Host of Q&A Tony Jones.

Host of ABC's Q&A Tony Jones.

The ABC has apologised to conservative News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt over accusations he is racist that were aired on the Q&A program last week.

In a newspaper column Bolt later said the attack by indigenous academic Marcia Langton "may have been finally too much for me."

News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt.

News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt. Photo: Justin McManus

"This time I was so bruised by Q&A that I didn't go into work on Tuesday. I couldn't stand any sympathy — which you get only when you're meant to feel hurt," he wrote.

In a discussion about racial discrimination laws last Monday night, Professor Langton said Bolt had heaped "foul abuse" on indigenous woman Misty Jenkins, which led to her withdrawal from private life.

"Nothing that he said about her was political. It was simply racial abuse," Professor Langton said on the program.

Marcia Langton: 'It's a window of opportunity, but how long will it last?'

Academic Marcia Langton. Photo: Angela Wylie

"He argued that she had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal and, like most fools who put this argument in public, we are expected to deny our parents and our grandparents because somebody believes in race theories."

Professor Langton later backed down from her comments in an interview with Bolt and radio broadcaster Steve Price on 2GB on Wednesday.

Professor Langton told Bolt that while she doesn’t think he is racist, "he’s playing with racist ideas. He goes too far to the line".

"I will apologise to you," she said.

In his online blog for News Corp Australia, Bolt published most of the transcript from the interview, drawing attention to the relevant sentences, and challenging the ABC to "correct the record".

"Langton’s slurs devastated me and were false and defamatory. The damage should be repaired as best the ABC can," Bolt wrote.

The ABC, through Q&A host Tony Jones, said on Monday night’s show that Professor Langton had since publicly apologised "so, as a result, the ABC also apologises for broadcasting her remarks".

In September 2011 a Federal Court judge found that Bolt breached section 18C of the Federal Racial Discrimination Act, a law which the government has pledged to repeal.

Section 18C, now known colloquially as "Bolt’s law", protects people from "offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin".

Mr Bolt’s series of blog posts that were found to have breached the law suggested that "fair-skinned" indigenous people took advantage of their heritage to make political or career gains.

In campaign promises leading up to the federal election last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis said they would repeal section 18C.

On the program with Professor Langton on Monday last week, Senator Brandis said he still intended to amend the Act.

"Regardless of whether you agree with what Mr Bolt said ... our view is that it’s not the role of the Government to tell people what they are allowed to think and it’s not the role of the Government to tell people what opinions they are allowed to express."

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