Robert De Niro in hot water for racial joke

Actor Robert De Niro has ruffled some feathers at the White House with a joke he made when introducing Michelle Obama at a fundraising event.

Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, who featured in movies such as Meet the Fockers, Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part 2 insists that the comments he made at US President Barack Obama’s fundraising event were meant as a joke and not intended to offend or embarrass the First Lady, Michelle Obama.

According to numerous media reports, De Niro asked the audience if the USA is ready for a white First Lady, referring to the wives of the Republican party presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

The comments played on the discussion that took place ahead of President Obama’s election triumph in 2008, regarding the USA being ready to have its first black president.

Gingrich is quoted as saying that the USA is indeed ready for a new First Lady and that De Niro didn’t have to describe or put in racial terms. Gingrich, who struggled in his campaign four years ago to take on President Obama, isn’t happy with De Niro’s apology and wants Obama to apologise for De Niro as well.

As expected, the Twitterverse was abuzz. Below are some of the tweets:

@piersmorgan: Ann Romney just told me she found Robert De Niro's joke funny and wasn't remotely offended. So there. #CNN

@laurensdaddy24 @TheRobertDeNiro … We should have two countries instead of one. One for the cool people who can take a joke and one for the racists repubs.

@1lifelegacy: @TheRobertDeNiro I thought your joke was funny. We have bigger problems. Let their solutions be the centre of attention.

@wfl3: Really? President should apologise for a joke that @TheRobertDeNiro made? It was funny. And what was offensive about it? Calling them white?

@MichelleinCAL: Hey @TheRobertDeNiro – stick to making movies. You’re more successful when someone else is writing your material. You know, like Baldwin.

What’s your take on the matter? Do you think the joke was inappropriate?