James Corden has addressed the backlash over a photo of him leaning in to kiss Sean Spicer on the cheek at this year's Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

The CBS Late Late Show host opened his monologue on Monday by talking about the controversy over the photograph, which many commentators had criticised for "normalizing" the former White House press secretary.

"According to some reports, at the after-party, Spicer was the most 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," Corden said.

"These Hollywood phonies kissing up to Sean Spicer are disgusting. I mean, who did this? Who are we talking about here?!" he continued, before the photo of him and Spicer flashed up on the screen.

Corden sighed and said: "I know you think that is a picture of me kissing Sean Spicer. But in the spirit of Sean Spicer - no, it isn’t!"

He continued: "Anyone ever have that feeling when you get a little drunk and then wake up the next morning and think ‘Oh God, who did I kiss last night?’ It’s a bit like that."

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

The talk show host and comedian then turned a bit more serious, saying: "Understandably, some people have been disappointed by this photo. In truth, I’m disappointed by it as well. I am, have been reading a lot of harsh comments on Twitter today, and I hear you loud and clear, truly, I do".

However, Corden couldn't resist the opportunity for a gag, adding:  "So much so I’m really starting to regret that Carpool Karaoke that we’ve taped with Steve Bannon. Feels like a mistake today."

At the Emmys, Spicer appeared on stage in a take on Melissa McCarthy's Saturday Night Live spoof of him. His appearance was divisive among viewers, with many criticising the Emmys producers for including him in the show.