Nation & World

Peter Fonda apologizes for Barron Trump tweet that sparked movie boycott and scorn

Peter Fonda arrives at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Palm Springs, Calif.
Peter Fonda arrives at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Palm Springs, Calif. Invision/Associated Press

Peter Fonda apologized Wednesday for a tweet about Barron Trump that had prompted First Lady Melania Trump's office to notify the Secret Service.

"We should rip Barron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will stand up against the giant a**hole she is married to," the "Easy Rider" star tweeted early Wednesday morning.

It was a clear reference to the ongoing controversy over thousands of children being separated from their undocumented immigrant parents at the U.S-Mexico border, a practice President Donald Trump halted with an executive order Wednesday afternoon.

“I tweeted something highly inappropriate and vulgar about the president and his family in response to the devastating images I was seeing on television,” Peter Fonda said in a statement published by The Wrap and other news outlets Wednesday afternoon.

“Like many Americans, I am very impassioned and distraught over the situation with children separated from their families at the border, but I went way too far. It was wrong and I should not have done it. I immediately regretted it and sincerely apologize to the family for what I said and any hurt my words have caused.”

Fonda's tweet has been deleted, but screengrabs appeared on The Daily Caller website and elsewhere Wednesday..

“The tweet is sick and irresponsible and USSS has been notified,” the first lady's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told The Daily Caller in a statement later shared with The Hill and other media outlets.

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport on Aug. 20, 2017, in Morristown, N.J. Pablo Martinez Monsivais Associated Press

A Fonda representative told Fox News that the actor "wanted to make sure that Melania and Ivanka communicate with the president the dire circumstances of separating mothers and young children."

Fonda, brother to actress Jane Fonda, stars in a new Sony Pictures movie premiering Friday called "Boundaries."

The movie, which also stars Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga, focuses on a woman "forced to drive her estranged, pot-dealing, carefree father (Plummer) across country after being kicked out of a nursing home," writes The Wrap.

Donald Trump Jr. referenced Sony in a tweet blasting Fonda for tweeting about his half-brother.

"I didn’t think it was possible but found a way to be as disgusting as his sister Jane was when she stood with the enemy in Vietnam. Doesn’t get more vile than wishing for a young boy to be raped by pedophiles. There’s a special place in hell ... Cc: ," Trump Jr. tweeted.

According to Politico, the Oscar-nominated Fonda "has been railing against the White House for days. He previously accused press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of being a liar and tweeted, 'Maybe we should take her children away and deport her to Arkansas, and giving her children to Stephen Goebbels Miller for safe keeping.'"

The Daily Caller reported that, in another now-deleted tweet, Fonda also took aim at Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen that called her a vulgar name and called for her to be "put in a cage and poked at by passersby."

The tweets, in particular the one about Barron Trump, moved people to call for a boycott of Fonda's new movie and other Sony projects.

Sony Pictures Classics representatives have not responded to requests for comment from several media outlets including The Wrap and IndieWire.