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Lawrence O'Donnell: Lisa Chan 'Deserves To Be Forgiven' For Pete Hoekstra Ad (VIDEO)

02/16/2012 02:47 pm ET | Updated Feb 16, 2012

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Lawrence O'Donnell changed his tune on Lisa Chan, the Asian-American actress who starred in former Rep. Pete Hoekstra's controversial Super Bowl ad, on his Thursday show after skewering her on-air last week.

Chan appeared in a political ad where she was shown bicycling past rice paddies and speaking broken English. O'Donnell was one of many critics who initially condemned the actress for her role in the racist ad, and tried to locate her to find out "what exactly she was thinking" when she agreed to participate.

The actress has since apologized via Facebook. She called her participation "absolutely a mistake," and asked for public forgiveness.

Chan's apology elicited some sympathy from O'Donnell on Wednesday night. "We can only imagine what she has gone through in the weeks since I singled her out on national television to address her participation in this ad," he said.

After reading her words aloud, he speculated that the young actress had just been trying to get work experience, and had gone through a "personal hell" in the past week. He praised what he believed to be her sincerity, noting her apology did not simply express regret that people had been offended.

"I for one believe that after she just re-taught America what a real apology sounds like, Lisa Chan deserves to be forgiven," he concluded.

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