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Howie Mandel backpedals on bulimia joke

After making an insensitive bulimia joke, the AGT judge publicly apologized on-air

By
Marilyn Malara
Howie Mandel arrives on the red carpet for the 'America's Got Talent' Pre-Show Red Carpet Event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on July 23, 2013. The host said joke making light of bulimia on live television, resulting in his public apology. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Howie Mandel arrives on the red carpet for the 'America's Got Talent' Pre-Show Red Carpet Event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on July 23, 2013. The host said joke making light of bulimia on live television, resulting in his public apology. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel apologized on live television for a joke made minutes before seemingly making light of a serious eating disorder.

Mandel noted that a show contestant named The Regurgitator made "bulimia entertaining" after witnessing the performer swallow various objects and pull them back up without missing a beat. "This would probably come out wrong," the AGT judge said before making the quip.

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Directly after the joke, the show reportedly entered a commercial break during which social media exploded with angry responses to the poorly delivered gag. Upon the show's return to air, Mandel paused another performer's critique to apologize.

"I just want to take a second to apologize," Mandel said. "I made a comment earlier, it's live television. I wasn't thinking. I made light of bulimia, which is a very serious eating disorder and mental health issue. I deal with mental health all the time, and I did something stupid. I should never make light of it. I apologize to anybody that was offended." He added, "I'm not perfect, I make mistakes."

Mandel, who personally struggles with OCD issues, published a repeat apology on Twitter Tuesday night. "I am NOT perfect," he wrote. "I make mistakes. I sincerely apologize to everyone who was offended."

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