Stephen Colbert has fired back at the Twitter backlash.
The popular television host recently found himself on the receiving end of criticism following a racially insensitive tweet that was posted on Comedy Central's Twitter account @ColbertReport late last week, causing a number of Twitter users to rally to #CancelColbert.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, read: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."
"Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" is a reference to an Asian caricature Colbert has assumed on the show. The joke, which was originally delivered on-air and intended as a jab against racism, was part of a longer segment on Wednesday's episode about Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's new charity effort, which is believed by some to be an effort soften criticism of the team's name—a name that many have denounced as racist.
However, as Colbert himself said on last night's episode, "Who would've thought a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstandings?"
The episode begins with the 49-year-old star dreaming that his show is canceled before he wakes up from the nightmare and declares, "We almost lost me. I'm never going to take me for granted ever again …the interweb tried to swallow me whole but I am proud to say that I got lodged in its throat and it hacked me back up like a hastily-chewed chicken wing."
Colbert reiterated that the tweet did not come from his own Twitter handle @StephenAtHome, but rather "the brain trust over at my network" Comedy Central (he did the same via his personal social media page on Friday) and admitted he "understood how people were offended" when he saw the tweet with no context.
The comedian also assured the audience that he "is not a racist," saying, "I don't even see race. Not even my own. People tell me I'm white and I believe them because I just devoted six minutes explaining why I'm not a racist."
"To recap," Colbert continued. "A web editor I've never met posts a tweet on an account I don't control, outrages a hashtag activist, and the news media gets 72 hours of content. The system worked."
Colbert then vowed to shut down the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever and even brought in the founder of Twitter Biz Stone to "blow up" the @ColbertReport account (the page no longer exists).
"When you founded Twitter, did you do it just to attack me?" Colbert asked Stone.
What do you think of last night's episode? Tell us in the comments!