Paris Hilton was moved by comedian Sarah Silverman's apology for a 2007 joke about Hilton's brief time in jail on a DUI charge during the MTV Movie Awards that year. During an episode of The Sarah Silverman Podcast earlier this week, Silverman said she instantly felt bad about the joke after seeing that Hilton was in the audience and wrote a letter apologizing but never heard back. After hearing Silverman's apology, Hilton said on her own podcast she accepted the comedian's apology.
On Friday, Hilton released a surprise episode of her podcast This Is Paris to respond to Silverman's apology. "I was just shocked when I read [an article about the apology] at first and pleasantly surprised," Hilton said, reports PEOPLE. "And then I went and listened to her podcast, and she basically made like an eight and a half minute apology to me."
Silverman was "so genuine and so sweet and it really moved me," Hilton continued. She was "emotional" when she heard Silverman's apology and she could tell the former Sarah Silverman Program star really meant what she said. "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, speaking to Silverman.
The 2007 MTV Movie Awards happened the day before Hilton was set to start a 45-day jail sentence. "I heard that to make her feel comfortable in prison, the guards are going to paint the bars to look like penises," Silverman joked. "I just worry that she's gonna break her teeth on those things." On Monday, Hilton and sister Nicky Hilton discussed the joke while talking about the horrible treatment Hilton dealt with during the 2000s. Nicky called Silverman's joke "disgusting, vile, perverted," while Hilton said she felt like she was "wanting to die" inside. "I literally wanted to run out of the entire room, but I just was trying to be strong and sit there as the whole audience is laughing," Hilton recalled. "It was so painful, especially with what I was going through in my life, to then have people be so mean about it. It was really hard."
During The Sarah Silverman Podcast, Silverman recalled spotting Hilton in the audience after delivering her joke and "seeing that look on her face and my heart sank." She realized there "was a person under there" and Silverman said she wrote a letter to Hilton, but never got a response. "I regretted the jokes not years later, but kind of immediately," Silverman explained. "I wrote to let her know, but I know now that the letter didn't get to her. So, 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, I think, now."
Silverman hoped that her apology would "make it right" with Silverman. She also agreed with Nicky that her joke could not have been delivered in the same way in 2021. "I can't imagine what you were going through at the time," Silverman said on her podcast. "My understanding of humanity through the lens of my work as a comedian had not yet merged and I'm sorry I hurt you. Comedy is not evergreen. We can't change the past, so what's crucial is that we change with the times. I'm super down with reflecting on the past and my part in perpetuating real ugly s—."
This is not the first time Silverman has apologized for her jokes from the 2000s. After Framing Britney Spears inspired a reevaluation of media behavior during the 2000s, Silverman apologized for a Britney Spears joke she delivered in the same MTV awards ceremony, right after Spears performed "Gimme More."