UPDATE: The American Nurses Association has accepted Behar's apology

Credit: Chance Yeh/FilmMagic; Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

The View co-hosts Joy Behar and Michelle Collins have addressed the controversy that erupted Monday when their comments regarding Kelley Johnson’s Miss America monologue about being a nurse went viral.

“We love nurses. We adore you. We respect you. You guys are wonderful,” Collins said during Wednesday’s broadcast. “You’re the most compassionate people. I was not talking about nurses, we were talking about the talent competition, and it got misconstrued.”

During the talent portion of the competition on Sunday, Miss Colorado took to the stage in her nurse’s uniform to deliver a monologue, during which she discussed an Alzheimer’s patient named Joe who reminded her of the reason she became a nurse.

The following Monday, Collins brought up the speech, saying, “She came out in a nurse’s uniform and basically read her emails out loud and shockingly did not win.”

“Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” Behar asked, which Collins followed up by saying, “She helps patients with Alzheimer’s, which I know is not funny, but I swear you had to see it.”

The exchange sparked a backlash on social media, which led to the creation of the hashtag “#NursesUnite.” Many called for an apology from The View co-hosts, and also pointed out that nurses wear stethoscopes, too.

During Wednesday’s broadcast, Behar admitted she was “just not paying attention,” and thought Johnson might have just been in “costume.”

“I was just not paying attention. I was looking at a Miss America tape, and there’s a woman wearing an outfit with a stethoscope, and I’m thinking is she in a costume? I didn’t know she was a nurse. I’m used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits,” Behar said. “It’s not like I was trying to be funny. It was just stupid and inattentive on my part. I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. My son-in-law is a physician assistant, one of my nieces is a nurse, so I mean I know they use stethoscopes, I just was not paying attention.”

Fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg added, “You have to listen. You have to pay attention, you have to look at folks and say, ‘Is that what they said or did she just make a joke?’ That’s the thing. You just gotta listen.”

Following Wednesday’s airing of The View, Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association, released a statement concerning the controversy and addressed co-host Joy Behar’s apology:

“Nurses have a professional, ethical obligation to their patients, and are committed to transforming the health care system to achieve better health outcomes at reduced cost,” Cipriano wrote, “That’s why it was disturbing when Joy Behar, co-host of “The View,” used her national platform and influence to mock Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson for wearing a ‘doctor’s stethoscope’ while performing a dramatic monologue about her experience as a registered nurse during the pageant’s talent competition, as if Johnson were wearing a costume.”

Cipriano continued by saying the organization was “pleased” that Behar had apologized and added that this is a “great opportunity for those in the media to highlight the important, lifesaving role of nurses and show them the respect they deserve.”

This post has been updated. A previous version featured a small error in Behar’s comments owing to the fact they were transcribed as the show was being broadcast live.

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