He’s not taking anything back, however he does want his colleagues to know he meant them no disrespect and that he indeed cares for them and “appreciates their support, guidance and love over the years.”
I had a feeling this was coming, especially after the media storm over his comments. But even without a media storm, his comments were sure to make for awkward moments as he returns to the set to finish out his contract. And I still wouldn’t be surprised if he’s fired next year by the show. Maybe his character will fall down an elevator shaft like Joey’s Soap character on Friends, Dr. Drake Ramoray.