choice of words. Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard.
‘The success of the show and all the good that will come from it shouldn't be lost because of one unfortunate word.
‘I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses. I am sorry.’
The 42nd annual event raised a record $63.7 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Here’s a CNN report, including the contentious clip: