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One of Hollywood's most famous faces has apologized for a joke about a "Jewish" nose.
Oscar winner Halle Berry called the New York Post Monday evening to apologize for a comment she'd made the previous Friday at a taping of The Tonight Show. In the segment, an audience member told the newspaper, Berry presented images of herself distorted by a computer, and upon seeing one in which she appeared with a large nose, remarked, "Here's where I look like my Jewish cousin."
"No one laughed," the audience member reported, "and [host] Jay [Leno] nervously said, 'I'm glad you said that and not me.'"
The word "Jewish" was cut from NBC's broadcast of Berry's appearance, though a brief silence can be heard between the surroundings words. After the edited comment, Berry is shown joking, "Oh my God, have I just, like, ruined my whole career?"
The incident follows a series of cases in the last year in which celebrities got caught making racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments. Radio host Don Imus and Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington lost their jobs earlier this year for their remarks, which targeted black women and gay men, respectively.
According to the New York Post item, Berry "sounded like she was near tears," in her call to the paper, telling a reporter, "I so didn't mean to offend anybody - and after the show I realized it could be seen as offensive, so I asked Jay to take it out, and he did."
The first black woman to win the Oscar for best actress, Berry explained that the "Jewish cousin" joke had first been made backstage by one of her three Jewish assistants, who she said had looked at the photo and told the 41-year-old star, "This could be your Jewish cousin!"
"But," the actress told The New York Post, "I didn't mean to offend anyone. I didn't. I didn't mean any harm â€¦ It was just supposed to be a silly segment. I am so sorry, and I apologize."
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