updated 02/15/2008 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 02/15/2008 AT 8:10 AM ET
The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler was sitting next to Jane Fonda on the Today show Thursday, when the controversial actress dropped the C-word on live television.
Host Meredith Vieira later apologized for Fonda’s use of the term – a taboo expression for female anatomy. The word was also removed from the Midwest and West Coast broadcasts of the program. In addition, Fonda’s rep issued an apology on behalf of the actress, who said she regretted the “slip … She certainly meant no disrespect,” reports New York’s Daily News.
But what was Ensler’s reaction? Indifference.
“Why is there a buzz about that when there’s no buzz about the word ‘rape’ or ‘plutonium’ or ‘clusterbomb’?” she asked PEOPLE that night, at her annual V-Day event. (The dinner and star-studded performance of Monologues, at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, raised money to help end violence against women.)
As for the uproar following Fonda’s comment, Ensler, 54, said, “I’m always surprised that people focus on these issues, when one of three women in the world are being raped and beaten and violated.”
Glenn Close, Brooke Shields, Kerry Washington and, yes, Jane Fonda all took part in the performance of the famous play.
Washington, who said she was honored to be a part of Ensler’s “really important organization,” had a special Valentine’s Day date planned for the evening.
“My parents are coming tonight and they have agreed to be my official Valentines because I am still single,” she said. “They are really cute and they both promised to dress up – so I think I have the best Valentines on the planet!”
AMANDA FRIEDMAN, KATE STROUP and STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN