Entertainment

Palin heckler’s apology statement an understatement

Laura Donovan Contributor

Stephen Hanks, whose claim to fame is shouting obscenities at Bristol Palin and calling Sarah a “whore” at the Saddle Ranch Chop House this month, regrets bullying Bristol, who is 27 years his junior and the child of the woman he dislikes.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Hanks, 47, apologized for screaming at Bristol in the Sunset Boulevard bar.

“Having had an opportunity to view the camera footage of the incident this past Thursday… I have come to the conclusion that no matter what my feelings are towards Sarah Palin, I should not have expressed them towards her daughter, Bristol Palin,” read the statement. “I am very passionate about politics, and believe in equality for all Americans. I expressed my feelings in an improper manner in the heat of the moment, and allowed my emotions to get the better of me.”

That’s an understatement. Last week, horrific video footage of Bristol and Hanks’s heated exchange exploded on the Internet and caused many to condemn Hanks — for verbally abusing a female more than half his age — and Bristol — for asking Hanks if he was gay.

Bristol, 20, was happily riding the mechanical bull when Hanks attacked.

“Did you ride Levi [Johnston] like that? Your mother’s a whore,” Hanks said, coaxing Bristol to approach him.

When Bristol got in his face, Hanks repeated, “Your mother [is] the fucking devil.”

“What did she do wrong?” Bristol asked.

“She lives, she breathes,” he replied. “If there was a hell … she gonna be there.”

The “Not Afraid of Life” author went on to ask Hanks if he dislikes the former Alaska governor because he’s gay.

“Pretty much,” the man said. “And why did you say I’m a homosexual?”

“Because I can tell you are. That’s your boyfriend and that’s why you don’t like my mom,” Bristol said, pointing to a tight-lipped guy beside Hanks at the bar.

The battle escalated, even after another young woman intervened and told Hanks to take a hike.

[Bristol] came up to me,” Hanks said, channeling his inner third grader.

After Hanks said Bristol and Sarah “don’t look anything like women,” he called Bristol “white trash” and a “fucking bitch.”

Hanks may have issued a statement of regret for these fighting words, but he wasn’t so apologetic in the immediate aftermath of the yelling match. After the disagreement with Bristol took place, Hanks chatted exclusively with TMZ and said it “felt good to get [his feelings] off [his] chest.”

When Hanks said he’d done something similar to GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, an outsider countered that Gingrich is a grown man whereas Bristol is a 20-year-old female. According to Hanks, Bristol should be treated like an adult because she has a child of her own.

“That’s no excuse,” Hanks said. “[If] you can have a baby, I think you’re an adult … The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in my opinion.”

Hanks also blasted Bristol’s “derogatory” homosexual comment and speculated that she must have come from an intolerant, racist family.

“It just means that she comes from a home … where gays are made fun of, where blacks are probably made fun of,” Hanks said. “She’s a racist homophobe in my opinion.”

When media reports focused on Bristol’s questioning of Hanks’s sexuality, the young woman was chastised for hinting at anti-gay sentiment. Bristol’s rep bounded to her defense and declared homophobia accusations “unfounded.”

“Bristol Palin was approached in a confrontational and inappropriate manner… Bristol responded to the unprovoked verbal assault by calmly standing her ground and defending her family,” a statement from a Palin family attorney reads. “The situation ended with no incident, and accusing her of homophobia is completely unfounded and totally misstates her views.”

Some suspected that the dispute, which was filmed during shooting for Bristol’s new reality show, was staged for the series. Last week, Hanks told TMZ that he was not a plant nor actor, and his lawyer reiterated this in a statement.

“Mr. Hanks would like to clarify that, to his knowledge, this incident was not ‘set up’ for Bristol Palin’s forthcoming reality show, as has been suggested in various media reports,” Gulden said.” In fact Mr. Hanks was not even aware that cameras were filming the exchange.”

WATCH: Bristol and Hanks duke it out

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