(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is accepting comedian David Letterman's apology over the controversial joke directed at her daughter, but says she hopes "men who 'joke' about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve."
"Letterman certainly has the right to 'joke' about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction," Palin said in a statement. "And this is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America's Right to Free Speech – in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."
Palin's comments come hours after the late night talk show host formally apologized for the off-color joke he made last week about one of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughters that set off a war of words between the Letterman and the Palin family.
"It was kind of a coarse joke. There's no getting around it," Letterman said in the opening monologue of Monday night's show.
Meanwhile John Ziegler, the conservative radio talk show host who has made a film about Palin, is set to lead a protest Tuesday outside the theater where Letterman's show is taped. Ziegler is calling for the late night host’s ouster.