Robert DeNiro apologizes for ‘white first lady’ joke

Robert DeNiro apologizes for ‘white first lady’ joke

Shreveport : LA : USA | Mar 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM PDT
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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stands with his wife, Callista Gingrich

Robert DeNiro stirred controversy Monday night after cracking a joke at a fundraiser for President Barack Obama about America not being ready for a “white first lady.” Now, the veteran actor has issued a statement, insisting that while his remarks were “spoken with satirical jest,” he didn’t mean to offend anyone.

Robert DeNiro cleared off the controversy surrounding his joke at an Obama fundraiser Monday about whether the nation was “ready for a white first lady.” The remark drew an infuriated response from Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich who slammed the actor in front of a Louisiana audience, saying that DeNiro was promoting racial conflict and that President Obama should apologize on his behalf.

"I think that Robert De Niro's wrong," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Shreveport, Louisiana. "The country is ready for a new first lady, and he doesn't have to describe it in racial terms."

Gingrich said the president should be held accountable "when someone at his event says something as utterly and totally unacceptable as Robert De Niro said last night. And I call on the president to apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country.”

The former U.S. House speaker then drew likeness to the attacks on Rush Limbaugh, who recently apologized for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” when she testified in favor of insurance cover for contraceptives.

“If people on the left want to talk about talk show hosts,” Gingrich said, adding, ”then everybody in the country should hold the president accountable when someone at his event says something that is utterly and terribly unacceptable as what Robert DeNiro said.”

A spokesperson for First Lady Michelle Obama also denounced Robert DeNiro’s remarks at the fundraiser. First Lady’s press secretary, Olivia Alair, said in a statement, “We believe the joke was inappropriate.”

In an attempt to clear the bad air, Robert DeNiro said in his statement, “My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone - especially the First Lady.”

Monday night, kicking off his speech at a re-election fundraiser in New York, star of “Raging Bull” Robert DeNiro quipped, “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

After hearing a roar of approval from the audience, the star of “Godfather 2” added, "Too soon, right?"

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista Gingrich
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista Gingrich
Michelle Lincaster is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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