Joy Behar issues on-air apology for anti-Christian remarks

(YouTube/Real Time with Bill Maher)Joy Behar appears in a screen capture of a video from Real Time with Bill Maher.

"The View" co-host Joy Behar has apologized on air for the remarks she made last month when she compared Vice President Mike Pence's Christian beliefs to a "mental illness."

Behar had already apologized to Pence personally, but she issued a public apology on the daytime talk show on Tuesday after the vice president urged her to ask forgiveness from the millions of Americans who were also offended by her remarks.

"I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone's religious faith and I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said," Behar told viewers, as reported by Daily Mail.

Behar's comments about Pence's faith were made during the Feb. 13 episode of "The View," in which the hosts discussed criticisms made by former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman against Pence during a segment of "Celebrity Big Brother."

Newman had told her fellow contestants of the reality TV show that Pence was "extreme" and that "he thinks Jesus tells him to say things."

In response, Behar said: "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks to you. That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct - hearing voices."

Pence took issue with Behar's comments the next day and castigated ABC, which airs "The View."

"To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong. It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance," the vice president said on C-SPAN.

On Monday, Pence revealed on Fox News that Behar personally called him to apologize, and said that she was "very sincere."

The vice president took the opportunity to urge Behar to "apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended," prompting her to issue an apology on her program the next morning.

Behar's phone call to the vice president was not disclosed to the public until Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the controversy by an employee of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Iger said that he was glad that Behar apologized and stressed that he did not think her statement was right.

ABC executives reportedly wanted to keep the phone call between Behar and Pence, but Iger mentioned it while defending his company.

The network reportedly received 30,000 complaints about Behar's remark after The Media Research Center, a conservative content analysis organization, urged viewers to call ABC to complain about "anti-Christian bigotry."

Fox News reported that the watchdog group is still running a campaign asking viewers to contact advertisers of "The View" to complain about Behar's remarks.

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