On the air less than two weeks, late-night newcomer Lilly Singh is facing her first bit of backlash and now apologizing for a joke she made on her show earlier this week.
Some viewers took issue with the comment, tweeting their criticism, which Singh did not respond to. When the host tweeted on Friday: “Don’t take yourself too seriously today. Have fun. You deserve it,” some assumed she was referring to the criticism she’d received for her joke on the show, and it was met with more backlash as people accused her of minimizing the criticism. But in a follow-up tweet, Singh explained her earlier comment had nothing to do with the criticism of her joke, but made an “important and heartfelt apology” for it.
Singh opens by saying her Friday morning tweet was poorly timed and unrelated to the Punjabi comment criticism but instead was targeted at “online hate” because of “someone making fun of my outfit.” In explaining the Punjabi joke, Singh says she “stupidly made a comparison about turbans that I’d like to apologize for.” When Alba told Singh that her kids were embarrassed that she saw them with towels twisted on their heads, Singh says her instinct was to assure them that they shouldn’t be. “In the moment, my thought process was ‘don’t be embarrassed! I think that’s dope.’ But in hindsight I recognize that was a disrespectful and problematic joke to make that has a lot of painful history behind it. And I’m very sorry.”
Singh, who was born in Canada to parents originally from India’s Punjab state, explains that the show with Alba is the first show she ever taped and her nervous energy led to bad improv. She goes on to express her appreciation to “the people who took the time to bring this to my attention and educate me on the matter… I don’t wear a turban and I haven’t lived that experience and so I really value people giving perspective.”
Singh says the “stupid joke” has been removed from the episode and all online clips.
“Thank you and here’s to a life of growth and improvement,” she ends her apology.
A very important and heartfelt apology. I’m sorry. And thank you for helping me grow 🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/Q2JBI2VEDj— Lilly Singh // #LateWithLilly (@Lilly) September 27, 2019
Singh followed up the statement up with a video about the cultural history of turbans.
Also, education is love so I’d like to shine light on this great video discussing the turban. Thank you again. 🙏🏽🙏🏽https://t.co/QGBfRqSZDy— Lilly Singh // #LateWithLilly (@Lilly) September 27, 2019
A Little Late With Lilly Singh airs every Monday through Thursday at 1:35 a.m. ET on NBC.