May 4, 2017 / 2:17 PM / a year ago

'I don't regret that': Colbert responds to backlash sparked by crude joke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The late-night television show host Stephen Colbert unapologetically responded to criticism of a crude joke he made about U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that prompted calls for the comedian to be fired.

FILE PHOTO: The marquee for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" is seen on the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Colbert, host of “The Late Show” on CBS, said on Wednesday he did “not regret” making an oral sex joke on Monday night about Trump and Putin during a scathing diatribe against the U.S. president.

“Folks, if you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset with Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine,” said Colbert, 52, referring to an earlier comment Trump made to CBS “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson about his show.

“At the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that,” he added, the audience breaking out in applause.

The bleeped joke triggered a #FireColbert trending Twitter hashtag, with Trump supporters pleading for a boycott of CBS Corp advertisers, some people accusing Colbert of being homophobic, others accusing left-wingers of hypocrisy, and still more defending the comedian.

“I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight,” Colbert said. “While I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”

Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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