Sarah Silverman apologizes to Paris Hilton 14 years after making jokes about her jail sentence at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards

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Claudia Willen
·4 min read
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sarah silverman paris hilton
Sarah Silverman apologized to Paris Hilton. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images
  • Sarah Silverman apologized to Paris Hilton on Thursday for joking about her jail sentence in 2007.

  • She said she immediately regretted the roast and wrote Hilton a letter saying she was sorry.

  • Hilton accepted the comedian's apology during an impromptu podcast episode Thursday.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sarah Silverman apologized to Paris Hilton on Thursday for cracking jokes about her jail sentence at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards.

While hosting the show, the comedian told the audience that the guards were "going to paint the bars to look like penises" to make Hilton more comfortable. She then said the socialite would "break her teeth on those things."

Hilton, who had been sentenced to 45 days in jail after a judge ruled she violated her probation for a previous traffic offense, was in the audience.

On Monday's episode of the podcast "This Is Paris," Hilton recalled "sitting there wanting to die" as everyone around her laughed at Silverman's jabs. She also said she was checking herself into jail directly after the show.

The stand-up comic responded to Hilton days later on "The Sarah Silverman Podcast" and said she "would never do those jokes today."

She explained that as the show's host in 2007, she "roasted all the nominees and biggest names of the day."

Hilton, she said, was "the biggest thing in the news back then."

At the time of the MTV Movie Awards, Silverman said she wasn't aware that Hilton would be in the audience nor did she know about her plans to check herself into jail right after the event.

But by the time she caught a glimpse of Hilton, the damage was done.

"While I was thrilled at the success of my monologue, I remember spotting her in the audience. I really do. I remember seeing that look on her face, and my heart sank. There was a person under there," Silverman said.

sarah silverman
Sarah Silverman at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

The comedian "regretted the jokes" immediately, she said, explaining that she wrote Hilton a letter days later apologizing. Silverman said she never heard back and suspects Hilton never received her note.

So, she took the opportunity to apologize directly on her podcast.

"Here I am, 14 years later, telling you, Paris, that I am really sorry. I was then, and I am much more completely and with far more understanding now," she said.

Silverman continued, "I can't imagine what you were going through at that time. My understanding of humanity through the lens of my work as a comedian had not yet merged. I'm sorry I hurt you. Comedy is not evergreen. We can't change the past. What's crucial is that we change with the times."

Representatives for Hilton did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment regarding whether or not she received Silverman's letter.

Hilton accepted Silverman's apology

"The Simple Life" star recorded an impromptu "This Is Paris" episode on Thursday thanking Silverman for her "genuine" and "sweet" apology.

After a friend texted Hilton an article recapping the comedian's podcast episode, she listened to Silverman's message. Hilton said she was both "shocked" and "pleasantly surprised," as she didn't expect an apology.

"It really moved me. I felt emotional hearing it, and I could tell that she really did mean what she said when she was apologizing," Hilton said on the episode.

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is a socialite, actress, and entrepreneur. Mike Coppola / Getty Images

She added, "Thank you. I really really appreciate you doing that. I know it's difficult for anyone to apologize and for someone to do that really means a lot."

Hilton said she teared up listening to Silverman recount the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, a night that's "haunted" her for years. She added that she never received the comedian's letter but said she would have loved to read it.

Silverman has also been criticized for her jokes about Britney Spears

Silverman recently addressed another decade-old controversy following the release of The New York Times' "Framing Britney Spears."

The TV documentary, available on FX and Hulu, includes a clip of Silverman roasting Spears after the singer's highly criticized comeback performance at the 2007 MTV VMAs.

The comedian joked that, at 25, the pop star had "already accomplished everything that she is going to accomplish in her life" and called her children "adorable mistakes."

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Over a decade later, people called out Silverman for perpetuating the misogynistic treatment of women in entertainment.

In response, she tweeted, "I was known then 4 roasts. MTV asked me to mini-roast Britney after her big performance. While she was performing I was having diarrhea & going over my jokes. Had no idea she didn't kill. Unfortunate. Art changes over yrs as we know more & the world changes."

Silverman followed up, "I wish I could delete it but I can't."

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