Actor Robert De Niro, who has been in the Atlanta area this spring filming a movie, has said in a statement that he meant no offense with a racially tinged joke he cracked at a presidential fundraiser.
At the New York event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama, De Niro joked that America is not “ready for a white first lady.”
GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich criticized the remark and the first lady’s spokeswoman said it was “inappropriate.”
Potential first lady Ann Romney (who is white) wasn’t offended, though. The wife of candidate Mitt Romney told CNN she laughed when she heard the comment.
“You know what? I took it for what it was, a joke,” she said. “We’re all overreacting to so many things.”
De Niro has released a statement saying he meant no offense.
“My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone — especially the first lady,” said the statement, according to the Associated Press.
De Niro has been here filming “Killing Season,” co-starring John Travolta.