- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

Jenna Bush Hager gave a teary-eyed apology on the “Today” show Monday morning after she conflated the titles of two Golden Globe-nominated films featuring black casts.

The NBC News correspondent was covering her first red carpet for the network Sunday when she made the flub during an interview with singer and producer Pharrell Williams, who was nominated for best original score in the movie “Hidden Figures.”

Mrs. Bush Hager confused the biographical film about three black women who helped NASA catch up in the space race with “Fences,” a nominated 1950s-based film based on the August Wilson play, starring Denzel Washington.

“So you’re nominated for ‘Hidden Fences’…” Mrs. Bush Hager said Sunday night to a visibly perplexed Mr. Williams. A clip of the flub went viral on social media, and many users chose turned it into a racial issue and example of “white privilege.” Michael Keaton made the same mistake later in the night while presenting the best supporting actress award, sparking the Twitter hashtag #HiddenFences.

Mrs. Bush Hager apologized on air Monday morning for her “error.”

“When I was interviewing the incomparable Pharrell, who I adore, I accidentally — in the electricity of the red carpet, which I’ve never done one before — called ‘Hidden Figures’ ‘Hidden Fences,’ ” she told co-hosts Al Roker and Natalie Morales. “I have seen both movies, thought they were both brilliant. I’ve interviewed casts for both of the movies and if I offended people I am deeply sorry.”

“It was a mistake, because ya’ll know I’m not perfect,” she said tearfully. “I am authentic, but a human. And what I didn’t want to do is make anyone lesser than who they are. I apologize to both the cast, to Pharrell but it was a mistake and I hope we can move on.”

Her colleagues jumped in to support her, with Mr. Roker slamming the “culture of Twitter and people waiting to pounce.”

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