Times Talk Show Hosts Had To Apologize For Their Guests' Behavior

Talk shows are notoriously outlandish, to say the least — so when it comes to a "controversial" guest, the bar can be pretty low. Still, some hosts have been known to apologize for their guests (especially political ones *cough* Fox News). 

The constant "apology" cycle keeps us on a nice merry-go-round of emotions, though. First, you have the initial sting of an unbelievably insensitive comment ... next, the Twitter explosion ... and finally, the outpouring of mea culpas from the unwitting hosts, who obviously failed to protect our virgin ears, yet again. Without these apologies, where would we be? Woefully under-entertained, no doubt!

Because we know you're here for a hit of some of that juicy YouTube, here's a look back at some of the times talk show hosts had to apologize for their guests' behavior. Consider yourself warned: These moments ain't pretty, but they still make great TV. Sit back and enjoy.

Fox News apologized for the guest who bullied Greta Thunberg

While many people were impressed by teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg's impassioned speech at the United Nations General Assembly, one guy clearly was not

Conservative pundit Michael Knowles (above left), who was a guest on the Fox News talk show, The Story, seemed to dismiss Thunberg by calling her "a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left." Immediately, another guest tried to shut him down by saying, "Shame on you" for speaking negatively about a child.

Although The Story anchor Harris Faulkner didn't directly apologize for Knowles' comments, her network did with the following statement (via CNN): "The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful — we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers."

But Knowles wasn't about to apologize. He even retweeted the video, saying: "Her mother wrote a book about her mental issues. There is nothing shameful about living with mental disorders. What is shameful is exploiting a child — particularly a child with mental disorders — to advance your political agenda."

Interestingly, Thunberg (above right) had already risen above negative characterizations before this even happened. A month earlier, she had tweeted: "When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you're winning! I have Aspergers and that means I'm sometimes a bit different from the norm. And — given the right circumstances — being different is a superpower. #aspiepower"

Nicole Wallace apologized for her guest's claim about Trump

When guest Raul Reyes (above right) said on MSNBC that President Trump's rhetoric suggested an "extermination of Latinos," host Nicolle Wallace (above left) quickly jumped on board with the comment — which later blew up like a grenade.

According to Fox News, Reyes, an opinion columnist for USA Today, had been criticizing how President Trump referred to the increase of illegal immigrants headed to the U.S. border as an "infestation." Asked Reyes: "What do you do with an infestation? With an infestation, the natural conclusion is to attempt an extermination. So, to me, there's very little distinction between his inciting this violence and the fact it's now happening." 

Wallace later gave the comment even more life by saying: "President Obama used the power of the presidency to try to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with the Latino community, Latino leaders, at the table. You now have a president, as you said, talking about exterminating Latinos."

Wallace later backed down from the statement and apologized with a tweet that read, "I misspoke about Trump calling for an extermination of Latinos. My mistake was unintentional and I'm sorry. Trump's constant assault on people of color and his use of the word "invasion" to describe the flow of immigrants is intentional and constant."

Two Fox News hosts apologized for Kid Rock's potty mouth

Musician Kid Rock (above right) got rousing applause from the audience when he made an unexpected comment on a live segment for Fox & Friends. After expressing his disappointment over "the division in the country right now," and how he wished people could "be cordial with one another and just talk about things without going for each other's throats," he then gave his advice for America, which was: "Love everybody, except, I'd say, screw that Joy Behar b***h." After the crowd roared in approval, host Steve Doocy (above left) interrupted to remind Rock, "You cannot say that." With this hand over his mouth, Rock then said, "I mean lady." 

Obviously the show's audience didn't seem offended by the comment in the least, but according to reports, Fox had been trying to cut down on the amount of inappropriate comments made by guests. So not only did Doocy jump all over this one, but his co-host Ainsley Earhardt also issued an apology later on behalf of the show (via The Hollywood Reporter). Behar herself, meanwhile, responded to Kid Rock on The View: "All I can say is, this b***h, and these b***hes [pointing to her co-hosts] would be happy to have you on the show and have a beer!"

Pat Sajak is sorry he gave former guest Keith Olbermann a platform

While many people might not even remember that Pat Sajak (above left) once had his own talk show, the longtime Wheel of Fortune host once took it upon himself to apologize for one of his old guests — none other than liberal commentator Keith Olbermann(above right).

The politically conservative Sajak penned an article for the right-leaning website Ricochet, saying he regretted having Keith Olbermann on his short-lived talk show back in the late '80s. At that time, Olbermann was a sportscaster, and Sajak had him on several times. The article was titled, "Mea Culpa: I put Keith Olbermann on National TV," with the first line being, "This YouTube video reminded me that I was the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America." Sajak wrote that he now thinks that Olbermann has become a "bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller" on MSNBC.

Olbermann hit back at Sajak (via The Hollywood Reporter) by saying, 'I think if he needs to apologize for anything, it needs to be that talk show."

Stuart Varney apologized for Rep. Louie Gohmert's conspiracy theory

On an December 2018 appearance on Fox Business, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (above right) had some strong things to say about Hungarian Jewish billionaire George Soros, even though the conversation had nothing to do with him. It started when Gohmert claimed that Google was helping to oppress people in China.

