By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country music singer Hank Williams Jr. canceled a Fox News Channel interview on Tuesday and said he was sorry for any offense given by his recent statement comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
The apology of sorts was posted on his website a day after the Disney-owned cable sports channel ESPN pulled Williams' theme song from its latest "Monday Night Football" broadcast in a rebuke to the country star for his Hitler remark.
Appearing on the Fox News morning program "Fox & Friends" on Monday, Williams said he thought that a June 18 golf summit pairing Obama with Republican House speaker John Boehner in the midst of the congressional budget crisis had "turned a lot of people off."
Asked what he didn't like about the friendly bipartisan golf match, Williams replied, "Come on! It'd be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu." He went on to refer to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as "the enemy."
After his "All My Rowdy Friends" song was yanked from the "Monday Night Football" opening by ESPN later that day in protest, Williams issued a statement acknowledging that his "analogy was extreme" but insisting it was intended to illustrate how ludicrous he thought it was for Obama and Boehner to team up at golf.
"They're polar opposites and it made no sense. They don't see eye-to-eye and never will," the bearded singer said.
Williams, 62, was scheduled to return to the Fox News Channel with an interview on Tuesday on the "Hannity" show, but the network told Reuters that the singer decided to cancel.
Hours later, he posted yet another, somewhat more contrite statement, saying: "I have always been very passionate about politics and sports, and this time it got the best or worst of me.
"The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin and high fiven on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone," he wrote.
He concluded, "I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist."
The statement was posted just below a link to a video clip from the ABC daytime talk show "The View," in which host Whoopi Goldberg suggested Williams was judged too harshly.
"Hank is a musician, and he's always been provocative," Goldberg said on the show. "He could have chosen his words more wisely, but as someone who steps in it quite often, we all do it. Those among us who are without sin, cast the first stone."
Reporting on Williams' apology on its own website Tuesday night, ESPN said it had no comment on whether his song would be used on future telecasts.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
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