Sorry, hypocrite Stephen Colbert, your non-apology to Kate Middleton over vile slurs doesn't wash

POLITICS: Sorry, hypocrite Stephen Colbert, your non-apology to Kate Middleton over vile slurs doesn’t wash

“I’d like to be remembered,” late-night host Stephen Colbert once mused, “as someone who took advantage of his position to influence public opinion for the better.”

A devout Catholic who teaches Sunday school, Colbert rarely misses an opportunity to assume mountainously high moral ground when it comes to lecturing and hectoring those who he believes fall short of his own world-enhancing talent.

 He has standards, you see.

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert said he regrets making jokes about Kate Middleton’s disappearance from public life following her surgery. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

 And he’s very keen to regularly remind us of those standards.

Last night, on “The Late Show,” Colbert was at it again, telling his viewers:

“There’s a standard that I try to hold myself to, and that is I do not make light of somebody else’s tragedy.”

He explained: “For the last six weeks, everyone has been talking about the mystery of Kate Middleton’s disappearance from public life and two weeks ago, we did some jokes about that mystery and all the attendant fruit-fry in the reporting about that, and when I made those jokes, that upset some people even before her diagnosis was revealed.”

Then he added: “I don’t know whether her prognosis is a tragic one, she’s the future queen of England and I assume she’s going to get the best possible medical care, but regardless of what it is, far too many of us know that any cancer diagnosis of any kind is harrowing for the patient and for their family, and though I’m sure they don’t need it from me, I and everyone here at ‘The Late Show’ would like to extend our well wishes and heartfelt hope that her recovery is swift and thorough.”

 Awww … how thoughtful, how touching, how compassionate!

 And yet in reality, how pathetically disingenuous.

Colbert didn’t just crack “some jokes” about Kate Middleton’s disappearance.

He chose to deliberately promote an unsubstantiated piece of untrue tittle-tattle gossip about her husband, Prince William, having an affair with one of her best friends, Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley.

We know it’s a lie because lawyers for Hanbury promptly issued a statement saying: “We have written on our client’s behalf to CBS and various other reputable media organizations to confirm that the allegation is false.”

But putting aside the fact that the gossip was untrue, why the hell was Colbert choosing that moment to repeat it anyway?

His pitiful excuse for a non-apology last night, in which he didn’t say sorry, suggested that it was only once Kate’s illness turned out to be cancer that his “jokes” became something he should feel bad about.

Kate Middleton revealed last week that she has been diagnosed with cancer. BBC Studios via AP

Yet it’s been known since January that the Princess of Wales had serious abdominal surgery that required two weeks in the hospital, and the palace said she’d be out of action until after Easter.

It’s also been known since February that her father-in-law, King Charles III, also has cancer.

So cracking ANY “jokes” about either of them while they receive treatment — or about their very worried husband and son, for that matter — is tastelessly inappropriate at best. Particularly for someone like Colbert, who wants us to think he has a standard of never making light of somebody else’s tragedy.

Frankly, I find that claim rather hard to believe given that when I watched his taunting, vile monologue on March 12, it looked to me like he was deliberately pouring gasoline onto the fire of Kate’s misery as she battled a serious health condition.

This is what Colbert said: “I’m afraid I have some troubling news about England’s royal family. The kingdom has been all aflutter about the seeming disappearance of Kate Middleton. Well, now internet sleuths are guessing that Kate’s absence may be related to her husband and the future king of England, William, having an affair!”

Cue whoops, laughs and gasps from the audience.

He then displayed a headline about “rumors over William’s relationship with Rose Hanbury,” clutched his chest, exclaimed with fake concern, “My heart goes out to poor Kate” and marched toward the camera to gleefully cry: “Now let’s dish the hot goss, I am ready to spill the tea!”

That he duly did, saying scornfully: “So I think we all know who the alleged other woman is, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. It says William laughed it off … ‘Haha’ is always a good excuse when your wife accuses you of cheating!”

Colbert promoted the unsubstantiated rumor on his show that Prince William was having an affair with Rose Hanbury. POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Again, none of this gossip is true, which makes Colbert’s decision to repeat it indefensible.

And now we know that Kate discovered she had cancer just two weeks before he did this, which makes Colbert’s cruel taunts about her marriage not just indefensible but utterly shameful.

Yet despite widespread fury, he refuses to even apologize for it.

What I find so odd about all this is that he knows better than anyone what it’s like for a family to endure pain, after losing his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash when he was just 10 years old.

That horrendous incident doubtless guides his determination to “influence public opinion for the better” and to “not make light of somebody else’s tragedy.”

Yet here he was, knowing a mother of three young children had a serious health issue, falsely informing the world her husband cheated on her with one of her friends.

It’s hard to imagine a more disgusting failure to live up to a self-imposed standard.

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