James Corden jokingly equated the incident to getting drunk and forgetting who he kissed the previous night

Sean Spicer may have been the most sought-after selfie at the 2017 Emmy Awards following his surprise appearance, but James Corden got some backlash for taking a photo where he jokingly kissed the former White House press secretary on the cheek.

Corden addressed the criticism on Monday’s episode of The Late Late Show — with humor.

“The big winners last night were Donald Glover, Hulu and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer,” the host said in his opening monologue. “Spicer won best actor in a comedy for his role in Donald Trump’s administration.”

He continued, “I’m kidding, of course. But Sean Spicer actually did make a cameo at last night’s ceremony. According to some reports, at the after-party, Spicer was the post popular guy in the room.

“And I just want to say, I think people are forgetting that this man lied to the American people, and should not be embraced. These Hollywood phonies kissing up to Sean Spicer are disgusting. I mean, who did this? Who are we talking about here?!”

Then a photo of Corden kissing Spicer popped up on the screen behind him.

James Corden, Sean Spicer
Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

“Yeah,” Corden went on to explain. “I know you think that is a picture of me kissing Sean Spicer. But in the spirit of Sean Spicer — no, it isn’t!”

The comic then equated the incident to getting drunk and forgetting who he kissed the previous night.

“To be fair, everyone was kissing ass last night at the Emmys,” he added. “I just happened to kiss the biggest one there.”

Corden changed his joking tone and claimed to understand why “some people have been disappointed by this photo” and revealed that “in truth, I’m disappointed by it as well.”

“I am, I have been reading a lot of harsh comments on Twitter today, and I hear you loud and clear,” he added. “Truly, I do.”

Twitter critics accused Corden of “normalising facism” after the photo emerged.

Spicer made a surprise appearance following host Stephen Colbert’s politically-charged monologue at the awards show Sunday night.

“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period,” the former press secretary said from behind his podium. “Both in person and around the world.”

Cameras panned immediately to Melissa McCarthy, Spicer’s Saturday Night Live impersonator, and Anna Chlumsky, whose mouth dropped open in shock.