• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
DEC
11
12 MOS

'Today' Show Apologizes for Sign Language Interpreter Joke (Video)

The joke referenced the news that the interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral allegedly used fake signs.

Today Show Screengrab 12/11/2013 - H 2013

The Today show apologized for a joke aired on Wednesday morning's broadcast that riffed on the news that the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral allegedly used fake signs during world leaders' remarks.

During a segment detailing the Mandela news, an inset image of a man mimicking the motions of sign language appeared onscreen for several seconds on Today.

PHOTOS: NBC's 'Today' Celebrates 60th Anniversary

The hosts appear to immediately recognize that the joke was in poor taste. "No, guys, let's not do that," said host Natalie Morales as soon as the image appeared onscreen. "No, no, wrong," added Al Roker, who covered his face with his hands. 

"We aired a joke in our 9:00 hour that was offensive. We apologize to our viewers," the show later wrote on its official Twitter account. 

The online clip that Today posted on its website shows a different angle than the widely circulated YouTube clip showing the incident (below, via New York Daily News). Only the audible reactions of Morales and Roker can be heard in the official Today clip.