The American broadcaster, Carson Daly, best known for hosting shows on MTV and NBC, was forced to apologise today after suggesting, in his radio show in Los Angeles, that gay people would not have been brave enough to restrain the pilot who recently went ‘berserk’ on a flight to Las Vegas.

“Most of the people were on their way to some sort of security conference in Las Vegas, it was like a bunch of dudes and well trained dudes, thank god,” he said, live on air. “With my luck, it would be like, ‘this is the flight going to the pride parade in San Fransisco. I mean, that would be my colleagues.”

Saying so, according to US media, he changed his intonation to a high-pitched voice, supposedly representing a gay stereotype, and said, “Uh, we’re headed down to Vegas for the floral convention. Could we get a little up here with the pilot?”

Mr Daly was referring to the incident concerning Captain Clayton Osbon, who, during the JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas, alarmed passengers by shouting incoherently, bewailing “the sins in Las Vegas,” and when the crew and passengers attempted to control him, began to scream, “say your prayers” and “Iraq, al-Quaeda, terrorism, we’re all going down.” Criminal charges have now been filed against Mr Osbon.

Meanwhile, Daly tweeted the following statement yesterday: “This morning on my radio show I attempted to make fun of myself & offended others by mistake. I sincerely apologize.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation posted this statement, issued from Daly on its website, shortly after the tweet: “We live in a time where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals find courage every day to overcome adversity, stand up to bullying and find equality. I’m truly saddened that my words today suggested otherwise.

“I’ve long been a supporter of gay, lesbian, and transgender rights, and I’m saddened that my comments, however unintentional, offended anyone, specifically members of the LGBT community. The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I’m not that guy. I’m proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them.”

American media was quick to point out that Mark Kendall Bingham, public relations executive and college rugby player, who was among the passengers widely credited with trying to foil the hijacking on September 11, 2001, of United Airlines Flight 93 before it crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was a gay man.