Honoree Steve Martin accepts honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood

Honoree Steve Martin accepts honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood

*Steve Martin is apologizing for a racist joke he posted on Twitter last Friday (Dec 20th) that has gone viral.

“I offer a deep, sincere, and humble apology without reservation,” said the 68 year-old actor.

It all started when one of his 4.5 million Twitter followers asked him, “Is this how you spell lasonia?”

Martin responded: “It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?”

As soon as it was posted Martin must have realized that he stepped in some ‘ish and quickly deleted it. But folks had already snapped screenshots and retweeted the comment.

One follower accused Martin of acting like he never tweeted the racist remark. Martin replied: “I did apologize. But again, a second later I realized what an offensive thing I’d done. Deep bow.”

Later, he added, “My tweet was highly inappropriate.”

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Martin also posted a lengthy apology and explanation on his own website, writing:

“I am very upset that a tweet I sent out last week has been interpreted by some to be insulting to African Americans. By now media coverage of the unfortunate tweet has only added to this perception. To those who were offended, again, I offer a deep, sincere, and humble apology without reservation.”

Martin finished with, “Comedy is treacherous. I used to try out jokes in clubs and the audience’s feedback would tell me when I had crossed a line, or how to shape a joke so it is clear. Today, the process is faster. It’s your brain, a button, then millions of reactions. But it’s my job to know.”