ABC News star Joy Behar apologized for mocking Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith on Tuesday, ending a month of outcry stemming from remarks she made that have been called “slander” and “anti-Christian bigotry.”
Pence appeared on Fox News Channel's “Hannity” Monday evening, urging Behar to apologize to “tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended” during the conversation – and she obliged.
“I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith and I fell short of that,” Behar said on Tuesday’s edition of “The View.”
“I sincerely apologize for what I said,” Behar added.
Behar’s controversial comments resulted in the Media Research Center launching a campaign to hold Behar accountable for spewing “anti-Christian bigotry” after she said that communicating with Jesus is a “mental illness” during a Feb. 13 episode of “The View” when discussing Pence’s faith.
Pence reportedly told Behar she should apologize to Christians during a private phone call, but the vice president doubled down on Fox News and apparently “The View” co-host took notice.
“I give Joy Behar a lot of credit. She picked up the phone. She called me. She was very sincere, and she apologized and one of the things my faith teaches me is grace; forgive as you've been forgiven,” Pence told Sean Hannity. “I'm still encouraging her, to use the forum of that program or some other public forum, to apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended.”
The vice president concluded his answer by saying that he hoped Behar "and others on the airwaves will come to appreciate the meaning and, if I could say it, the joy that comes from faith and respect that."
Behar’s call to Pence was undisclosed until Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the controversy during last week’s meeting with investors.
“What do you say to the tens of millions of Christians, and President Trump supporters, that your networks have so blatantly offended and ascribed hateful labels?” shareholder Justin Danhof asked Iger directly at Thursday's meeting. “Specifically, do you think, like Mrs. Hostin and Mrs. Behar, that the Christian faith is akin to a dangerous mental illness?”
Iger responded by saying, “I don’t know where I start. First of all, Joy Behar apologized to Vice President Pence directly. She made a call to him and apologized, which I thought was absolutely appropriate.”
Iger told the crowd he was “glad to hear” Behar apologized because he “takes exception” to what she said. ABC insiders said executives initially wanted to keep the call between Behar and Pence, but Iger mentioned it while defending his company.
MRC President Brent Bozell issued a statement declaring that Behar’s private apology was “not nearly enough” and promised to continue his campaign against “anti-Christian bigotry” at the network. Bozell’s watchdog group is presently running a campaign on behalf of aggrieved Christians, urging that viewers contact “View” advertisers about Behar’s “hateful, anti-Christian remarks.”
Upon learning of the apology, Bozell issued the following statement to Fox News: “Our campaign against ‘The View’ and Joy Behar has concluded. Even though it took a full month, Joy Behar did the right thing today to publicly apologize for her offensive remarks. I want to thank and congratulate the massive number of Americans who supported our effort and stood up to this anti-Christian bigotry with your calls, letters and messages. Over 43,000 phone calls were placed to ABC and their advertisers demanding an apology. This clearly has taken a toll on ABC and has left a black mark on advertisers Clorox, Gerber, Oreo and Home Advisor who were utterly silent in reply to the uproar from their Christian consumers. While our campaign is over, let it be made clear: we will not hesitate to come after any TV personality or media figure who engages in this type of anti-Christian bigotry. Nor will we spare any effort to denounce the sponsors of such hatred. Christians are fed up, and aren’t going to take it anymore.”