(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity Twitter rants are as old as the microblogging service itself, but Oscar winner Russell Crowe kicked off an unlikely feud Friday -- with the supporters and practitioners of circumcision. After calling the practice "barbaric," Crowe, a father of two sons, soon began fielding a furious response of tweets both supporting and opposing his position.
The always-outspoken Crowe kicked the hornet's nest first by tweeting "...if u feel it is yr right 2 cut things off yr babies please unfollow and f**k off, I'll take attentive parenting over barbarism," giving little regard to the religious and scientific support of the practice. "[I have] many Jewish friends," Crowe tweeted. "I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats, but stop cutting yr babies," he posted to actor/director Eli Roth, with whom Crowe worked on The Man with the Iron Fists.
Later on, as "lazy journalists" -- as he called them -- got wind of the comments, Crowe softened, saying he couldn't "apologize for [his] heartfelt beliefs." But he soon did just that, stating that his comments shouldn't be taken as a criticism of Jews or any other group that practices circumcision for religious reasons. "I have a deep and abiding love for people of all faiths," Crowe backpedaled, before tweeting two separate mea culpas. "I am very sorry I have said things on here that have caused distress," he posted, following it with, "My personal beliefs aside, I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry."
At least one of Crowe's Jewish friends didn't take the comments too harshly. Roth, who starred in Inglorious Basterds and is currently editing Crowe's Iron Fists, snarkily responded to Crowe's "cutting yr babies" comment by tweeting back "You didn't seem to be complaining when I was re-cutting you this afternoon."
To try to put out the fire for those not on Twitter, Crowe issued an official statement through his publicists Friday afternoon. "I am deeply sorry for the insensitive comments I made on twitter this morning," the press release said. "Like everyone, I have my own strong opinions, but in attempting to state and argue them through humor, I insulted the traditions and beliefs of others. That was not my intention, but it is my fault. I have a deep and abiding love for all people and all cultures, and I am deeply sorry for any distress I have caused by my insensitive remarks."
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