Then for some reason, Gohmert switched gears, and took a dig at Soros, saying: "You mentioned Orwell, it also reminds me of another George, George Soros. Because Google is born in a free country, and then they go over and oppress others, help oppress in another country. George Soros is supposed to be Jewish, but you wouldn't know it from the damage he's inflicted on Israel, and the fact that he turned on fellow Jews, and helped take the property that they own."

It should be noted that Snopes thoroughly debunked this popular right wing conspiracy theory two years before Gohmert's talk show remarks. However, since Gohmert wasn't the first one to accuse Soros of betraying his own people, maybe that's why he felt comfortable doubling down on his website later, claiming Soros "had no regrets whatsoever about assisting the Nazis in confiscating property from the Jewish people during the Holocaust. That is a fact."  

Fox business host Stuart Varney (above left) later apologized for Gohmert's remarks, calling them "unsubstantiated and false allegations." He continued, "I want to make clear those views are not shared by me, this program, or anyone at Fox Business."

Fox News' Rick Leventhal was sorry his guest compared Hillary Clinton to what?

When you're a politician, people will say anything about you — and nobody's proven that more than Fox News guest Anna Paulina (above right), Turning Point USA's director of hispanic engagement, who made a scathing remark about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

While she was on Fox News — on Thanksgiving day, no less — Paulina first attempted to comment on U.S. border issues when host Rick Leventhal (above right) reminded her that they were actually starting with a discussion of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. Leventhal and his other guest then joked about how they couldn't believe they were still talking about that investigation, when Paulina chimed in, "She won't go away. She's like herpes."

After what looked like a stunned silence, a wide-eyed Leventhal said sarcastically, "Okay, that's news that we are breaking here. Not appropriate." He then added later: "We're going to wrap this segment a little early ... because of some of the language used in the segment and we apologize to our viewers for that."

The guest Keith Olbermann apologized for was actually his guest host

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann (above left) decided to clear the air after one of his guest hosts, Alison Stewart (above right), dedicated his "Countdown" segment to poking fun at Wendy Vitter, wife of Senator David Vitter. The Vitters had given a press conference to announce their solidarity after David's number was found in a busted escort agency's files, and Stewart couldn't help but point out Wendy's attire — a form-fitting, animal-print dress. She even brought on her own guest, Jeff Bercovici of Radar Online, to help roast Wendy (via The Baltimore Sun).

Olbermann issued an apology after returning to the show, calling the conversation "unfortunate" and "inappropriate." He went on to say, "There was no justification for such a segment about what a woman, a victim of her husband's inappropriate behavior, was wearing in public. The story should not have aired, it should not have been couched in the terms used, it should not have happened, and it won't happen again" (via AdWeek)."

Charles Payne wouldn't let a guest's criticism of John McCain stand

The late Senator John McCain was known as an American hero after he was shot down over Vietnam, and then tortured for over five years as a prisoner of war. But these days, even that kind of patriotic record doesn't stop the trolls.

On Fox Business, military analyst Thomas McInerney (above right) referred to McCain as "Songbird John," using McCain to support his point that harsh interrogation techniques actually do work on prisoners of war. "The fact is, John McCain, it worked on John. That's why they call him 'Songbird John.' The fact is, those methods can work and they're effective, as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to."

Fox Business host Charles Payne (above left) apologized for failing to intervene in the name-calling, saying: "Regrettably, I did not hear the comments at the time; I was receiving instructions in my ear at that moment from producers. If I heard what he said the right way, I would have pushed back. I didn't. I blew it. As a proud military veteran and the son of a Vietnam Vet, I hold all those who served in the highest esteem."

It took four Fox News hosts to apologize for this one

Terrorism expert Steven Emerson (above right) initially went on Fox News to discuss security issues after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, but his strange comment about Muslims in England hijacked the entire conversation — both inside and outside the studio. 

In a discussion with host Jeanine Pirro (above left) about Muslim "no-go zones," Emerson claimed, "You basically have zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don't go in ... and where it's basically a separate country almost." He then said, "In Britain, it's not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don't go in."

According to statistics later provided by Fox, over 80 percent of Birmingham is non-Muslim. Twitter erupted in response, with many sarcastic tweets such as one from Sarfraz Mansoor, who quipped, "By the 1970s there were only a handful of white men left living in Birmingham. They were dubbed The Birmingham 6. #FoxNewsFacts." 

Not only did host Jeanine Pirro apologize on air, but three other Fox anchors did as well (via CNN). Maybe it was because even British Prime Minister David Cameron jumped in the ring, calling Emerson "a complete idiot." Emerson himself also apologized, saying, "I made an inexcusable error."

Wait, what was on this Japanese TV show guest's shirt that sparked an apology?

Apparently there's a pretty lax dress code on the set of the Japanese talk show Afternoon Live, and at one point, it caused complaints from viewers when a guest wore a questionable t-shirt.

Public broadcaster NHK, which produces Afternoon Live, apologized after entrepreneur Takafumi Horie (above) made an appearance while wearing a black t-shirt with Adolf Hitler's face on it. The shirt actually had a "no war" message on the back, but the cartoon graphic of Hitler on the front was offensive to many, and sparked outrage. 

Despite the criticism, Horie stood his ground when it came to the shirt's message, tweeting (via The Japan Times), "I have worn a shirt showing Hitler making a peace sign with the words 'NO WAR' a number of times, but this is the first time (my wearing this kind of shirt) went viral." He added, "Whichever way you look at it, wishing for peace is the only message you can see from this T-shirt."