Jimmy Fallon has followed up an apology tweet with a sombre video addressing a recently resurfaced comedy sketch where he wore blackface while impersonating Chris Rock.
Fallon said he "wasn't going to have a normal show" on Monday because of "what's going on in our country", referring to the widespread civil unrest in the US triggered by the alleged murder of George Floyd by a police officer.
The Tonight Show host said he had to "really examine" himself after the 20 year old clip emerged from an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
"I was horrified... the thing that haunted me the most is: 'How do I say that I love this person?'" he said, referring to fellow comedian Chris Rock.
"I respect this guy more than I respect most humans. I am not a racist. I don't feel this way."
Fallon said he had been "advised to stay quiet" when the footage reappeared, thinking: "I'm going to make this worse, I don't know what to do."
"I thought about it, and I realised that I can't not say that I'm horrified and I'm sorry and I'm embarrassed".
"The silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing - staying silent. We need to say something," Fallon continued.
Later in the piece, Fallon interviewed the president and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson who commended the host on his opening monologue, calling it "powerful and courageous".