San Francisco's anti-circumcising lobby seems to have a friend in Russell Crowe.
The Oscar-winning actor lashed out at the practice of male circumcision in a series of comments on his Twitter account on Thursday.
In them, he scoffed at the argument that clipping the foreskin serves the cause of hygiene, and declared a newborn baby to be perfect on delivery.
His 140-character tirades were triggered by a tweeted inquiry from the expectant parent of a son who asked the actor if he thought the Twitter user's son should be circumsized.
Hours later, the actor was apparently having second thoughts about his remarks, which by then had vanished from his account.
"I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others," he said in a fresh tweet on Friday. "I am very sorry." And in another post, he declared, "I have a deep and abiding love for all people of all nationalities ..."
Echoing those sentiments in a statement released by his media representative on Friday, he said, "I am deeply sorry for any distress I have caused by my insensitive remarks."
The medical benefits of circumcision have lately become a heated topic of discussion in the parenting community as San Francisco voters face a proposal on the November ballot to ban the circumcision of male children under the age of 18. Opponents say a ban on a religious rite considered sacred by Jews and Muslims would be a blatant violation of constitutional rights.