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Jerry Lewis Apologizes for Gay Slur

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Sep 05, 2007 | 5:39am EDT

Comedian Jerry Lewis has publicly apologized for using the word "fag" during his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon.

The funnyman caused controversy during the Labor Day fundraiser when he called a family member an "illiterate fag."

The comedian was in the 17th hour of his 22-hour TV stint when he seemed to forget the show was airing live across America.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Lewis said, "That something like this would distract from the true purpose of the telethon pains me deeply.

"The success of the show and all the good that will come of it shouldn't be lost because of one unfortunate word. I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses. I am sorry."

Despite the slip-up, Lewis' MDA telethon went on to raise a record $63 million.

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