NBC apologizes for Jane Fonda's offensive word

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television network NBC apologized for itself and actress Jane Fonda on Thursday after she used an offensive word on the “Today Show.”

Actress Jane Fonda arrives to be honored by the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP) during "An Evening With Jane Fonda" fundraiser in West Hollywood on January 19, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

NBC called it “a slip” and said they did not mean to offend audiences.

Fonda was on the program on Thursday with playwright Eve Ensler to discuss Ensler’s award-winning work, “The Vagina Monologues,” in which women talk about their sexuality using frank language about their bodies and references to genitalia.

“Vagina Monologues” has spawned a movement called V-Day that aims to stop violence against women, and it is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Thursday.

Over the years, celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek, Sally Field, Glenn Close and Fonda have become involved in V-Day. On the “Today Show,” Fonda explained how she first heard of “Vagina Monologues.”

“I was asked to do a monologue called ‘C***,’ and I said, ‘I don’t think so. I’ve got enough problems,” Fonda said. “Then I came to New York to see Eve and it changed my life.”

The “Today Show” airs live on the U.S. East Coast, and the word was not muted or bleeped. Moments later program host Meredith Vieira apologized to audiences.

“Jane Fonda inadvertently said a word from the play that you don’t say on television. It was a slip and obviously she apologizes and so do we,” Vieira said. “We would do nothing to offend the audience, so please accept that apology.”

U.S. broadcast standards and practices bar the use of the word uttered by Fonda.

NBC said for other U.S. time zones, it silenced the word and covered the video with a still photo when Fonda uttered it.

NBC is part of the NBC Universal media division of General Electric Co.

Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Xavier Briand