Ricky Gervais has admitted he was "naive" to use a derogatory word associated with Down Syndrome in his online blog after speaking to a mother of two disabled daughters.
"The Office" creator outraged campaigners earlier this week by posting the word "mong" on his Twitter page, but refused to apologize.
He branded his critics "humorless" and insisted he did not use the word as a way of describing those with Down Syndrome.
But after Nicola Clarke, a mother of two disabled daughters, broke down on BBC Radio 2 while discussing how her children were regularly called the name in public, Gervais contacted her through Twitter to apologize.
He then answered her questions publicly on his page, and when asked if he understood why the term upset people and how he felt now, he replied, "I do now. Never dreamed that idiots still use that word aimed at people with Down's Syndrome (sic). Still find it hard to believe.
"(I feel ) a mixture of confusion, anger, terror and disappointment. But mostly naive. Never meant the word like that..."
When he asked her for her opinion on him after they had discussed the matter, she replied, "I think that had I not spoken to you, I would have believed that you were a bully. The 'Tweets' seemed out of step with your work."