Mary Jane is a character traditionally filled by white actresses, and Zendaya has a mixed-race background. (Credit: Good Morning America)

GMA host: ‘Colored people’ remark ‘was a mistake’

Following a social media firestorm about her use of the phrase “colored people,” Good Morning America host Amy Robach issued an apology.

“This morning during a segment about Hollywood casting, I mistakenly said ‘colored people’ instead of ‘people of color,’” said Robach, a graduate of Brookwood High School in Snellville and the University of Georgia. “I sincerely apologize. It was a mistake and is not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life.”

“Colored people,” a label used during segregation, was replaced in the late 1960s by “black” and later by “African-American.” To some, “colored people” is the equivalent of a racial slur.

MORE: The Journey From ‘Colored’ To ‘Minorities’ To ‘People Of Color’

Robach’s reference to “colored people” came during a segment about actress Zendaya potentially playing Mary Jane in an upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot. Mary Jane is a character traditionally filled by white actresses, and Zendaya is half black and half white.

“Now we all know Hollywood has received recent and quite a bit of criticism for casting white actors in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people,” Robach said.

She asked former People magazine managing editor Larry Hackett if Zendaya’s casting is “potentially the industry trying to right itself.”

The outrage on social media was swift.

ZsaVette Ellis-Frye, a management leader in Atlanta, posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter.

She said “colored people” is “outdated, antiquated, and offensive,” not just to “people of color but many people.”

Read more responses on Twitter here.

The reaction to Robach’s apology, issued nearly four hours after the segment aired, was mixed.

“#notabigdeal don’t make more out of it than it was,” user Randall Ingram wrote in a Twitter post.

“amazing… (not in the good way) … i mean what do you call black people in the privacy of your home?” user @solomonmissouri wrote.

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