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Sarah Silverman apologizes to Paris Hilton for 2007 jail joke

“My heart sank, because there was a person under there”

Comedian Sarah Silverman just issued an apology to Paris Hilton for a joke she made in 2007, right before the socialite was scheduled to check in to jail. She made the quip about Hilton’s jail sentence while hosting the MTV Movie Awards that year; She went to jail for violating parole after pleading no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving.

During an episode of her podcast on Thursday, Silverman said that she regretted her words instantly, not realizing at the time that the hotel heiress was actually in the audience.

“I said some very hardcore jokes about her,” the comedian said. “The crowd went bananas. And while I was thrilled at the success of my monologue, I remember spotting her in the audience. ... I remember seeing that look on her face, and my heart sank, because there was a person under there.

Silverman went on to say she wrote Paris a letter soon after the show, apologizing for the joke. However, on her own podcast earlier this week, Hilton said she never heard from Sarah.

“I’m just real sorry my note didn’t get to her because I really meant it,” Silverman explained. “I regretted the jokes, not years later but kind of immediately. ... So here I am, 14 years later, telling you, Paris, that I am really sorry.

She continued, “I was then, and I am — much more completely and with far more understanding — now. I can’t imagine what you were going through at that time. ... I’m sorry I hurt you ... I hope that you accept my apology, and I hope that you feel my remorse. I felt it the second I saw your face that night.”

Though she didn’t get her letter more than a decade ago, Paris is accepting Silverman’s apology now. On the most recent episode of her podcast, This Is Paris, she thanked Silverman, saying she appreciated the gesture.

“She was so genuine, and so sweet, and it really moved me,” Hilton said. “I felt emotional hearing it. And I could tell that she really did mean what she said when she was apologizing.

This apology from Silverman came just a few days after Hilton opened up about her experience at the ceremony on her podcast, calling the comedian’s behavior “disgusting and so cruel and mean.” She also admitted she was already “very nervous” to attend the event hours before she went to jail, which was only made worse by the host’s joke.

“To sit in the audience with her literally just publicly humiliating me ... I was sitting there wanting to die,” Hilton recalled. “I was trying to hold back my tears so hard. ... I literally wanted to run out of the entire room, but I just was trying to be strong and just sit there.

She continued, “The whole audience is laughing and ... [she] would not stop. It was so painful — especially [with] what I was going through in my life. To then have someone being so mean about it was really hard.”

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